Cemetery Transcription Tips
If you’re planning to photograph or transcribe a cemetery, check the USGenWeb Tombstone Transcription page for your county to make sure nobody else has alreadyÂ registered to do that work.
The national pageÂ is at www.rootsweb.com/~cemetery/index.html.Â Click on “View the Registry” to see a page listing the states. Then click on your state and county to see the registry.Â Here’s an example from my home state, Pennsylvania.
At the top of the page are links to pages showing cemetery names and locations and to transcriptions and tombstone photos of local cemeteries.Â Further down on the county page is a registry showing the cemeteries presently “assigned” and the progress that is being made on each.
SomeÂ states have aÂ “tips” page, which is useful to read before you head out into the cemetery. Here’sÂ a photo tips page, and here’s another, which gives transcription tips.Â Many state and county pages also have pages showing common foreign language inscription translations. All of this information is useful both in the planning stage and in the transcribing stage of your cemetery project.
I belong to a tombstone photographersâ€™ group, and we travel from our homes to Blair County,Â PA,Â once a year and meet to photograph a cemetery or two (depending on number of interments in the cemeteries, as well as the number of volunteers who can manage the trip). We donate the photos to Blair County USGenWeb Archives for the Tombstone Project, but we also donate copies of the photos on CDs to the local genealogical and historical societies and to libraries.
All contributions to USGenWeb Archives remain the property of the contributor, who by submitting the material to the Archives gives the Archives permission to store the material permanently for free access.
Blair County USGenWeb Archives
Washington, D.C. Cemetery Website
For any genealogist researching a family in the Washington, D.C. area, Congressional Cemetery has an excellent website full of information. I transcribe interment records for them, and the W eb page is constantly being updated with additional information. I am sureÂ when you check this out and contact the cemetery they would be excited by the attention. Some of the features include
- Pictures of headstones
- Interment logs/records
- Newspaper articles
- Death certificates for interred individuals
If more cemeteries could do this type of work it would make genealogists research so much easier. The website is at
More on Hispanic Surnames
Adding to the article on researching Hispanic names inÂ last week’s Ancestry newsletter, don’t forget about the Spanish surname being matriarchal (i.e., when a woman married, her surname became “maiden nameÂ y husband’s name”) and was often subsequently shortened to just her maiden name. The children of this marriage might have been known by just her maiden name rather than their father’s name.
For example, Maria Lopez marries Juan Sanchez. She becomes Maria Lopez y Sanchez, or Maria Lopez-Sanchez. Their children might be known by the surname “Lopez y Sanchez” or “Lopez-Sanchez” or “Lopez” or “Sanchez.”
As a professional researcher, I have found thatÂ supposed “gaps in chain of title” in deed records are simply a lack of understanding of these possibilities on the part of the researcher.
In many areas of Texas, this custom is in practice still, often by college-educated, professional women. My daughter-in-law, a high school Spanish teacher, uses the hyphenated version, (i.e., her maiden name-my son’s surname), since she had been teaching several years before they met and married, and her teaching certificate, as well as substantial credentials and honorsÂ she has achieved, are inÂ her maiden name.
Mary L. Bell
If you have a suggestion you would like to share with other researchers, send it to mailto:email@example.com. Thanks to all of this week’s contributors!
Quick Tips may be reprinted, with credit to the submitter, in other Ancestry publications, so if you do not want your tip included in a publication other than the Ancestry Weekly Journal, please state so clearly in your message.
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