A while back I was going through some cemetery tombstone photos that I took a couple of years ago. I had found out the married name of one of the daughters in a family I research and was hoping that I might have a picture of her tombstone in the background of another photo. I guess I should back up here and mention that the first couple of times I photographed tombstones, I zoomed in on the individual stone – but then I learned to stand back and get a bit of the general area so that I could later go back and see the surrounding graves. This way if there were many extended family members in a cemetery, it became easier to figure out who’s who when I got back to my computer to look at the photos. I just need to crop and reduce the photos so that just the relevant tombstone is showing for sites like findagrave. I then save the cropped version and also keep the original one for reference.
Anyway, I was going through the original photos, looking at the backgrounds, when I noticed a partly obscured one that related to yet another family I research. Unfortunately, I needed to get back to the cemetery and get another look and another photo because some of the dates weren’t visible. Oh how I wish I would have had those original photos geotagged!! (See my previous post about this.) Had it been geotagged, the location (lat-long) of where I was standing when I took the original photo would have been stored and available for me to see. Since it was not geotagged it quite literally took me forever to find the obscured tombstone in the background. This pretty much convinced me I need to start geotagging. Even if the location was off by several feet, it would have gotten me to the right vicinity so much sooner!
I bring this up now because I am hoping to get back out to take some more cemetery photographs soon – as soon as the weather warms up. I am sooo tired of winter!
I recently received an email from a fellow researcher. He has put up a website with information about deaths, burials, and obituaries of people who lived in the area of Pottstown, Pennsylvania in the late 1800′s and into the 1900′s.
Pottstown is often confused with Pottsville, but they are two separate places. Pottstown is located in western Montgomery county, PA. It lies along the Schuylkill River which is the boundary with northern Chester county. A little to the northwest is southeastern Berks county. If you are researching ancestors in any of these areas, chances are that his site may contain information you can use. Check it out here.
Findagrave.com has got to be one of best resources for finding burial/cemetery information. When I first joined the site (over three years ago), information was spotty for the area of Pennsylvania where I research. That isn’t the case anymore! There are several very active contributors in southeastern PA. New memorials are constantly being added. If you search the site and don’t find what you are looking for, go back and try again in a couple of weeks. You may be pleasantly surprised. I know that I personally have quite a backlog of information to enter and have been trying to work on it as time permits.
When I visit an area cemetery, particularly small and medium-sized ones, I tend to walk through the entire cemetery, looking for tombstones with surnames I recognize. I get pictures of those tombstones and sometimes the surrounding ones because often times family members tend to be buried close by. When I get back home, I load the pictures on my computer and go through them, looking to see if I have the people in my database. Since it’s necessary to crop and resize the pictures before uploading them to findagrave, I must admit that I don’t always get to that in a timely manner.
With a few exceptions, I mostly add memorials for people who are in my database. This means that I can sometimes add more specific information. For example, if the tombstone only has the year of birth and death, I may have the month and day from other sources, so I can add that in. I also try to identify the parents and spouse(s), as well as uploading the tombstone photo. Typically I haven’t added much additional biographical information, but I am thinking I may try to do better in that area.
I have recently started using the FastStone Image Editor/Viewer for cropping and batch resizing of the tombstone images that I upload. I will write more about that in another post.