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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cemetery Obsessed!

I am blow away, 21 followers! Now I do look at the stats but this is more fun to see your lovely faces, fancy pictures and more.  Welcome to you all!!!!  Let's talk about cemeteries!

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
When traveling how do you carry tools. Well you don't airline security will take them away.  I do put clippers into my checked bags and they leave them alone.  So this means you have to buy them when you get there and leave them behind? 


Wedged at the pins here and pushed up against the base!

The head is at least an inch or more into the grass!
The above stone was so heavy the potential for injury to myself was great.  So I backed off. This is going to take several strong people to dislodge and move.  The face is down so you can't read it!!

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:

1.  Hazardville Cemetery, Hazardville (Enfield), CT
2.  Old Hazardville Cemetery, Harzardville, CT
3.  Longmeadow Cemetery, Longmeadow, MA
4.  Defunct Elm Street Cemetery in Springfield – moved to Springfield Cemetery 1848, MA
5.  South Cemetery, Bolton
6.  Warwick Cemetery in Warwick
7.  Hillside Cemetery, Thomaston, CT
8.  Wethersfield Village Cemetery, Wethersfield, CT
9.  Granby Cemetery in Granby CT
10.  Simsbury CemeterySimsbury, CT – John Viets
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 Windsor, CT - Wolcotts, Simon 9th gg and Henry 10 gg
2. Granville Main CemeteryGranville, MA – Gibbons family
3. Springfield Cemetery, Springfield, MA – Old Settlers moved from Elm Street
4. Old Indian Cemetery, West Brookfield – Philip Goss II and Judith 7th great gg
5. Brookfield Cemetery, Brookfield – Walkers and Gilberts married into Goss family .
6.  Middle Cemetery, Lancaster more Goss family 1/2 cousins
7.  Old Settler Cemetery, Lancaster – Philip Goss the first - 8th great gg
8.  Old Common Burial Field, Lancaster – Common Road near B&B – John Goss half 7th great uncle
9.  Winchester, NH Cemetery- Evergreen and Old Town – Philip Goss and Hannah Ball half 1st cousin
10.  Burnham Cemetery, Montague, MA – Philip of Montague and Esther Gale ½ Cousin
11.  Bridge Street Cemetery, Northampton, MA – Rowland Stebbins 10th g.
12.  Norton Cemetery, Otis, MA – Keziah Goss Haskell Rose
13.  Center Cemetery, Peru, MA - Roger Haskell, Keziah's son
14.  Hillside Cemetery, Thomaston, CT – Blakeslee’s are part of the Ebenezer Goss family
15.  Ancient Burying Grd, Hartford – 10th gg Andrew Warner ancestor of the Scott’s

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 Massachusetts only you may still have to contact the local public library or the town hall for help.

================================================

Here is an example of the short form: 

Quick Stop Cemeteries – Photos only

Name: _____________________________________________
Location:  __________________________________________
Date Established:  _________________________  Size _______
Entrance Sign               Dedication Plaque                    
North    East     West   South       Find A Grave             Book/Pub

Optional Individual Graves:



Notes: 


=============================================
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:  ___________________________________________

Website:  ______________________________________________________

Burial Pubs:  Find A Grave       Pub Book         Other


Still Photos:
Photos of:  Cemetery Entrance Sign                  Dedication Sign

Parking area: 

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.
            Entrance sign
            Plaques
            Cemetery Office
            Overall  -  North  East  South West

            Individual Graves: 













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!

4 comments:

Carol said...

Nice post. I know we all HATE HATE HATE headstones face down, but the funny thing is, that I have seen some when turned over are in remarkably beautiful shape. As if being face down protects them from the other evil forces of Mother Nature, including acid rain.

I can't lift a lot of the stones either, in fact, many stones once toppled require the use of machinery to lift them, it is amazing how much these things really weigh!

Nice forms! Thanks for sharing.

Bonnie said...

Machinery, wow! I'd like to see that! I get that urge to want to fix them up but since I don't know enough or live in the area I feel reluctant to touch anything and if I do I put it carefully back.

Barbara Poole said...

I'm glad you've got a lot of followers, knew you would. Although I enjoyed having your post to myself, it was time to spread the word...it worked. Best wishes.

Carol said...

Bonnie, I live in a rural farming community, the farmers will bring some of their equipment by and right the stones on occasion. Or, go to a cemetery, and look around, you might catch them working on gravesites, big equipment. I cannot imagine what it takes to get those monsters down, I am thinking it would take a crane.