Kinsearching May 20, 2012




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     As the popularity of the “Genealogy at a Glance” guides continues to increase, people who are tracing their family trees eagerly look forward to the next addition to the series. They need wait no longer. American Cemetery Research by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack is now available.

     Following the standard format of the series, Carmack condenses into four laminated pages an overview of the basics of cemetery research in the United States. Dividing the material into eight main sections, her guide begins with a list of selected “quick facts” pertaining to materials utilized in making grave markers from the 1600s through the 1930s. The rest of the publication, of course, concerns data to help you obtain as many facts as possible from tombstones and other burial resources.

     Naturally, the first step is to locate where your forebears were laid to rest. To discover this information, Carmack provides several recommendations that pertain to personal family papers as well as online databases. Since the kind of cemetery in which your ancestor was buried makes a difference in where the records are housed and how to access them, she discusses nine types of cemeteries: church, family, country, slave, elite garden, ordinary urban, veterans, memorial park, and Potter’s field.

     Once the final resting place is identified, descendants may want to visit the cemetery. Since a field trip involves several considerations, Carmack discusses the best time of year to go and the equipment you will need to take. She also tells the best way to photograph burial markers and to make tombstone rubbings.

     Interestingly, she explains how cemetery research may lead to the possibility of getting in touch with previously unknown cousins and ways to accomplish contact with them. Then she furnishes a list of references for further research and URLs for websites of databases concerning the dead.

     As more and more burial data becomes available online, genealogists who use only internet materials may not realize how many clues are lost if the order of the graves is not taken into account. For instance, relatives were often buried next to or near each other. Besides, tramping through a burying ground and standing at your ancestors’ graves furnish a better understanding of the landscape in which your ancestors may have lived for years before their death. A handy and streamlined manual, American Cemetery Research offers insights into acquiring valuable genealogical information available in the graveyards of the United States.

     To the guide's price of $8.95, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $4.50 for one item and $2.50 for each additional copy; for FedEx ground service, the cost is $6.00 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional item. The guide (item order 3528) may be purchased by check, money order, MasterCard, or Visa from Genealogical Publishing Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, MD 21211-1953. For phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website

     Researchers interested in the Civil War may want to make plans to attend the fall conference of the Virginia Genealogical Society (VGS), scheduled for 12-13 October 2012 at Lynchburg’s Kirkley Hotel & Conference Center, This year’s theme will be “Lynchburg and Appomattox: Moving towards the End of the Long Conflict.” Guest speakers will be Patrick Schroeder, Greg Starbuck, Linda Lipscomb, and Ted Delaney. Topics to be discussed are myths about Lee’s surrender, the Confederate Cemetery and the Museum of the Confederacy at Appomattox, Lynchburg’s Old City Cemetery, and Hunter’s Raid and the Battle of Lynchburg. A living history program which “journeys back in time” to visit Old Appomattox with George Peers, former sheriff and county clerk of Appomattox Court House, will also be featured. For costs and further information, go to the website at or write to VGS Fall Conference, 1900 Byrd Avenue, Suite 104, Richmond, Virginia 23230-3033.

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