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How To Get Started

For more hints, "A Cemetery Survey as an Eagle Scout Project" written by Craig Bond.

oakleaf2.gif - 1.7 KWhat To Do Before You Start
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KFind out who has legal jurisdiciton over the cemetery property and get permission to be on the grounds recording the data.
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KIf the cemetery is abandoned, attempt to find out who owns the land the cemetery is on and obtain permission from the legal owners to be on the property.
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KThe Cemetery Office, Church Office, etc. might have a copy of the plat of the cemetery and copies of internment records.
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KCheck your library for any previous transcription work done on the cemetery. This will come in vary handy if some of the stones are no longer legible.
oakleaf2.gif - 1.7 KAssemble Your Supplies
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KSoft brushes
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KScrubber pads (preferably white ones)
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KLarge spray bottle of water
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KGrass clippers
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KPlastic pad for kneeling on
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KPaper and pencils
oakleaf2.gif - 1.7 KRecording The Data
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KIf you have a plat of the cemetery, follow that to make sure you don't miss any stones.
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KAlternately, I find it helpful to plot out the cemetery, roughly, using blocks to represent each grave.
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KBegin recording the data from the stones, using the blocks drawn on your paper (if you decide to use this suggestion).
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KRecord the information on the tombstone exactly as it appears. Copy it word for word, line for line. Keep the spelling, punctuation, etc., as it appears on the stone. Resist the temptation to make corrections.
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KRecord all information on the stone, including any epitaphs that may be carved there.
A WORD OF WARNING! It is very important to be careful of the old tombstones, particularly when accompanied by children. One transcriber wrote "When I first began my trek of searching cemeteries about five years ago, my then 18 month old son had a headstone fall on his legs. He was bruised but thank goodness his guardian angel was there, it could have been much worse." There are many old "monoliths" in cemeteries and even the smaller headstones can cause severe damage, so please beware when you are searching and recording, especially with the children. These tombstones and monuments are not secure after centuries or decades of weather and human fiddlings.
Mary Smith
June 12, 1832  August 25, 1890
At Rest
Footstone: MS
John Smith
May 18, 1829  April 12, 1864
Gone But Not Forgotten
Footstone: C.S.A.

dot_clear.gif - 0.0 KSMITH
John James
Born May 18, 1829, Died April 12, 1864
Co F
26 Va Inf
Mary Jones
Wife of John Smith
Daughter of Thomas and Malinda Jones
Born June 12, 1832, Died August 25, 1890

oakleaf2.gif - 1.7 KFormatting The Data
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KType your data into a word processor, if at all possible.
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KBegin the file with the cemetery name, town, county and state.
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KGive directions to the cemetery, using street and road names, route numbers and landmarks, if applicable.
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KDon't forget to include your name and contact info at the top of the file.
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KInclude any interesting historical data on the cemetery, if known---date established, background info, etc.
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KEnter the tombstone inscriptions just as you wrote them down.
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KIf you have additional genealogical information for the individuals that might be of interest, include that in a separate comments column.
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KThe USGenWeb Project Archives uses only ASCII Text file format. If possible, please save the files in this format.
oakleaf2.gif - 1.7 KSubmitting The Files
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KVisit The Time To Do Page for the guidelines on file submissions for The USGenWeb Project Archives
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KSubmit the data either The Tombstone Project Manager for the appropriate state, (go the the State Registry Page to see who this is.
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KYou can submit the files via email attachment---the fastest way.
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KIf you would rather mail disks to us, contact either myself, or the Archives Manager of the appropriate state for a mailing address.
sil_diam.gif - 0.9 KIf you cannot submit the cemetery data to us in digital format, you can mail a paper copy of the transcription and we will have the data input for you. (This is why we need volunteers to scan and to type).
Make sure you read the FAQ written by Craig Bond on "A Cemetery Survey as an Eagle Scout Project". There are lots of great hints in there on doing this kind of project!
That is all there is to it. If you want to get more involved, and do a really "proper" cemetery survey, visit David McCallister's Cemetery Page for information from The Association For Gravestone Studies on this topic. David also has a page of hints he received from people when he asked "How do I read a hard to read tombstone?" There are lots of hints there for you to use.


oakleaf2.gif - 1.7 K Let's work together in this endeavor!oakleaf3.gif - 2.2 K

This Project is about remembering our dead and preserving our history!!!

If you would like to transcribe data for this Project, or if you already have cemetery surveys and would like to share that work with the world, please let us hear from you. Send a message to the State Tombstone Project Volunteer containing the following information: name of the cemetery, the county and state where the cemetery is located and the names of the people who will be doing the transcribing.

Please use "Cemetery Registration" as the subject line of your message.

If there is no volunteer listed for the State you need to register a cemetery in, you can send the information to:

National Tombstone Project Coordinator
Kathi Jones-Hudson

About This Project
What Can You Do?
How To Join
VA Marker Program
Tombstone Page

Copyright The USGenWeb Tombstone Transcription Project, 1997- 2008