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Category: cemetery

Google Images

Google Images

Randy Seaver, a prolific genealogy blogger, wrote about finding cemetery images on Google Images recently. Naturally I had to try it. I am not sure how it works but searching for “Robert Downing cemetery” brought up his stone, his relatives’ stones, my non Downing relatives’ stones, photos from my blogs of unrelated people, even pictures of me. I guess he is linked to me in their logic.


A search for “Samuel Downing cemetery” did not produce a photo of Samuel’s stone which I know is online in several places but it did produce much of the same results as the Robert Downing search.

I searched for my name and got pictures of me and people with the same name.

Needless to say there are many other photos produced in a search that appear to have no connection to what I searched for. It also produced some of the graphics on my blogs and web pages such as the Geneabloggers logo on this page.

If you are looking for that elusive stone, maybe a historical spot, a town, whatever, it is worth a look to see what is online.

Billion Graves

Billion Graves

Billion Graves is a relatively new web site which attempts to photograph tombstones and locate them on a cemetery map using GPS codes. This is a great idea. They also plan to transcribe the stones, either by the photographer transcribing or by a volunteer coming along later and transcribing stones from photos online.


Billion Graves support told me the GPS is so “other people can know the distance they are from the cemetery.” I tend to think it is more useful to locate the stone once you find the cemetery except in the case of a stone photographed in a hidden cemetery. What are the chances of that happening often?


To submit a photo you download an app to your iPhone or to your Android, snap the photo and upload it. It’s that simple. You could do a whole cemetery in an afternoon in many cases. The app is $1.99 and, obviously, uses your device’s camera. You can set it upload after each snap or later. You can chose to save the picture after upload or delete it. Why would would you delete it?


Don’t have an iPhone or Android? You will not be snapping pictures. End of story. But you can still transcribe those others have snapped and not transcribed. Note that according to the software, an iPad or a new generation iPod will not work because only an iPhone has GPS accurate enough for this program. Thus only a select group may participate. 


You can use an iPad connected to the internet to tell you of cemeteries nearby where you are at this moment. And maybe that is what they are getting at in paragraph two above. “It sure is a nice day here in this county we are driving through. Let’s see if there are any cemeteries nearby to photograph.” I’m guessing that feature won’t get a lot of use. 


It totally eliminates all stone photos taken before the program. This eliminates the ability of certain folks to collect photos from various places and post them as their own. But it also eliminates a lot of available photos. And it eliminates the photos I and others took years ago of stones which may no longer be readable or which may now be broken, seriously damaged or gone.


I think this is a good idea but it is not ready for prime time.

10,000 Dead People

10,000 Dead People

It was a long and miserable December thanks to the cold from hell. The bright spot is when I was able to be up but not able to go out I worked on my “10,000 Dead People” database and got it to a place where it could be uploaded. I had to divide it into thirds to do that and fidget with the formatting to get each part to reasonable size. It went up the last week of December and almost immediately I began receiving additions, corrections, etc.

What I personally call 10,000 Dead People is basically a list of people buried in south Logan County, Illinois. Why there? With only a few exceptions this includes all of my ancestors back to the beginning of this country so I am particularly concentrated in this location. Unfortunately that made it more difficult to work on which is why I gave it the frivolous name. I am related to a lot of these people, was very close to some of them, knew many more of them. It’s difficult to look at some of them as a name on a stone. Too many memories.

Now it is up and it is a great resource for those researching in south Logan County along with the Logan County ILGenWeb site which, if I do say so, contains many resources for researchers of the same area.

It’s permanently a work in progress. If you have additions or corrections send them on.

10,000 Dead People

10,000 Dead People

For several years I have been working on a massive database of, basically, burials in south Logan County. It includes cemeteries from Hurlbut, Elkhart, Mt. Pulaski, Lake Fork, Laenna and Aetna Townships and two in Chester. Elkhart is not complete. I frivolously named it “10,000 Dead People.” Otherwise it gets a bit too close.


