During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.
Is there any database of names of all of the people buried in each cemetery? What is the cemetery no longer exists?
There is no one database of cemetery listings. Many are located at the volunteer-driven Find A Grave or Interment.net. Other cemetery listings are loaded at the various county sites for USGenWeb. Information in defunct cemeteries depends on how well the cemetery was preserved, and when and if it was first recorded. Also, if the cemetery was owned by a specific church congregation, seek those records in the church or organization itself or in their archives.
GPS coordinates. Example: cemeteries.
If you know them, you can plug latitude and longitude coordinates into Mapquest.com and Google Maps to search for specific locations such as cemeteries. Some societies are tracking the latitude and longitude coordinates of the cemeteries in their county or state and publishing a print list or including them on their websites. Acme Mapper 2.0, a free program by Acme Laboratories, will provide coordinates and various maps when users type the name and address (city and state) of a cemetery into the program.
How do you find plot locations in cemeteries without an office?
This can be a tough question and sometimes, you can’t. However, there are some avenues to try before giving up. First, check the local (county seat) library to see whether the cemetery has been transcribed. In some cases, these transcription books include information from cemetery records, as well as the readings from the stones. Sometimes transcription books include diagrams of the cemetery’s plots. Find out who has jurisdiction over the cemetery – a nearby church? A sexton? The township trustee? The person who has jurisdiction may have burial books that have descriptions or maps of who was buried where. Perhaps the cemetery record books have been deposited at the local courthouse, or in the county historical society, museum or public library. There may have been information about the cemetery published in the newspaper, but often newspapers are not indexed. Does the local library have vertical files that might include newspaper clippings or other information about the cemetery? Try to locate a local historian – official or amateur – who can give you more information. Consult deed books. Occasionally there are diagrams of cemeteries found in with land transactions. Good luck!