I get asked reasonably often how I feel about cemeteries. Do I like them? Do I find them intriguing? Do they scare me?
Cemeteries are libraries of people to me. I’m okay spending a bit of time in them when I have a mystery to solve, but as technology changes, it’s becoming more and more common for the information I need to be found online.
There are a number of cemeteries in New Zealand online, thanks to their local councils – but not all are. Those that are online don’t always have headstone images for each entry – something essential for most genealogists. A headstone often contains a birthdate or year, confirmation of a spouse (living or passed), and sometimes the names of children. All fantastic proof of information you may be unsure of in your research.
I like spending a bit of time searching for a particular ancestor in a cemetery, especially when it’s sunny and warm. Finding the correct headstone (whether marked or not – an older headstone with unreadable lettering can break a genealogist’s heart!) feels fantastic – which is why I also assist with FindAGrave - why should a family member or genealogist not find a headstone they are after just because they can’t travel to the cemetery?
But you won’t see me anywhere close to one if it’s late afternoon or a dreary day. As much as they are the original genealogical resource, they do kinda creep me out!