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CEMETERY RESEARCH - Tips for Genealogists

From the Center for Thanatology

  1. Be prepared by doing as much research on your family as possible before going to the cemetery.
  2. Be prepared by knowing as much as possible about the era in which they lived as possible. Were there: Wars, epidemics, prejudices against ethnic groups, religion, the family? What country did the family come from - what was their native language? Are all these family behaviors the same as yours? If the markers may be carved in a foreign language, bring along a dictionary.
  3. Be prepared for different attitude's toward women.
  4. Be prepared for heartbreak, about women dying young, about the consistent death of young children.
  5. Be prepared for mysteries: things you can't figure out, and have to find out with more research at home.
  6. Be prepared for your ancestor's grave not being in the right place. Why? Mistakes on your map, information you were given, in the cemetery records, the stone was destroyed.
  7. Be prepared for some laughter - see contrasts with current spelling and behaviors.
  8. Be prepared for facts you learned at home to be incorrect. But be prepared to recheck every fact you learned in the cemetery.