We had an exciting workshop last weekend,
"I'm Dying to Get it Done!"
We had a discussion about the way funerals have changed over the years, from a cookie cutter ceremony where every funeral was the same, to the modern personalized ceremony. We also learned about how death records work and were funeral records are kept, or not kept in the case of funeral homes that have gone out of business. We hope that Mr. Parrott will join us in March for our annual all day workshop, to lead another discussion on funerals and death records.
After we learned about dying, Rosemary Fischer gave a class on "Cemeteries, a Grave Undertaking." We learned about what to do and bring when researching in the cemetery. Before going out, check out findagrave.com or USGenweb tombstone project, the research may already be done for you. Be mindful of the weather. You don't want to do research in the heat of the summer with the snakes, nor do you want to be searching through the snow drifts. Never leave anything behind at the cemetery. Take your research tools and trash back home with you.
Next Angela Pendleton lead a discussion on Tombstone Iconography. We discussed some of the ideas from the book "Stories in Stone. A field guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography" by Douglas Keister. Children or Infants Victorian tombstones may have a broken bud (a premature death), and vacant chair (young person missing) or a lamb (innocence). Other tombstones such as a tree stump would mean "a life cut short", tree stumps could be bought through the Sears catalog, so you may see a lot of them. Another symbol is the "Heart". A pierced heart is repentance, the flaming heart is religious zeal, the bleeding heart is a symbol of Christ's suffering, and the heart in hand is love and piety.
Finally we finished the class with Guy Shaw telling us about findagrave.com. He discussed the different operations from the Profile page and the Contributor Tools. Findagrave.com has partnered with Ancestry.com and they provide a link from their person page to the findagrave page for you. Plus the site lets you enter cremation information now.
Please join us next month for the annual holiday party at Rosemary's house in McDonough.