Albert Sabin, Har Jehuda

His stone reads “beloved husband and father”. He was only 27 years old, and died as a result of an injury sustained at work at the Sun Ship Yard.

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Friends Southwestern Burial Ground – Upper Darby, PA

Today I visited the Friends Southwestern Burial Ground in Upper Darby, PA. I’d been there once before, years ago, but I don’t recall taking many photos. Today I tried to take as many as possible, and managed around 1,000 images in an hour. The high volume was largely do to the very orderly rows and similarly sized/shaped stones that are common at Quaker cemeteries.

I was intrigued to learn that Friends Southwestern began allowing Muslim burials around 2013, two years after Mount Moriah Cemetery in Philadelphia & Yeadon closed. Mount Moriah was the only place in Southeastern Pennsylvania which allowed Muslim burials, so it’s nice to know there’s another local cemetery filling this need. The nice caretaker I spoke with today indicated they’ve had about 800 Muslim burials in the last 5 years.

 

Of all the photos I took, this one for Abigail Scull, who died in 1867 struck me the most. It has been nearly consumed by this large tree that was likely just a small sapling when she died.

Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA

At the end of November 2017 I had the privilege of visiting Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA for a whirlwind 3 day trip. This cemetery opened in 1831 and is still in operation today. My colleagues and I were fortunate to arrive on the same day a Gravestone Girls presentation on colonial headstone art, which we attended after a few hours of walking around the cemetery. The next day we returned to Mount Auburn for a tour and many more hours of cemetery walking. I managed to take about 2,500 photos—many of which were uploaded to Findagrave, but also a number of photos of the landscape and scenery as this is a truly stunning cemetery.

Mount Auburn has a handy burial search and mapping tool for those seeking interment information.

New York State Cemeteries

I visited a friend in New York State over the weekend and had the pleasure of introducing him to findagrave.com. We visited a number of old cemeteries, both small and mid-sized, and he experienced the thrill of fulfilling a photo request.

I found that cemeteries dot the landscape with surprising frequency for such a rural area. We were able to make a dent in a number of photo requests and increased the overall percentage of stones photographed for a number of locations. Even better, I think my friend may have caught the findagrave bug!

One of my favorite stones was this bronze marker indicating the relationship between everyone in a large family plot. If only everyone had these!

 

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The New Findagrave.com

Many findagrave.com members have heard that a new version of the website was forthcoming. The beta version has arrived and members have been testing it out and sending in feedback about the site. I had taken a cursory look a few weeks ago, but I came across a recent Facebook post bemoaning the design of the new site complete with plenty of gang-on comments complaining about the design and features and I had to take a second, more in-depth look.

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Fernwood Cemetery: The Importance of Research

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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.

 

Finding Graves on Vacation

At the end of September I spent a week in Vermont. Before the trip, I took a look at local cemeteries on Findagrave.com and picked a few to visit in between days spent mountain biking and enjoying the local scenery.

My first visit was to Woodmont Cemetery in East Burke, VT. I spent an hour or two there taking photos and getting a feel for the place and then returned again a few days later to finish as much as I could. When I started the cemetery was 54% photographed. After uploading all of my photos including new memorials the final tally was 74% photographed.

 

I spent one afternoon at Hillside Cemetery in West Burke, VT. This lovely cemetery was smaller than Woodmont and is uniquely situated at the top of a steep road on a high plateau. Although close to the road it felt completely isolated. The starting number was 54% photographed, ending number is currently 70% although I still have many photos to upload.

My final cemetery excursion was to Saint Elizabeth Cemetery in Lyndonville, VT. I rarely visit catholic cemeteries, but this one was small and I didn’t have much time so I figured I could make a decent dent. The starting number was 14% photographed and the ending number was 37% photographed.