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Grave Markers


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ArtMan, I do not know of any database that lists lat/long coordinates of cemeteries but someone could start one. I just visited triangulation station BOONE (JC1472) which is near a small and very neglected cemetery. I also recall visiting a couple of other Missouri marks that are near cemeterys. I also have somewhere, coordinates of daughter-in-laws moms grave in Jefferson Barracks cemetery and the corners of a lot in Bellefountain cemetery that we looked up for a genealogical guy from internet. I could share what I have if anyone is interested....

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Don't suppose anyone knows of a website that lists lat/long coordinates of cemeteries? Might be useful someday to combine with some genealogical data I've got.

 

-ArtMan-

I believe there are a few out there but a Google failed to turn up any immediate links (your luck may vary).

 

I know I have the info on one in deep in my email at home. I'll check on it. Hopefully it's still running, I'm not sure it got critical mass as they needed people to go out and find some.

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Don't suppose anyone knows of a website that lists lat/long coordinates of cemeteries? 

To answer my own question:

 

The USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) provides an interface to search for cemeteries (or arroyos or hospitals or towers or 'populated places'). The search results include clickable links which, in turn, have links to display maps or aerial photos from Topozone and TerraServer.

 

For example, a query for cemeteries in Clarke County, Georgia, produces this list of 16 burial sites.

 

I'm not exactly sure how useful this would be in benchmarking, but it sure is cool.

 

Read the instructions and have fun. Your tax dollars at work!

 

-ArtMan-

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I dug though my email and found www.geogen.org. I notice that they don't have anything on Georgia on line yet, but one difference between USGS and them is you can add items to Georgia's list. I'm sure there are a number of very small, perhaps family graveyards that aren't on the USGS's list.

 

I also turned up Findagrave. This allows you to add specific names to the list as well.

 

What has this got to do with benchmarking? Probably nothing. However marking and recording small grave sites may appeal to benchmarkers for much the same reasons - preserving something of our past so that it's not forgotten or lost.

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I'm sure there are a number of very small, perhaps family graveyards that aren't on the USGS's list.

Likely so, GeckoGeek, but I did note that a tiny, churchside burying ground near my house, with only a dozen or so graves, is in the GNIS database, so it may be more complete than you suspect. It appears to include at least every place marked as a cemetery on a USGS topo map.

 

-ArtMan-

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If you're looking for cemeteries, the TopoZone GNIS search tools work, too, and let you select cemeteries in a given county, etc - and also include partial name searches to find particular spots. You can start at theTopoZone Place Name Search and do a Place Name Search right at the top, then go to the topo map from there.

 

- Ed

 

Ed McNierney

President and Chief Mapmaker

TopoZone.com / Maps a la carte, Inc.

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I did note that a tiny, churchside burying ground near my house, with only a dozen or so graves, is in the GNIS database, so it may be more complete than you suspect.

I don't know your county, so you'll have to judge if 16 sounds like a reasonable total number.

 

It appears to include at least every place marked as a cemetery on a USGS topo map.

That doesn't surprise me, but the real question is is the USGS aware of every tiny graveyard? Perhaps there is something in their mission and their data sources that has been able to get all of them, but then again what is their data source, when did they start gathering data, etc? How many small grave sites owners bothered to tell anyone in the government "way back when"?

 

Only by understanding the system would any understanding of where any possible "holes" in the data would come from - and how volunteers can help fill those holes.

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From my understanding of it (at least in Texas), cemetaries had to be registered with the County office (usually the Tax Office, but not always). Since it is property, the Tax Office has to have a record of the land ownership, and often seems to have notes about improvements, or uses, of that particular plat of land.

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Don't suppose anyone knows of a website that lists lat/long coordinates of cemeteries? Might be useful someday to combine with some genealogical data I've got.

 

-ArtMan-

Try www.wayhoo.com. start searching by state and then county. You can pull up data on all kinds of landmarks, not just cemeteries.

