Thursday, June 12, 2014

Visiting Rhode Island Cemeteries

Visiting Rhode Island Cemeteries

Mr. John Sterling knows more about Rhode Island Cemeteries than anyone else. I first learned about him before I really got "into" taking photos. This short article on the public side of the Rhode Island Genealogical Society Web site gives us some idea of what researching cemeteries and gravestones in this state is like. 

It still boggles my mind that there are almost 4 thousand family, city, town, church and municipal cemeteries in such a small state. Look how many towns and counties there are in Rhode Island!

Recently, seeing the state that many of our ancestral burying grounds are in, a commission was created to organize and preserve as many Rhode Island cemeteries as possible. Mr. Sterling, who now lives in another state, authored a well worth reading article about the history of the recording of the cemeteries.  

Mr. Sterling makes several points worth noting:

  • a project was started in 1990 to record the inscriptions
  • 150 transcripts have been located in many different locations
  • People keep re-recording cemeteries that have already been recorded. There are many errors. This is not good.
  • Westerly cemeteries were recorded and published in 1867 by the Rev. Frederick Denison 1819-1901, (who was my 2nd great grand uncle). 
  • The current database is being moved and revamped into Phase II. It was a volunteer effort that was housed at RootsWeb.
  • A cemetery's date of incorporation doesn't always reflect the earliest burial date.
  • An effort to coordinate GPS locations will be part of each town planner's map to help with finding burial locations in the future so that developers will know how to deal with graveyards.
  • The digital camera and other improved technologies are moving the project along at a rapid speed.
  • Working with the Association of Gravestone Studies, a format for the file naming of digital images has been established. (2 digits for state, a dash, 2 digits for town or county, 3 digits for cemetery, last name, comma, first name, death year, .jpg)

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