Exploring Almost Forgotten Gravesites in the Great State of Ohio

Dedicated to cemetery preservation in the great state of Ohio

"A cemetery may be considered as abandoned when all or practically all of the bodies have been Removed therefrom and no bodies have been buried therein for a great many years, and the cemetery has been so long neglected as entirely to lose its identity as such, and is no longer known, recognized and respected by the public as a cemetery. 1953 OAG 2978."

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Ohio's WPA Cemetery Plat Maps -- Then and Now

Sharing a personal experience gleaned from my research conducted during the Summer of the rather recent year of 2013.  However, part of me cannot fully comprehend the reality that it has actually been four years since I devoted so much of my free time during those warm summer months trying to track down the current locations of  WPA Cemetery Plat Maps in each of Ohio's 88 counties. 

This county-by-county research required daily phone calls and/or emails to Recorder or other county offices, county archives, libraries, genealogical and historical societies, etc. and note taking and typing up my results at the end of each day's work. 

For some counties, follow-up contacts were necessary for various reasons, not the least of which was to communicate with someone else who might know what I was asking about.  

I soon learned that these maps were not often requested.  Sadly, I was mistakenly too hopeful because I knew genealogists who referred to these maps during their research of veteran burials.  I knew of at least two Chapters of the Ohio Genealogical Society that had painstakingly reduced the size of these large maps (often bound in heavy books) and had the pages reproduced in smaller size booklets.  The chapters offered them to some libraries and sold them to members and others who were interested.  I purchased both Champaign County and Fayette County WPA Cemetery Plat maps booklets and have referred to them several times.

So, I'll fast forward to these waning days of the Summer of 2017 as I find myself re-visiting the process of contacting some Ohio Counties about their WPA Cemetery Plat Maps.  

Now I am requesting these maps to help others seeking to identify where soldiers were buried at a specific cemetery.  In order to be of help, I started my new research by referring to my 2013 records.  

In some counties due to personnel changes that have occurred, I received a reply from someone who was not my initial contact person.  

Changes can bring good surprises!  

Such is the case in Clermont County where Nick Hoover, who is the current Deputy Recorder, replied to my email requesting for help locating a map for "The Old Bapist" Cemetery in Newtonsville.  He was able to locate it under another name: "The Nazarene Cemetery" and he sent me a scanned image of it.  Nick also provided the 1930s era Clermont County Cemetery Index, and a full County Map that denotes cemetery locations by numbers corresponding to the page number of the WPA Cemetery plat maps and the Map Index.  It was such a pleasure to correspond with Nick!  

Re-visiting these WPA Cemetery Plat Maps has offered me reassurance that they are not as obscure as they once were.  I feel more people are learning about them and realizing their unique historic value they hold to help folks learn more about their county of interest.

These maps also give us a glimpse into the thinking of those who lived during the years of the Great Depression.   What the U.S. Government considered important to preserve for future generations.  Among the work was transcriptions of church records, and visiting cemeteries to document veteran burials on grave cards and maps -- and so much more -- all was deemed important enough to pay and train people who needed the work because unemployment was so high.   

In Ohio, only the names of known veterans, up to and including World War I, are listed with their burial locations identified.  In Iowa, however, the listings were compiled for all burials in their cemeteries.  

As with any written record, there are errors and omissions, so we keep these thoughts in mind when researching the WPA Cemetery Plat Maps.  They can be your starting point of research, or your last step that provides the final piece to a puzzle that you thought you would never find!  

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Upcoming Hands-On Cemetery Preservation Workshop Scheduled to be held at Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio - Saturday, September 9, 2017 - 9 a.m. to Noon - Hosted by Custom GraveSite Care of Central Ohio

"We are less than two weeks away from our workshop and training at Green Lawn Cemetery. We have one "definite" response and twenty one "interested". 

To help us to be prepared I ask that those who are interested choose "definite" or "not attending". We are looking forward to meeting you!"

"Register for this inexpensive class with Custom Gravesite Care of Central Ohio to learn how to clean stone markers without causing damage or decreasing their life span - and as an exciting bonus - you will be working on the markers of a very prominent (dare I say "Presidential"?) Green Lawn family!"

"Would you like to learn the proper way to clean and maintain your loved one's headstone? 

Join us for a "hands on" workshop. Meet in the cemetery office parking lot at 9:00 a.m. sharp. Maximum class size is twenty (20) people. 

Registration fee: $10.00 cash/check/money order (payable the day of training)"

Recommended items to bring:
Work gloves
Knee pads or a garden kneeler
Bug spray


Monday, August 21, 2017

Sharing.....Photos from the August 19th Work Session at the Old Burying Ground in Greenfield Provide a Great Glimpse of the Progress being Made by All of the Dedicated Volunteers of This Group Project!

The All Volunteer Work Session held on August 19th, 2017 at the Old Burying Ground in Greenfield, Ohio once again achieved great progress with their efforts to clean, repair, and reset gravestones that stood in need of restoration and preservation.  

As with all work sessions conducted since 2014, the project is coordinated through the Greenfield Historical Society -- (Click on the above link and scroll down to view their photos taken during the August 19th work session!)  

Quoting from John King of the Greenfield Historical Society.:

"Since 2014, the Old Burying Ground (OBG) in Greenfield, Ohio, has been undergoing work by a group of dedicated volunteers. Throughout each year, work sessions have been held by project leaders Scott and Venus Andersen and John King.... We encourage your continued support in this effort and your sharing of this information with your friends. "

To learn of upcoming Old Burying Ground work sessions, please check the 2017 Event Schedule on the website of the Greenfield Historical Society.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Saturday, August 19th, 2017 Starting at 8:00a.m. -- Date and Time for the Next Cemetery Preservation Work Session at the Old Burying Ground in Greenfield, Highland County, Ohio

From the Greenfield Historical Society in Greenfield (Highland County) Ohio. 

For the next work session at the Old Burying Ground.:
"Upcoming Work Session"
"Our next scheduled work session will be:
August 19th beginning at 8:00 a.m."
"How Can YOU Help?"

"Join us for an upcoming work session. You can stay as long as you like. We will help you get started if you have not participated previously. Tasks range from cleaning stones, straightening stones, recording information, etc. We post our scheduled sessions on the GHS website calendar and through communications such as this email."
"Did You Know . . .

We continue to document the burials in the Old Burying Ground so we can more easily find names/dates etc. It is a work in progress but has already revealed some interesting information, such as:
Veterans of 5 Wars are buried in the cemetery:

•Revolutionary War (1)
•War of 1812 (10)
•Civil War (24)
•Spanish American War (1)
•WWII (1)
More interesting information will be obtained by studying this list as it evolves and improves."
The Greenfield Historical Society is a non-profit organization formed in 1949 and exists to further historical preservation and education in Greenfield, Ohio, and the surrounding area.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Preserving a Cemetery Means Preserving its History - Both are Happening at the Old Burying Ground in Greenfield, Ohio

On Sunday, August 6, 2017, the South Central Ohio Preservation Society held their quarterly meeting at the Greenfield Historical Society's Grain and Hay Building AND at the Old Burying Ground where so much history is being restored and preserved for the future through the efforts of many volunteers who are cleaning, repairing, and re-setting grave markers of all types and monuments.  

It is my pleasure to share below the link to the recap of the details of the meeting and photographs, which include several taken at the Old Burying Ground, among other pertinent links.:

Be sure to check back often for newly listed memorials posted on "Find A Grave" to read and learn more about additional early Greenfield area settlers who were buried at the Old Burying Ground.  

In the past week, five new memorials were posted
(Various Photos of the Old Burying Ground below by Linda Ellis - 2016)