When mapping a volunteer cemetery at NAMES IN STONE, your objective is to preserve cemetery information by creating a visual inventory of graves. This is done by mapping the cemetery, transcribing headstone information, taking photos of headstones, and entering it all on NAMES IN STONE. This is a great public service that preserves our history and provides a unique research tool for families and genealogists.
Here are some tips and tricks that will help you as you plan and carry out your mapping project.
- Visit the cemetery beforehand. You'll be able to get to know the size and layout, and also make a rough estimate of how long the project will take.
- Get permission to enter the cemetery if it is on private property.
- Bring plenty of water. The project may take longer than expected.
- Check the weather report and, if possible, schedule your mapping on a nice day.
- Assemble a team to help you. It is fun to take friends, and it speeds up the project.
- Bring paper to sketch the map. Graphing paper works well.
- Bring plenty of copies of the Headstone Information Sheets (available here.)
- Bring a digital camera. Taking headstone photos is not required, but it is encouraged, as it adds a wonderful visual element to your cemetery map.
- Bring other supplies, such as clipboards, pencils, camera batteries, and memory cards.
.TIPS AND TRICKS FOR MAPPING AT THE CEMETERY
- Organize your helpers into teams. Three-person teams work well: a person to draw the headstone map, another person to take photos, and a third person to transcribe the headstone information.
- Make sure the members of each team stay together. The information can become confused if they work ahead of each other.
- Use string, or some other kind of marker, to make dividing lines in the cemetery so the teams don't overlap.
- Double check periodically to make sure the headstone number on the map, the transcription on the Headstone Information Sheet, and the photo number from the camera match correctly.
- When drawing the map, remember that the exact geographic coordinates of each grave are not as important as where each grave sits in relation to other graves.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR DRAWING YOUR MAP ON NAMES IN STONE
- Draw the cemetery boundary first. It's helpful to draw the boundary as soon as you fill out the Cemetery Project Application and place the cemetery on the satellite map. Your cemetery map will then show up immediately on the NAMES IN STONE website.
- Add the headstone information (names and dates) when you place the grave on the map.
- For greater accuracy, zoom in closer than the aerial photo provides when you place the graves on the map. Due to aerial photo limitations, you will be able to zoom closer in some areas of the country than in others.
- Make sure you save your data each time you enter a grave's information.
- Grave markers are drawn to a scale of 4'x4'. The closer you zoom, the larger the square markers will appear. The goal is to accurately map who is next to whom. Dimensional precision is not necessary.
- Be sure to add all the graves in the cemetery, not just the graves that pertain to the ancestors you are interested in. This helps everyone interested in persons who are buried there.
- Don't stop with just drawing the cemetery boundary! Place the graves on the map along with their burial information as soon as you can--an unfinished cemetery might lead someone to believe their ancestor is not buried there.
Good luck with your mapping project! If you have questions at any stage of mapping, please contact the NAMES IN STONE team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For step-by-step instructions on mapping a volunteer cemetery, see Class B Mapping Recommendations at NAMES IN STONE, or visit the NAMES IN STONE page on Facebook.