An amazing number of cemetery and funeral home records have never been computerized in any way. How often have you pored over a cemetery map that was nearly 100 years old, faded, and tattered at the edges? And that was the only map available? Are there records of this nature where you live? How about volunteering to create digital representations of them?

Greenwood Cemetery in Canton [Illinois] has delivered a computerized hard copy history and map system to Parlin-Ingersoll Library to help people locate grave sites.

This system can be used in conjunction with the publications of the Fulton County Historical and Genealogical Society.

From the time the original 112 cemetery plots were laid out, 167 years ago, four city engineers had created separate grids within the property limits. Early maps were printed on cloth, cardboard, or paper. Daily burial entries were made by the sexton. These became the permanent record of burial activity.
The current board, appointed in 2002, immediately recognized that if the system was not entered into digital storage within the next few years, the disintegrating paper pages of the daily entries would no longer be readable. The maps were fading. Photocopies could not bring back the detail needed to find site locations.

In 2002, the process began of creating computer graphics for the 122 acres of ground that is today represented on 23 maps and five charts. Two instruction pages explain how to use the records. The burial records are in the process of being entered on a master data base. In 1895, a fire destroyed all cemetery records. Fulton County Historical and Genealogical Society headstone inscriptions allow most of the lost records to be restored.

From the May 15, 2006 edition of the Canton Daily Ledger.