GenTraveling to Chicago cemeteries

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Good day GenTravelers!

A genealogy research trip almost always includes a visit to area cemeteries. After all, sometimes a gravestone is all that remains of our ancestors – that is if we’re lucky! I recently read “How to Find Dead People in Chicago” by Kellie Jensen in the Sept/Oct 2013 Family Chronicle magazine. Since we all participate in this GenTraveling activity at some point, I thought I’d share her tips with you today. Some are pretty common sense stuff, but reminders can be helpful, right?!

  • Research before your trip – make a list of cemeteries with addresses, phone numbers, hours of operation and driving directions and who was buried there.
  • Once there, take pictures, not only of gravestones, but of location finding aids in case you go back at some point.
  • Try to get the burial record from the cemetery office.  If you can, you can learn about other people who were buried with your family members.  You may or may not already have those people listed in your family tree.

Author Kellie Jensen described how she learned about a previously unknown relative buried with your family members.  She came home and researched this name.  After two years, she finally found that this unknown person was actually her great grandfather’s sister.  Further research led to information that provided the birthplace in Ireland of her great grandfather. We all know to research friends, family, acquaintances and neighbors – just remember to research “neighboring” names in cemeteries too.  Additionally, Kellie wrote of how a cemetery caretaker had said that, “in some cemeteries, people in the 1800s to mid-1900s were usually (but not always) buried with their family of origin, even if they were married”.  Keep that in mind while searching for you family member’s headstones.

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So, are you planning your GenTraveling yet? Where do you plan to go? Be sure to share your GenTraveling Bucket list on our Bucket List Page.  GenTraveling: It’s the Real Deal Thrill!