angel.gif (4708 bytes)

Cemetery Mapping

A Project for the Future

cross.gif (6465 bytes)

This page is added as an outline of the procedures I use when I visit and map a cemetery. These are items I try to include for every map, so that our future generations will be able to locate these cemeteries. Many older cemeteries are being used less and will fall into disrepair and oblivion with out some help.

If you visit a cemetery looking for your Inman family members, a few extra minutes is all it takes to outline the cemetery for inclusion on this site. General outlines and landmarks is all that is needed.


1. If you are not familiar with the area, you may need to find the cemetery. If locals are not familiar with the name, or location, of the cemetery, other sources include:

2. While you are at these sites, be sure to ask if there is a map already drawn of which you can get 2 copies - one for sketching and one for me to use for duplication. Sometimes the city has a copy; sometimes the mortuary provides them; sometimes a map is included in a genealogical publication. If only a large version is available, go ahead and make a rough sketch of the layout before going to the cemetery. You can add landmarks and tombstone markings on site.

3. Try to find out if there are any Inmans buried in the cemetery. We don't always have a complete list of family members buried in a cemetery. So it is good to ask for the location of the sites of people we know are buried there and then ask if there are 'any other Inmans' as well. The people that might have these locations are:

4. Once you have all the information that you can get about the cemetery, you can visit the site. Pick the most obvious starting point and keep track of the mileage and directions from that point to the cemetery. Most of the time I use the crossroads of major highways near the cemetery as the starting point. This will allow people coming from different directions to use the same instructions.

Use your odometer to track the mileage to turning points and landmarks. Mark down names of streets, or landmarks, used to go to the cemetery.

5. If you have a map of the cemetery, check your orientation and make sure you know where you want to go. Mark the names of the streets that border the cemetery and mark North on the map, if known.

If you don't have a map, now is when you want to start sketching one. Set the general outline of the whole cemetery. Then lay in the main road or circle. Next mark the minor brances. This will help define the sections of the cemetery. I would also include any major landmarks:

6. Find the burial locations. Once you know where people are buried, look for other landmarks near the burial site that you can place on the map. I look for statues and trees to help narrow down the location. Repeat this process for all the names on your list.

7. I photograph the headstones for inclusion in the Photo Album. Be sure to take grass clippers and a brush. Some of these cemeteries do not get mowed often, or well.

When photographing, get in close and get a FULL shot of the headstone. The dates need to be larger and clearer for scanning purposes.

On older white stones, you may need to photograph from an angle to try and get a shadow on the names. There is an article on reading old tombstones on the Tools Page.

Also, be sure to keep your shadow out of the picture. On flat stones, you can always photograph from the back side, upside-down, to prevent a shadow. On upright stones, get low so the sun is over your shoulder or move to the side slightly.

7. When you finish locating all of the names on your list, recheck your map. Drive through the cemetery and check the roads and landmarks. Make any final corrections and additions.

8. Make copies and send to The Inman Compendium with your driving instructions. Jim will convert your sketch to a computer graphic for inclusion.


Here is one more tip you can consider. When you have your film developed, have the images saved to a CD Rom disk. It costs about 80 per image. The images can then be sent to anyone as an attachment to an email from the CD Rom. The images will be clearer for use on the web site because they won't have to be scanned. Plus you will have a good storage package.