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cemetaries had to be registered with the County office

I'm not arguing that point. They certainly need to be registered now. Was that always the case? But what about one where the last person buried was in 1900 or some time before that land became a part of the U.S.? Did any of the landowners since then know they had to tell the government about it?

 

I'm guessing that it's the small very old ones that are most likely to be missed. But these are the very ones in greatest need of preservation.

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GeckoGeek: good point. I need to check with my mom (the family Geneaologist) and find out the oldest recorded plot at the cemetary where my grandfather is buried. My oldest ancestor I know buried there was in 1864. (incidently, he died as an old man the same month and year his oldest son died fighting in the Civil War.) However, the land was used as a cemetery before that, we're pretty sure; GreatX6 grandfather settled there as a colonist in 1824 (before Texas was independent from Mexico), and returned to raise his family there shortly after the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836.

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GeckoGeek: good point. I need to check with my mom (the family Geneaologist) and find out the oldest recorded plot at the cemetary where my grandfather is buried.

If you were to get coordinates for it, I'm sure she'd like to add it to her information. While things can happen to make future location difficult, a waypoint should be permanent reference - as long as you notate the datum used.

 

Probably be a good idea to record possible error. In 20 years everyone may have survey grade equipment and wonder why the grave marked by your coordinates has the wrong headstone. ;)

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it's unfortunate that (we believe) the oldest plots in the cemetery are unmarked. We have markers at about 2/3 of the available land, but the back corner and part of the back row remain a mystery. It's suspected that the back area was used to bury slaves. (uh...note that first, this is a community cemetary, so it's not just my family, and second, this is in East Central Texas, and the land was deeded to my ancestors as Mexican colonists before Texas won it's independence).

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;) There is a website called Findagrave.com and if you know the name of a Cemetary you can get the Lon/Lat or a map of it. Example: my parents are buried in Elmwood Cemetary Lat:41.7503 Lon:-94.0464 I never thought to get the exact L/L for their grave site, but I have noticed other people on the Findagrave.com site have included this in their individual persons graves. If you are ever in a Cemetary and see a VERY interesting Tombstone why not use that as a Virtual Cache?....could this be a new idea?. I love Geocaching, but I also LOVE Genealogy, this may be a way to combine sports! :blink:
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If you are ever in a Cemetary and see a VERY interesting Tombstone why not use that as a Virtual Cache?....

Good luck in getting that virtual cache approved. As I found out (the hard way) a few months ago, there is apparently a tacit moratorium on virtual caches. The published criteria seem to be applied in an extremely restrictive manner so as a result almost no new virtual caches have been approved recently. Or at least, that's the way it looks to me.

 

-ArtMan-

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moratorium on virtual caches.

You may want to check the recent approvals in your area to get an idea of how high is the plank set, and what are the typical features for the precedents. ("Study your case law")

Quick browsing through the 3 pages of most recent approvals by state shows that some states have hopeless zero virtuals out of 60 new caches ( NY and NH in the East, TX and AZ in the Southwest, WA in the NW); some have 1/60 ( OH,OK,NV,CA); quite a few have 2/60, e.g. NM, ND, SC. Our state is among the outliers with 13 virtual approvals out of 60 ... but I've recently got my fingers burned with a macabre virtual here, too.

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At the risk of going off-topic....

 

I recently proposed a virtual cache in a part of West Virginia where there were few other caches of any kind. The site was of no little historic value, comparable if not greater than other virtuals I've visited. The response of the approver was, why not do a micro instead. (Because I don't live in that area, I would not be able to maintain a physical cache.)

 

The problem as I saw it then was inconsistent application of the stated rules. But maybe the inconsistency is regional also.

 

This sort of stuff is hotly debated in the caching forums, probably by moonlighting Talmudic scholars. Maybe that's one reason why I find benchmarks (and benchmarkers) more suitable to my personality. :-)

 

-ArtMan-

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