To earn the rank of Eagle Scout, a Boy Scout must perform a service/leadership project that totals 80 to 150 hours.
Adam, a Boy Scout from Utah, decided that for his service project, he wanted to help preserve the records of the Fairfield Utah Cemetery. Adam's plan was to lead a group of Scouts in transcribing headstone information, mapping the nearly 300-grave cemetery, photographing each headstone, and then creating an online map of the cemetery on NAMES IN STONE.
Adam recruited six other scouts and two leaders who made the trip to Fairfield, located west of Utah Lake in Utah County. Adam split the group into three teams and held a brief training exercise to make sure the Scouts knew their goals and responsibilities. Each team had a photographer, a mapper, and a recorder. They divided the cemetery into three sections and the teams went to work.
Adam's Board of Review committee wholeheartedly approved his project and are excited about his choice to map a cemetery. They hope other scouts will consider mapping a cemetery for their Eagle Projects.
Adam says that the first phase of the project at the cemetery was a great success. And he has some ideas for other Boy Scouts who might be interested in mapping a cemetery for their Eagle Scout Service Projects.
Mapping Tips at the Cemetery:
- Use graph paper to draw the cemetery map. With several scouts drawing maps, it can be hard to keep things consistent. Graphing paper helps the mappers keep things lined up and in order. It also helps the person creating the map on the website be more accurate in placing graves.
- Make sure that the mapper, photographer, and recorder stay together and map one grave at a time. If someone goes ahead things get confusing and people make mistakes.
- Use string, or some other kind of marker, to make a dividing line in the cemetery so the teams don't overlap.
- Periodically check quality and accuracy of each team's work - make sure everyone is using the same system and that there are no misunderstandings or mistakes.
After returning from the cemetery, Adam created the Fairfield Cemetery Map on NAMES IN STONE. He said that placing the cemetery on the map was easy. “I was able to zoom in close enough to actually see the cemetery—and even some of the bigger headstones.”
Mapping Tips at the Computer:
- Divide the hand-drawn map into several sections. Place graves for a whole section at a time and then go back and enter the data for each grave.
- Upload each headstone photo at the same time you enter the record.
- Use two person teams to enter the records. One person can enter the data and the other person can check for accuracy of the written record compared to the headstone and make sure the computer entry is correct.
Adam and his friends really enjoyed mapping this cemetery. Adam says, "I had the feeling that we were helping the descendants of the people who are buried here find their ancestors. I know that what we're doing will help keep their memory alive."
Take a look at the Fairfield Cemetery map at NAMES IN STONE! Just click on each grave to view the headstone record and photo.
Boy Scouts of America and NAMES IN STONE
Documenting the grave locations and headstone information from small cemeteries is a wonderful opportunity for Boy Scout troops and those needing an Eagle Scout project. Mapping a small cemetery provides scouts with the following opportunities:
- Leadership—Scouts have the opportunity to organize and direct different teams towards a common goal.
- Organization—Scouts experience how to build teams based on individual team member skills and enthusiasm.
- Cartography—Scouts practice basic cartography skills. They learn how to translate what they see on the ground to paper and ultimately to the website.
- Photography—Scouts practice basic photography skills and learn how to compose a picture based on lighting, shadows, angles, and headstone text legibility.
- Genealogy—Scouts gain an appreciation for those who have gone before. They come to a better understanding of life, death, and families.
- Data Entry—Scouts practice data entry skills, both on paper and at the computer. They come to better appreciate the need for care, accuracy, and personal pride.
- Community Service—Scouts help preserve community information that potentially could be lost forever.