You're Willing to Transcribe a Cemetery?
Here are some simple instructions on How to Transcribe a cemetery so that your information will help the most people.
It is extremely helpful if you will list the directions to the cemetery from some central point that strangers can readily find. Many visitors to cemeteries are out of towners.
Describe the cemetery - small family cemetery, large well-kept, overgrown, hard to reach, etc. etc. etc.
If the cemetery is one in which graves are scattered every which way it is helpful to draw a "map" of the cemetery with a box for each grave. Number the box and use the same number when you write down the information found on the tombstone. This will help others locate the graves.
The grouping of graves often gives valuable clues on family connections. It is important to record graves in the order they are found and not put them in alphabetical order.
When you enter a cemetery decide how you will walk the rows of graves - left to right, right to left? Whatever way seems best for you use the same way for every row. If you begin on row 1 going from left to right then list row 2 the same way - left to right.
Go to your starting point (usually the first row of graves after you enter the cemetery) and on your paper list the row number and say you are moving left to right, or whatever.
Begin with the first grave and transcribe everything that is found on the tombstone. If the headstone is a double headstone say so, if the grave has a foot marker note the fact and list what it says.
If the tombstone if only partially legible write down what you can read and say the stone is hard to read, faded, broken, or whatever.
If you find a grave marked with a rock, list the grave and say "marked with rock".
Often times you will find a grave with just the metal funeral home marker and the paper inside the frame is either missing or so faded it is impossible to read. Note that information.
If you have an empty space between graves note it as an empty space. It may very well be that there is someone buried there with no marker.
You will often find areas where there is a large family marker and many graves scattered around it or inside a fence. Note this information.
I have transcribed the Cemetery atMt. Hermon Methodist Church in Washington Co NC. You can take a look at it to see an example of what I'm talking about for a medium sized well laid out cemetery and then see the Justice Family cemetery for a small one.
If you have any questions or I can help in any way please let me know.
Return to Cemetery Index
Contact: Linda Haas Davenport