“I never heard of anyone killed there before dark…”

Large cemeteries in urban areas are being taken over by homeless men.  And when a local patrol officer was asked if it was safe to enter the cemetery to look for a grave, his response:  “I never heard of anyone killed there before dark.”

Tom-Tom led us through the homeless section of Baltimore, in a u-shaped pattern–seems that was the shortest route from point A to point B.  Several hundred men were concentrated on the street, watched by police from patrol cars with their lights flashing.  And no cemetery visible.

Cemeteries in Columa CA and Brooklyn NY are called “cities of the dead.”  One cemetery after another along the street.  And as we drove through a small town in central Illinois, we passed a cemetery about 3 miles long–Catholic, Protestant, Oriental, and generic.

Cemeteries in small communities and city neighborhoods, after the space runs out, may be re-cycled.  Tombstones are removed.  Stood against the fence.  Tucked in the walls to fill gaps.   Stacked along the slopes of hillsides to control erosion.  Or just stacked in the corner.  New burials take the place of the old.  Only the sexton or some local official may know the story.

Older endowments are often inadequate to pay the costs of needed maintenance and repairs.  The records may be removed from the office and archived–at the city hall, the public library, a nearby college or university, or in the home of the last sexton or clerk to serve the cemetery.

Meanwhile…back at the graveyard, stands a genealogist clipboard in hand, phone-camera at the ready, recording tombstone after tombstone on a pre-printed form.  So you and I can find ancestors–grave locations,  the inscriptions,l and pictures of the stones and their settings.

Try your luck:

__http://interment.net cemetery records online.  Jim Davenport has posted graves of Woodmen of the World for AZ, CA, CO, NV, NM, UT and WY.

__http://www.findagrave.com over 24 million inscriptions, with photos for many of them.

__http://www.obitcentral.com with links to birth, marriage, death certificates online.

__http://www.namesinstone.com central location for organizing teams of cemetery mappers, scribes, and photographers.  In partnership  with Gateway Mapping, a GIS-based service, cemetery personnel can better manage and protect their valuable records.  About 169 cemeteries are online now, with many more underway.

All of these sites are in progress with new information added on a regular basis.  Check often, your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS  What I thought was the flu, was adult whooping cough.  I discovered that most infant whooping cough is spread to the child by an infected adult!  So I got it twice.  And I have been warned to be careful, because I could still have some residual infection.  Ugh—

PPS  If Spring ever comes and the temperature climbs above 45 degrees, the sun’s welcome rays may help.

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