Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mapping the Mendenhall Family Cemetery

I recently mapped a small family cemetery on Names in Stone. The Mendenhall Family Cemetery is near Dayton, Idaho. It is a family tradition to visit this cemetery and hear the stories of Grandpa George Mendenhall, Grandma Celestia Mendenhall, and all the children they lost in the diptheria epidemic. George and Celestia Mendenhall are buried in this cemetery, along with George's father Thomas, several of their children, and an unnamed wagon train child.

I am excited to have the cemetery on this website because I love the whole concept of being able to access the records just by clicking on a grave, and I like the idea of making the records available for others to search as well. I created my map from a drawing my dad made when he visited the cemetery last summer.

First, I registered for a free (free is nice!) membership at Names in Stone. Then I clicked on "Learn More" under "Map a Cemetery." This took me to a description of Class A and Class B Cemeteries. Class A cemeteries are large cemeteries that are usually maintained by a public or private agency. Class B cemeteries are smaller cemeteries that are cared for by families or volunteers. My cemetery only has about 15 graves, so I clicked on Class B - "Add a Cemetery."

The next step is to fill out the "Cemetery Project Application." I didn't have an exact address, so I just gave a good description of the location in the address field. At the bottom of the application is a Google Map. On the map, I found the approximate area in Idaho. I pressed the Shift key and with my mouse drew a square around that area. I was worried about being able to find it on the map, but it zoomed right in to that area and worked really well. I compared my dad's drawing to the Google Map and using roads and a canal, I was able to pinpoint exactly where the cemetery is.

At Names in Stone they say that if your cemetery is in an inhabited area, you'll be able zoom in close enough to see the cemetery and maybe even the headstones. My cemetery is in a rural area and I couldn't zoom in that closely, but they say that the goal is not exact measurements - what's important is showing the graves in relation to each other.

Mapping the Mendenhall Family be continued tomorrow

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