You Can’t Always Call the Cemetery

Those who have never researched rural ancestors are sometimes in for a treat. It can be difficult in some cases to locate someone who has a map of the cemetery or a person that has a listing of who owns which plots, etc.

For some rural cemeteries, particularly ones that are no longer used, no such list exists. Township or other local officials may oversee the cemetery, maybe. Or no one at all may look after the cemetery and the records, if there ever were any, may be long gone.

And rural cemeteries rarely have phone numbers you can call to get information. Local historical or genealogical societies and libraries may have information about the cemetery or they may not. Local funeral homes may know who to contact in regards to some cemeteries–particularly ones that are still accepting burials. Local government officials, even if they are not responsible for the cemetery’s upkeep, may be aware of someone who knows about who is in the cemetery.

Adjacent landowners may know who knows something about the cemetery, but get permission before walking on someone’s property.


There May Not Be Records

Occasionally I get emails from readers telling me that there simply “have to be records” and comments indicating that “someone, somewhere has ‘them.'”

While a church might have kept records sometimes pastors keep the records of their church and they eventually end up lost or destroyed. The records of some cemeteries, particularly smaller ones, end up in private hands and sometimes those too end up being accidentally destroyed.

This does not mean that one should not look for records. What it does mean is that one cannot always insist that they “have to be around somewhere.” Sometimes they are–but sometimes they are not.


Non-Verbal Information

Years ago, I discovered that my grandmother had a step-grandmother who had never been mentioned. For a long list of reasons, I never mentioned the step-grandmother to my own grandmother.

However, I did learn where the step-grandmother was buried. A few months later, my Dad and I had cause to go close to the cemetery on a trip somewhere else and I asked if we could stop for a few minutes to see if I could find the stone.

There was no stone.

Dad mentioned to Grandma the next morning that we had stopped at said cemetery. Grandma later very directly asked me WHO I was looking for in THAT cemetery. Grandma probably knew who I was looking for as there are NO other family members buried there.

Her pointed question and the look on her face told me that she knew darned well who was buried there and whose stone I was looking for.

Sometimes clues aren’t always written, spoken, or photographed.


What Genealogy Tip of the Day Is Not

In the interest of clarification, Genealogy Tip of the Day‘s blog site and Facebook Fan page are generally not:

  • places to promote genealogical events–there are places to do this and our intent is not to become a clearinghouse for this type of material. 
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Genealogy Tip of the Day is provided as a free service to the genealogy community and we encourage fans/followers to interact on our blog site and Facebook page. Genealogy Tip of the Day is graciously sponsored by My webinars and newsletter will occasionally be mentioned as well. These are things help bring you Genealogy Tip of the Day at no charge.
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124 Back Issues of Casefile Clues for $30

Are you in need of how-to information written clearly, concisely, with an emphasis on instruction and explanation? That’s exactly what you get with Casefile Clues–Michael John Neill’s how-to genealogy newsletter. Take advantage of our special offer to get all 124 back issues for only $30! That’s quite a genealogical bargain. All issues are delivered as PDF files. 

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And we always include complete, accurate citations and ideas of where to go next. We also focus on setting goals and keeping on task.

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A complete list would make this blog post entirely too long. Check it out and see what you’re missing. It has been a long time since we’ve had a back issue special. Don’t wait. Jump start your research today.


Checked Those Miscellaneous Records?

County Recorder’s offices usually records deeds and other legal instruments. They frequently have a “miscellaneous” record where a wide variety of documents might have been brought in to be recorded so that an official copy existed if the original was lost. Have you searched through these records in the local County Recorder’s office?

In one Illinois county, the miscellaneous record contained out-of-state death certificates, a divorce decree from a divorce granted in Florida, my great-uncle’s medical license, military discharge papers, and more.
Give them a look over. 

Check Every Court

At the county level, in some places and time periods, there might have been several different “courts” housed in the same physical location–probate court, court of equity, chancery court, guardianship court, etc. Make certain you’ve searched all the records when using the indexes. If a “court” housed several different “courts,” each court would have had a separate series of records, including indexes.