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Formerly published by

There's A Wealth of Information in Cemeteries - Part 2
Column published: 11 October 2007
By: Shirley Gage Hodges   Biography & Archived Articles

Because of some of the comments that I have received in response to the last cemetery article I decided that I would do a continuation of that theme.

It is sometimes difficult to explain to the novice genealogist how interesting and rewarding cemetery research can be. I will have to admit that my children are still rather amazed when they see all my albums of tombstone pictures proudly displayed right on the shelves with all the other albums.

It always fills me with a sense of wonder to stand next to the burial site of some great great great ancestor, knowing that the marker you are seeing was put there over a hundred years ago, and that you are standing where living relatives of your ancestor also stood and mourned the passing.

Sometimes when I'm standing in a family plot where all the children have died within a few days you cannot help feeling some of their sense of loss a hundred years later. You marvel at their strength in being able to go on.

I always think it is amazing to see how much you can learn about an individual from their tombstone. I would like to share some of my favorites that I have found over the years. If you ever find a picture of someone that you know please understand that it is used with a great deal of respect.

I have always found this very simple stone to be very touching. It simply states, "Gone pickin"

The tombstone for Madalynn Rogers gives us a lot of information about her and we good some good insight into her personality. The inscription reads "Our Deposit in Heaven". We have a picture of her and information about her family on the front of the stone. On the back of the stone we learn how she impacted those around her during her lifetime.

Front of memorial stone
larger image

Back of memorial stone
larger image

I would also like to share the following with you. The tombstone for Audrey Gunther of Calgary, Alberta has the following inscription

"If music be the food of love, play on"

Audrey was a dear friend of Global's Sandra and Rick Roberts, and they said that the engraving was very fitting.

Audrey was an upbeat, positive music teacher who inspired many of her students to go on and make careers from the pursuit. She played many of the instruments in the orchestra and had an exceptional singing voice. Her choir was invited to and performed at Carnegie Hall about 6 years ago.

The stone captures the essence of this individual.... something that is not captured in the raw vital records of a person's life.

We would hope that each individual would have a tombstone that would tell us about the type of individual they were.

In some future articles we will learn how people show tribute to their occupations, hobbies, homes, pets, military experience and yes, even their favorite universities.

Suggested web pages:
  • at is a resource for locating cemeteries in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and other countries. While far from complete, it is one place where transcriptions are being placed online and can be one of your starting points.
  • Cemetery Junction boasts more than 31,000 U.S. cemeteries, more than 21,000 family cemeteries, over 2,000 Canadian cemeteries, and over 450 Australian cemeteries listed.
  • GeneaSearch has a collection of cemetery links that may be helpful, as well as an e-mail newsletter to which you may subscribe.
  • Find A Grave claims to have 2.8 million records of the famous, infamous, and not famous persons.

This is Part 2 of a multi- part series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Until next time :)

Shirley Hodges, biography & genealogy lectures; email:

Editor's Note: Shirley Hodges is the author of the popular Guide to United States Census, 1790-1930

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