Almost every genealogist I know loves visiting a cemetery. I’m known to visit cemeteries even if I don’t have any ancestors buried there. Planning for a cemetery trip can be very important.
Tips for Planning the Cemetery Tour
- Use maps to plan your tour. I use Google Maps: My Maps. If you have several cemeteries to visit in one area, use Google Maps to create a route for efficiency.
- Get cemetery hours and sexton or office information ahead of time, if possible.
- Don’t forget to plan for bathroom breaks, lunch breaks, travel time, and time to get lost.
- Have a back-up plan if the weather gets bad. If you are doing this in conjunction with a family visit, try to have a flexible schedule.
Cemetery Tour Tips
- When taking digital photos, take a photo of the front gate sign at the beginning AND the end of the session. This will ensure you attribute the correct cemetery to the correct tombstone.
- Pay attention to who is buried around your ancestors. Often families bought plots together.
- If there is a local person around, a sexton, groundskeeper, or office staff, be sure to talk to them. They most likely know something more or have supporting documents.
- Take good, detailed notes and process your data as soon as possible.
What’s in the bag?
Be sure to pack the following:
- Camera, reflector
- Memory Cards
- Battery back-up (USB), car chargers
- SOFT brushes
- Water, snacks, sunscreen, bug spray
- Wear appropriate clothes & shoes (think about weeds, burrs, snakes, bugs, etc)
You never know what kind of obstacles or critters you might encounter in the cemetery. Here are a few that I’ve encountered over the years.