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Your Guide to Cemetery Research by Sharon…

Your Guide to Cemetery Research

by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack

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384344,887 (4.11)2
A guide to the fascinating practice of cemetery research, from determining an ancestor's final resting place to decoding mysterious headstone symbols.



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Carmack is one of the best down-to-earth authors of genealogy type books. Her love of what she does shows. This is vital to anyone interested in cemetery research for genealogy or otherwise. She covers it all, from locating cemeteries to how to do rubbings (and to NOT use shaving cream on stones!!!!). Interesting Time Line (1516-1981) in back of deadly diseases, epidemics, and disasters in America. This is another good one from Betterway Books. ( )
  patricia_poland | Dec 28, 2006 |
Great Guide for Genealogists & Graveyard Enthusiasts Alike!

Let me begin by saying that I'm by no means a genealogist (not even an amateur genealogist!). In fact, I'm not even all that interested in my family's history. Rather, I'm just someone who loves snooping around cemeteries, the older and more obscure, the better. This is the first genealogy/cemetery research book I've read, so I can't really compare it to any others.

That said..."Your Guide to Cemetery Research" is a valuable tool for genealogists and graveyard enthusiasts alike. Sharon DeBartolo Carmack begins by explaining how to locate your ancestor's vital records, including death certificates, obituaries, death notices, wills and probate, prayer and memorial cards, and mortality schedules. She then illustrates how you can use this information to find out where your ancestors are buried (and also tells you how to go about locating the cemetery itself). She describes the different types of cemeteries, as well as what sort of records they may have kept. The reader will also learn how to search a cemetery for the desired grave or plot, and how to read, record, and interpret the information on and around the marker. Especially interesting is her discussion on how the aggregate information in the graveyard can give you a picture of what the community was like when your ancestors were alive.

DeBartolo Carmack provides tons of helpful, hands-on, how-to advice for use inside the graveyard. She explains how to make a rubbing or cast of the tombstone, and offers ideas for different types of crafts to get the whole family interested (reunions in cemeteries, cemetery scrapbooks, and cemetery quilts, to name but a few). Her section on photographing markers and tombstones is particularly enlightening. Additionally, she offers tips for those wishing to undertake cemetery preservation or transcription projects.

She includes a few chapters on funerary customs throughout time and across cultures as well, but I thought these chapters were the weakest; they struck me as somewhat superficial and out-of-place. Then again, funerary customs is a topic I've done extensive research on; maybe newbies will find it more helpful or informative.

Perhaps my favorite part of "Your Guide to Cemetery Research" are the appendices, which include a lengthy list of gravestone artwork/symbols and their meanings; a time line of deadly epidemics and disasters in the U.S.; and a sample cemetery transcription form. The next time I go strolling through a graveyard, I'll be sure to have this guide in tow. It increased my understanding and appreciation of graveyard art exponentially. Instead of just admiring the aesthetic aspects of the markers, now I can use "Your Guide to Cemetery Research" to interpret the inscriptions and artwork. ["What's that over there? A child's headstone, with a lamb lying down? Let's see, we're in New Orleans, and the death date is 1878, so perhaps the baby died of yellow fever!"]

Above all else, it's reassuring to find that I'm not alone in my cemetery addiction. DeBartolo Carmack takes her family along on graveyard picnics, so I guess my fiancé doesn't have it all THAT bad!

http://www.easyvegan.info/2005/06/15/your-guide-to-cemetery-research-by-sharon-d... ( )
4 vote smiteme | Dec 4, 2006 |
This was a great beginner's guide. It is a good place to start if you are new to cemetery research. ( )
  Crewman_Number_6 | Aug 27, 2006 |
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This is a Cemetery . . .
Lives are commemorated
Deaths are recorded
Families are reunited
Memories are made tangible
Love is undisguised.
This is a cemetery.

Communities accord respect
Families bestow reverence
Historians seek information
Our heritage is thereby enriched

Testimonies of devotion, pride and warmth are carved in stone to pay warm tribute to accomplishments and to the life — not the death — of a loved one. The cemetery is homeland for memorials that are a sustaining source of comfort to the living.

A cemetery is a history of a people — a perpetual record of yesterday and a sanctuary of peace and quiet today. A cemetery exists because every life is worth loving and remembering — always.

Author unknown. The Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery brochure, Middle Village, New York
This book is dedicated to Jerry and Jane (Nethercott) McGraw, who took me to a cemetery for the first time when I was about nine or ten and who, unknowingly, sparked in me a lifelong interest in things dead.
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Foreword by Marsha Hoffman Rising, CG, CL, FASG

My first genealogical research experience occurred in a cemetery. In 1978, in the heat of central Kansas, I dragged the eldest member of the family, my mother's sister, Aunt Margaret, up and down the rows of the Highland Cemetery in Harvey County. My great-grandfather had donated the land for the cemetery, and it was filled with ancestors, in-laws, and cousins, all of whom my aunt remembered vividly.
The graveyards are full of people the world could not do without. — Elbert Hubbard
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