It is more than just a list of the burials. Jane DeWitt, who set up the original list, looked up these people in various sources and added information to the basic list. I have reduced it to the number of columns which fit on a landscape page. I have added information. There may be a maiden name, date of death and maybe birth, spouse, parents, cause of death, military, occupation and assorted other information.


It has taken forever to get it into a format that can be used on the web and then get it into consistent columns. I am still cleaning up columns. It is very time consuming. As I try to clean up each row I get distracted. I knew many of these people. It includes people very close to me. Further, as a genealogist, I want to add information. Finally I gave up, stopped adding information and just worked on consistent columns – all the military in the military column, etc.


At this point I am approximately one third done. Rather than wait until I am done I am going to be putting it online as it is and then continue working on it. I anticipate it will be up by January 1, 2011.


I anticipate there are many, many errors. Some are caused by the manipulations the file has gone through. Some are caused by errors in previous transcriptions. Some are caused by using old books with bad or faint handwriting. There was reliance on old histories which, as we know, were not necessarily accurate to begin with. If you see something in the database that you believe is incorrect do not hesitate to let me know. Please include why you believe it to be incorrect. Ideally the final corrected version will include citations where appropriate.


Ideally I will eventually link names to other things – printed obits, photos, printed bios, etc. I don’t know if that is feasible at this point but I hope it is.


Stay tuned.

Old and New Stone

Old and New Stone

William Nelson Downing married Delilah Downing [no evidence of them being related has ever been found] and soon departed for service with the 106th Illinois. She was pregnant. He never returned, never saw his son.

He’s buried at Downing Cemetery with his father and other relatives. She’s buried at Bowers Templeman with her parents, grandparents and other Downing relatives. She and her second husband have an imposing stone. More than 20 years ago some of his descendants decided to give him a better one. His father got a new one also.

Who Is Buried in Biedler’s Mausoleum?

Who Is Buried in Biedler’s Mausoleum?

In Mt. Pulaski Cemetery there is a brick mausoleum. It is unique in that it is the only mausoleum in the cemetery. It is not attractive. But it is more unique because it is sealed tightly. For years I thought it was an abandoned storage building, not realizing it was the mausoleum in my grandfather’s story.

This is the mausoleum of Henry Beidler who died in December 1888. I know very little about Mr. Beidler. He escaped mention in the local histories, both contemporaneously with his life and the more recent ones. He comes from a family that married a daughter of Jabez Capps, one of the founders of Mt. Pulaski. Other members of his family were involved in publishing the local paper. He did marry and have heirs because one of them contacted me and basically wondered if I knew who is buried in Beidler’s tomb.

All I could relate is a story my grandfather told me long ago. A man was buried in the mausoleum in a coffin containing alcohol. It was supposed to be a preservative. Someone broke into the mausoleum. Officials went into the structure, opened the coffin and noted that the body was well preserved, sealed the coffin and then sealed the mausoleum. Presumably relatives were involved. That was all I knew.

Only one coffin was mentioned. The story, and the mystery, is related on the the Logan County Genealogy blog. Maybe you know something that will help a descendant find the answers.

Photos by Jane DeWitt

John Winans Clark

John Winans Clark

John Winans Clark was born in Somerset County, New Jersey, in 1779, traveled to Kentucky and eventually Illinois, and died at Yankeetown, Logan County, Illinois, on March 5, 1859. He is buried at Laenna Cemetery, Chestnut. Yankeetown is long gone but once was about where he is buried.

Along the way John Winans Clark served in the War of 1812 in Captain Jeremiah Martin’s Company, Kentucky Mounted Volunteer Militia, mustering in on August 31, 1813, at Newport, Campbell County, Kentucky.

Mary Payne Barringer, one of his descendants, will oversee the June 13 ceremony dedicating the official US Daughters of 1812 plaque is placed on his grave.

More on John Winans Clark at Ancestor Hunting.

A Real Stone

A Real Stone


Photo by Jane DeWitt

This the stone, literally, for Henry Volle at Mt. Pulaski Cemetery. Henry was born September 7, 1874, and lived for 92 years until October 3, 1965. He and his wife Margaret Horn had three children. The children grew up and moved away. I have no idea why he chose this very large rock.