Cemeteries: Great for Halloween and Genealogy

Halloween has been a favorite of mine since my early childhood, as I grew up in an area heavily trafficked by trick-or-treaters, and the night ended with a large bonfire party in our neighborhood park, complete with costume contests, hot cider (this was in Michigan where October nights are chilly compared to where we live now) and doughnuts.

And by the way, what can be better than scarfing treats from your candy bag as you run from house to house but cleaning your palette with a doughnut afterwards?

But here’s another tradition a few of us practiced after we covered every house in the neighborhood: running through the local cemeteries just to creep ourselves out.Cemeteries Genealogy

As my last few posts were based on genealogy, let’s stretch that into cemeteries.

Cemeteries are a great place to learn about family history. My dad’s family actually used to hold family reunions inside the local cemetery in central Michigan, right near where our departed relatives were interred.

Tombstones can provide names and dates. Relatives buried next to each other can lead you to finding out about ancestors you never knew existed. This is especially true with children who died young. If you have an idea where a relative is buried but don’t know their date of birth in order to obtain a certificate, check out their tombstone. If you live far away, search online for volunteers willing to go to various cemeteries (I’ve had people do this for me) and email or snail mail you the information, even a picture of your ancestor’s headstone. Just remember to send them a sincere thanks.

There are several groups who provide this, such as local genealogy societies and historical organizations.

But did you know that funeral homes hold many records you can’t find anywhere else? We found my mother’s half-siblings because the funeral home which handled her father’s burial had their information. She was told names and dates of her father’s family, the different cities he lived in and even his military rank, regiment and where he served. Who’d have thought?

1 thought on “Cemeteries: Great for Halloween and Genealogy”

  1. I am so glad I am not the only person out there who chooses Halloween as a favorite “holiday.” (Quite a few of my family members think I am a little wacky with that one!)

    And like you, I have always enjoyed trolling through cemeteries, so much so that I now transcribe headstones and upload this information at FindAGrave.com.

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