I have always loved going to a cemetery and searching for ancestors whether my own or someone elses. I started a blog: BJM's Cemetery Discoveries because I was feeling guilty about hoarding these photographs that I had taken over the years of cemeteries for myself and others. Now I could have uploaded to a variety of sites like Tombstone, Internment, Find A Grave but I got intimidated by the rules!!! Hmmm...maybe it was just laziness on my part...HA!
However, this trip to Massachusetts and Connecticut has made it a confirmed fact! I am now over the edge and obsessed!
Most of the cemeteries I have visited have been in very good shape. However, I ran into some sad situations in Massachusetts and Connecticut. My friend Rose Miller from the Granville Public Library History Room said that there is no money for cemeteries.
I have learned that the cemetery association jobs are part time and if there is snow on the ground the work stops till it melts. The cemetery association shuts down during the winter and the workers are laid off till the thaw. So this means that some cemetery offices, associations do care and others need help from the community. This information came from the Evergreen Cemetery Office in NH.
The man who is in charge, called me a few days after I had returned from my trip. I had called a good month before my trip but it took him that long to get back to me. He said he was trying to catch up. He was very helpful as we talked. He was very concerned. He looked up other names for me and didn't find the ones I was interested in. So that helps. So be patient! Call even farther in advance. The individuals who do these cemetery jobs that I personally met or chatted with were in my opinion very dedicated and interested in taking care of the cemeteries.
My observation is that once a stone breaks or topples over and is on the ground the process of disappearing begins as the leaves, debree and grass start to take over and bury it. I tried prying some up in this condition but there is no way I could budge them without digging them up. So that means a very labor intensive effort. They are also heavy like the one stone in the Peru Center Cemetery. It was so wedged into the ground and heavy, it would have taken a shovel and digging to dislodge it.
|Face down so you cannot read them, fast disappearing|
|Wedged at the pins here and pushed up against the base!|
|The head is at least an inch or more into the grass!|
On this trip to Massachusetts and Connecticut I had decided that if I stumbled on or came upon a cemetery I would try to stop and take a few photos of it and give an idea where it was located and how big it was. Now some cemeteries show up on maps but not all of them like Map Quest, Yahoo or Google. Even Google Earth doesn't have them all.
So I called these Quick Stops in Cemeteries and I made up a short form to fill out to keep track. I also made up a list so I could check it off. See an example below. Here is the list:
Hazardville Cemetery, Hazardville (Enfield), CT
Longmeadow Cemetery, Longmeadow, MA
4. Defunct Elm Street Cemetery in
Springfield – moved to 1848, MA Springfield Cemetery
4. Defunct Elm Street Cemetery in
South Cemetery, Bolton
Warwick Cemetery in Warwick
Hillside Cemetery, Thomaston, CT
Wethersfield Village Cemetery, Wethersfield, CT
in Granby CT Granby Cemetery
Simsbury Cemetery – – John Viets Simsbury, CT
11. Walnut Grove, North Brookfield, MA
12. Wethersfield Village Cemetery, Wethersfield, CT
13. St. Patrick Cemetery, Enfield, CT
This list above changed a lot during the trip because of time mostly.
The most important focus was to document the really critical cemeteries that I wanted to visit and so I made up a bigger two page form and attached print outs from Find A Grave or other sites that I found a list of burials targeting the ancestors I was most interested in. No, I didn't fill out the whole form as I had intended but I did get quite a bit of information as to the name, when I photographed, how big it was, location, parking options, published lists of the burials and where to go for those. Again, see below for an example.
Here is one of those cemeteries that I did mention but didn't add photos to the post. This is the Walnut Grove Cemetery in North Brookfield:
|Walnut Grove, North Brookfield, MA|
|Impressive Monument in Walnut Grove!|
|Well cared for - Walnut Grove.|
Here is the list of those cemeteries I seriously visited, photographed and maybe a video was done!
1. Palisado in
- Wolcotts, Simon 9th gg and Henry 10 gg Windsor, CT
Granville Main Cemetery – – Gibbons family Granville, MA
Springfield Cemetery, – Old Settlers moved from Elm Street Springfield, MA
4. Old Indian Cemetery, West Brookfield – Philip Goss II and Judith 7th great gg
Brookfield Cemetery, – Walkers and Gilberts married into Goss family . Brookfield
Middle Cemetery, Lancaster more Goss family 1/2 cousins
, Lancaster – Philip Goss the first - 8th great gg Old Settler Cemetery
8. Old Common Burial Field, Lancaster – Common Road near B&B – John Goss half 7th great uncle
Winchester, NH Cemetery- Evergreen and – Philip Goss and Hannah Ball half 1st cousin Old Town
Burnham Cemetery, – Philip of Montague and Esther Gale ½ Cousin Montague, MA
Bridge Street Cemetery, – Rowland Stebbins 10th g. Northampton, MA
Norton Cemetery, – Keziah Goss Haskell Rose Otis, MA
13. Center Cemetery, Peru, MA - Roger Haskell, Keziah's son
Hillside Cemetery, – Blakeslee’s are part of the Ebenezer Goss family Thomaston, CT
15. Ancient Burying Grd,
– 10th gg Andrew Warner ancestor of the Scott’s Hartford
Source: A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries, by David Allen Lambert,
New England Historic & Genealogical Society, 2002. This book can be helpful in trying to locate a cemetery and also a list of the burials for that cemetery in a printed or published form if one exists. Locating a tombstone is difficult if you have an alphabetical listing. Mr. Lambert gives the local Cemetery Association or Office to contact for information. Since this was published in 2002 for only you may still have to contact the local public library or the town hall for help. Massachusetts
Here is an example of the short form:
Quick Stop Cemeteries – Photos only
Date Established: _________________________ Size _______
Entrance Sign Dedication Plaque
North East West South Find A Grave Book/Pub
The bigger form - it is two pages. There is room to draw a map of the cemetery but I found I did not have the time.
Date Film and Photographed _____________________________________
Cemetery Name _______________________________________________
Year established: ______________________________________________
Cemetery Location _____________________________________________
Size of the Cemetery: ___________________________________________
Burial Pubs: Find A Grave Pub Book Other
Photos of: Cemetery Entrance Sign Dedication Sign
Cemetery Office Hours: ____________________ Phone _______________
Photos of the cemetery overalls – View North East South West
Photos of individual grave sites and their locations: See attached list
Video of the cemetery:
Location of the cemetery – view of the entrance and highway to.
Overall - North East South West
Drawing a map of the cemetery note location of the grave: fence, rock wall, roads - (leave space)
You should be able to copy these forms by using your mouse to copy only the post or a portion and cutting and pasting into Word!