Locating the burial places of ancestors
|Graveyard, location unknown. Image source: fromoldbooks.org|
Due to my recent obsession with family history, I've become a frequent visitor to Find A Grave, a free online repository of over 57 million grave records. Obviously, they don't have a record for everyone -- there have been an untold number of us humans! -- but I have found burial information and even a few tombstone photos for some of my ancestors there.
The Scotten Cemetery, found
Emery Scotten was Great-grandmother Emma Hart's grandfather -- in other words, my 3x-great-grandfather. He was born in 1792 in Maryland and died in 1867 in Franklin County, Indiana. I typed his name, places, and dates into a Find A Grave search and learned that Great-grandfather Scotten is buried in the Scotten Cemetery in Franklin County, along with his wife Mary S. and a dozen other family members and in-laws.
The Scotten Cemetery is described as "marooned in a cornfield on 200 North about 3/4 of a mile west of 600 West. The burial ground is recognizable only by a wooded area on the south side of 200 North, and the stones can only be seen during the winter months when foliage is gone." The last burial there was in 1878.
I can almost see the Scotten Cemetery in my mind, because there's an old graveyard like that, marooned in a pasture, just a mile from my house. When I hiked out there to look at it, on a winter day some years ago, I could hardly see the gravestones under all the fallen tree branches and tangled vines. I would have been afraid to go there in the summer because of snakes!
It is sad to think that the Scotten Cemetery is not tended at all, but I do feel closer to that family, now that I know where they are buried. It should be quiet there most of the time, except for the birds and squirrels and rabbits -- and the snakes. I hope the wild violets and roses bloom on their graves. Maybe there are even a few daffodils that still come up in the springtime.
Helping Find A Grave
Find A Grave works because of volunteers -- people who donate their time and effort to research, key, and upload burial information. In many cases, the volunteers have gone to remote graveyards themselves and recorded the names and dates on old tombstones. The site is funded through advertising, donations, and a gift shop. You can read about the founder and staff on the "whois" page.
I've visited quite a few old graveyards in Christian County and I have a few dozen or more photographs of tombstones that interested me. I can't upload them to Find A Grave unless I know the names of the cemeteries where I photographed them -- and I don't remember.
However, I could go through my gravestone photos and search for those people's names and dates on Find A Grave. Then, if any of them were already listed in some cemetery in Christian County, KY, I could add my tombstone photo to the burial record. I know that someone, sometime, would be really happy to find it.