Cemetery Research – Maximize Your Tombstone Time!

cemetery research

Cemetery Research – New Book is Now Available

Walking through an old cemetery is a favorite pasttime of genealogists – and why not? Cemeteries hold clues to long-gone ancestors, including dates, ages, place of birth, military service, and even names of wife, parents and children. Cemetery research is one of my favorite genealogy projects.

But are you maximizing your time in the cemetery? If not, I’d like to recommend a newly released book from Family Tree Magazine: The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide. Using this book you can learn more about tombstone symbolism, how to best use the FindaGrave and BillionGraves apps, research strategies, and learning more about death records and all of the clues that they hold.

(By the way, have you read my article on why it’s important to walk a cemetery?)

Something I really like about The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide was the chapter on Preserving Cemeteries. Here, you’ll learn the do’s and don’ts of preserving cemeteries and old tombstones. As many of the cemeteries I do research in are quite old, this was an especially good chapter for me.

Cemetery Bonus Material

A bonus for cemetery researchers is the material in the back-of-book. This includes

  • family group sheet (one of my favorite tools)
  • ancestor worksheet
  • five-generation chart
  • research worksheet
  • source citation worksheet

I’ve been guilty of doing cemetery research and not documenting everything I found. I’ve tried to break myself of this terrible habit – and having worksheets really does help. Think about how awful it would be to clean a tombstone enough to read an inscription, and then not document what the inscription said!

(By the way, Family Tree Magazine offers a tombstone preservation kit that includes a tombstone-safe cleaner)

I love doing cemetery research and although I’ve been at it for decades, I still found this book to be useful especially when it comes to creating (and following through with) research strategies.

Cemetery Photography

I’m launching a brand new cemetery photography course in the spring of 2018. Go here to get on the Advance Notification list (no obligation)



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Get the most out of your cemetery trips. Great tips and ideas for any genealogy buff who does cemetery research. New book - just released.

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