Lyndon Center Cemtery – Vermont

This week I visited Lyndon Center Cemetery in Lyndon, Vermont. From, I knew there were at least several thousand burials here (likely more).

I made a quick visit to get an idea of the scope and figure out how much I might be able to photograph on subsequent visits. I brought my dog with me as the cemetery rules allow leashed dogs. I struggled to take many pictures with an excited dog in tow, but I took a few snaps that gave the general lay of the land.

Lydon Center Cemetery begins at the bottom of a hill and gently slopes upward before reaching a small plateau. From there, the cemetery landscape rises at a sharper angle, with small terraced plots. I have no idea how they keep it mowed, but it’s a beautiful place.

Fernwood Cemetery: The Importance of Research


I’ve talked before about how to research burials at Fernwood Cemetery in Lansdowne, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. One of the things I always stress to people researching burials there is to take the time to contact the cemetery office—via phone or mail—to inquire about burials and to hopefully receive valuable genealogical information.

The office staff is very helpful and will give you the location of a burial within the cemetery (section and plot) and will provide a cemetery and section map via mail. If you ask nicely, they will likely also send you a photocopy of the burial ledger which indicates:

  • The first and last name of each individual buried in the plot, with middle initial if known
  • Age at death
  • Burial date
  • Location of the grave within the plot
  • Name of the lot owner
  • And sometimes, extra details such as whether there is a stone, size or shape of the lot, etc.

The image above is a cropped version of one of these burial ledger sheets. You can often discover new ancestors—or at least new mysteries to research—by obtaining these records. Many cemeteries will provide this information, sometimes for free and sometimes for a small fee, if you’re willing to make the call or spend the spare change on a stamp.


Tracking Cemetery Photo Progress

For those that are attempting to photograph an entire cemetery, how do you keep track of what you’ve completed?

I have been working section by section to photograph all of Arlington Cemetery in Drexel Hill, PA. It often takes multiple visits to complete a single section and I know where I’ve left off by sight and the name on the stone of the row I need to start.

When I had completed enough that I wanted to track my overall progress, I took a copy of the cemetery map and shaded in the areas that I’ve completed. Does anyone have better methods?


Researching Burials at Montrose Cemetery in Upper Darby, PA

Montrose Cemetery is a small place, tucked away behind a funeral home. It’s the kind of place you can drive by without noticing, which I did for many years before visiting the first time.

The cemetery isn’t large—just a single road down the middle with sections on either side. The sections seem to be all designated by a letter, but only B and G seem to have visible signs denoting their location. There does not seem to be a cemetery map publicly available that lists the sections.

Montrose does offer an online burial records search to locate your ancestors’ section and plot number. Once you’ve found the information, make sure the person has a findagrave memorial and request a photo.

As a photo volunteer with more than 50,000 images uploaded, giving the section adn lot number makes it possible and therefore more attractive for others to potentially take a photo for you.

Researching Your Ancestors at West Laurel Hill Cemetery

West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania makes locating a plot within its expansive grounds about at easy as possible.

First, you’ll want to search the cemetery’s online records for your ancestor. The simple search only allows for first and last name, but once you view the results page you can select “view entire lot” (see an example here) to get a list of everyone in the same plot.

While the records are often missing birth or death dates—often its just names—you can often narrow down your search by seeing who else is interred in the same lot.  Women are often listed with their maiden name, such as Mary Jones Hamilton, which is also helpful.

Once you’ve found your ancestor, take a look at to see if a memorial already exists and whether or not there is already a photo. If not, request one and make sure you put the section and lot number in the notes of your request so a volunteer can try and fulfill your request.

If you’ll be visiting the cemetery in person, download the West Laurel Hill Cemetery app from iTunes or Google Play. The app will allow you to search for a burial and pinpoint the lot within the cemetery, which is quite helpful due to both the size of the cemetery and the fact that most sections don’t seem to have the lots numbered side by side. Lot 120 might be on the extreme opposite side of a section from Lots 119 and 121. If you make sure to turn on location services for the app, you’ll be able to pinpoint not just the lot, but yourself (two different color dots). The app will get you very close to the person you’re seeking, at least within 15-20 feet as some lots are quite large. It’s also helpful to arm yourself with the last of names of others in the lot, just in case there’s a large noticeable stone with only one surname or, unfortunately, the person you’re seeking isn’t listed on a stone but others are.

Happy hunting!