I've begun creating pages for each cemetery, gathering on each page links to sites that are relevant to it, books that mention the cemetery or that are about the cemetery, and contact information for each cemetery, if there is any. In the last month, I added a page for Riverside Cemetery.
If you didn't submit your story for the book project honoring the former caretaker of Riverside Cemetery in Denver, Cliff Dougal, you still have time! If you would like to submit a story Cliff told you, or tell one of your memories of Cliff, please use this submission form.
A marker has been placed on cliff's Dougal's gravesite at Riverside Cemetery, and there will be two celebration of life events to dedicate the marker. These events will take place on June 18 and on June 19th, 2011 at 1:00 at Riverside Cemetery. Come and tell your "Cliff Story" in person, and talk with other people who knew Cliff.
The annual meeting of the Friends of Riverside Cemetery will be held on June 18, 2011 at 10:00 at the Holy Transfiguration of Christ Cathedral, Community Hall, 349 E 47th Ave, Denver, 80216
How you can Help Colorado Cemeteries
Recently, I got an e-mail from a visitor/newsletter subscriber who asked me if I would show her what I do to catalog a cemetery, as she wanted to work with me on this. She wanted to learn my process, and work on a cemetery together.
We met a few weeks ago, and it was a perfect day to spend in the cemetery. The weather was perfect, the company friendly and the work was good.
This simple request, and successful outing reminded me of an idea or two that had been tucked in a corner of my brain, where I stashed it because I figured it would be severely mocked.
Fear is a powerful antagonist.
The little idea could easily hide in my brain, where it was safe from all ridicule. But, now, I'm dragging it out to the light, kicking and screaming.
The idea is this: what if I were to post a schedule of where I'll be working, one Saturday a month, and anyone who wanted to join me, could. I'd happily share my process and my GPS device, and many hands can make lighter work.
Those that join me, if they are willing, I will send some details on how to take the data and pcitures they record, and post it on the site.
The data on the site will always be available for free. Your pictures will always be your pictures, but, everyone benefits from being able to see the fruits of your labor.
While it's true that there are many projects out there trying to compile cemetery pictures and transcriptions for Colorado, and for the country, and many of those do have volunteers entering data, so you might be asking yourself how this is any different, and why would you volunteer to help with this project as opposed to any of the other efforts out there.
Further, you might be wondering about duplication of efforts, and why aren't all the people with the same goal working together?
I have wondered the same things myself.
Here's what Colorado-Cemeteries.com is doing is differently than the other projects out there:
- The Colorado-Cemeteries.com database is searchable by surname over all the cemeteries. Most of the transcriptions that are out there aren't easily searchable. To look for your relatives, you have to know the cemetery they were buried in, and then scroll through lines of text.
- Captures names *and* preserves geography, even in cemeteries without plotted grounds. By using GPS, even cemeteries without lot/block designations can be navigated. As any good cemetery enthusiast knows, sometimes family members are located next to each other, but, they don't have the same surnames. By knowing the location of the markers in relation to the names, you can find other gaps in your family tree.
- Ability to link obituaries *WITH* the internment record. If you decide to help with this project, I will create a special partner code for you to use to post obituaries, for free. Obituaries are vital genealogical resources, and it's even better if you can read an obituary, and know the burial location for your loved one or ancestor.
- Domain and database is not hosted through a free service. What does that mean? It means that it's not subject to the whims of the parent hosting company. Rootsweb, with its "free" web space is subject to good will of ancestry.com, and if they decide to turn it off one day, it will no longer be there. Further, many links have become broken with insufficient maintenance, and changing web structures. What happens when the page maintainer(s) no longer maintain it? Colorado-Cemeteries.com will always be professionally maintained, and problems corrected promptly.
As for working with the other projects that are out there, this is a goal I have, but, so far, I have met with very little success. I will continue to work on this. Ultimately, I will be working towards creating a non-profit association, to be the ultimate caretaker of the data when I am no longer here. This is to make sure that when I'm no longer here, the website and the data will always be accessible, and always free. Better still, the organization can collect funds to place interpretive signs and maps at rural cemeteries, or be able to invest in fencing and other preservation efforts for all the cemeteries in the state.
I will probably not set the first date until the end of June or July, as I need to develop some tools to get over some technological hurdles (i.e. people without GPS, and how to handle the pictures.)
I hope to see some of you someday soon!
Around the Web
The tension between historical preservation and race relations becomes stretched in California, where cemetery markers bearing offensive language are being replaced.
African Burial Grounds (the cemeteries of slaves in the US) have suffered more indignities than their white counterparts. In Richmond, Virginia, one of these locations, long covered by a parking lot, has gained advocates working to get it uncovered and protected.
Burial space in the United kingdom, particularly in London, has led to reuse of graves.
The scandals at Burr Oak Cemetery have led to the cemetery's bankruptcy, and being placed under the management of a trustee.
Japan is still struggling to manage the large death toll from the tsuami. Even more than a month out, the funeral industry is struggling to keep up with the demand.
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