The Cemetery Mapping Process

The beginning step to the cemetery mapping process is to measure out the borders of the cemetery, if it is a small one, or to measure out the border of a section of a larger cemetery. If a cemetery is extremely large with many sections, each section will have its own map. Borders are determined by using the starting point of a fence or road and measuring from that point to the next road both North to South and East to West until the section or cemetery has four specific borders.

Once the borders have been determined, a tape measure is run from the starting border to each row, one at a time. Each row is labeled as "Row 1, Row 2, Row 3, and so on, and the exact footage for a row from the border is also labeled.

Time is then taken to determine readability of the stones, especially the older stones. If lichen, a type of moss, has taken over, a special tool is used to remove the lichen. The stone, in most cases, becomes readable, but remains undamaged.

Dowsing is also done at this point to determine possible unmarked graves. With dowsing, I can determine where a person is buried and whether that person is a man, woman, child, or infant. These are also marked to allow for proper recording on the map.

Recording begins then, going stone by stone, logging down the names, the row and the footage. Once this is complete, we pack up and head for home. At this point, my wife transcribes all the recorded data, preparing it for the AutoCad program.

Maps are then created. Our clients receive two maps. There are two soft copy maps which are printed on 20 pound paper which can be written on to keep the records updated.  We also provide a CD which can be opened up in Adobe Acrobat. This CD can be used to update the cemetery records and can also be copied and shared with the Trustees, the County Courthouse, and the Genealogy Department to assure records are never lost again.

The duration of the mapping process from beginning to end takes approximately three to four weeks.


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