A Grave Podcast: Episode 53

By Family Tree Editors
Gravestone symbols aren't just for decoration. They mean something.

This month, celebrate Halloween by learning how to navigate a cemetery, tips and tricks for tombstones and the benefits of Find A Grave.

Ep. 53: October 2012

Back to the episode list

In this episode:


News from the Blogosphere with Diane Haddad

Diane shares what’s new in the world of genealogy, including some big-time acquisitions.


Top Tips: Crack the Tombstone Code

Lisa dips into the Family Tree Magazine Podcast archive. In a 2009 interview with Sharon Debartolo Carmack, Sharon explains how to crack the tombstone code and glean more than just names and dates.


Best Websites: Preserving Genealogy in Historic Cemeteries

FTU instructor and active Find a Grave volunteer Diana Crisman Smith explains how you can help preserve the genealogy in historic cemeteries and make it accessible to fellow genealogists.


Family Tree University: Cemetery Research 101

Family Tree University Instructor Midge Frazel shares a few tips from her Cemetery 101 class: Cemetery Research 101: Dig Up Your Family History. The course is designed for the beginner cemetery researcher with some knowledge of genealogy, and uses cemeteries in the student’s home area to prepare them for finding their own ancestors.

Tip #1: The Dead Live At Find-a-Grave. Look here first before leaving home. Use maps to find the location (street/GPS).

Tip #2: The Dead Can Move. Cemetery names change over time, people can be disinterred and move to a new cemetery (the death record/book, family notes lists the wrong location).

Tip #3: The Dead Can Talk.

  • Find the cemetery office/superintendent by phone, email or before setting out to the cemetery get from them the cemetery map, plot # card, date of burial, burials without stones
  • Ask for help
  • Remember your manners
  • Bring them treats or a check
  • Find out where the Town/City Hall is located
  • Use the bathroom
  • Take as many photos as you can of the stone (front, back, all sides/angles), and a photo of you with your ancestor as a separate shot
  • Take photos of the surrounding stones (or write down the surnames)

Tip #4: Visit the Dead with a Boneyard Buddy. When you get to the cemetery or burial location, pretend you are going to have to direct another person to the location. Take photos or videos of the entrance, the sign, the parking or a surrounding landmark and write down how to get to the section you located. I can guarantee that if you don’t do this, you will have to go back.


The Publisher’s Desk with Allison Dolan

In this episode, Allison shares Tombstone Rubbings Dos and Don’ts.


Your Host: Lisa Louise Cooke

Lisa Louise Cooke

Listen to Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems and Genealogy: Family History Made Easy podcasts in iTunes and visit her website for great research ideas, podcast episodes and videos.

Have fun climbing your family tree!