Genealogy Articles

There’s just something about cemeteries …

August 30, 2016


For the genealogist or history buff spending time at a cemetery can be the equivalent of a mini-vacation. There is a peaceful calming effect when meandering through an older cemetery. One of my favorites happens to be Elmwood in Detroit, where the park-like landscape, the established trees, older headstones, and reverence for loved ones departed can lend itself to a time of reflection. Visiting the grave sites of my own relatives helps to ground me and give me a sense of strength in who I am and where I come from.


The namesake of our business, J. Wendell, happens to be Jeanie (Jennie) Wendell – my second great-grandmother,  who rests in Elmwood alongside her husband, Emory Wendell, her son Brady Wendell, and her parents Eliza Seamans Torrey and Abel Ripley Torrey. Jennie provides my lineage to the DAR. Her grandfather, Samuel Torrey, fought in the Revolutionary War. She was a founding member of the Louisa St. Clair Chapter in Detroit and served as its historian. (Guess I also got the history gene from her as well!)

Besides the peacefulness that can be found in the cemetery, most genealogists are there for work reasons. We are busy tracking down a grave site for a client (or our own family), photographing and/or transcribing headstones, and researching those buried in a common area for more family links.

As much as we love “feet on the ground research,” we are so thankful to see online resources continue to grow making it easier for everyone to track down burial locations. Find A Grave has been around for several years and continues to grow daily due to the countless volunteers  who photograph, transcribe, and create memorials from various cemeteries around the world.

A more recent addition to the cemetery record sites is Billion Graves. They, too, are growing daily due to the large number of photographers who are photographing cemeteries around the world, and an equally large number of volunteers who are transcribing those records daily. What that means for us as researchers is a constant influx of new records available for our research.

Preserving history is so very important. Many of the grave sites that were transcribed and recorded several years ago are now unreadable, broken, or completely gone. YOU can help preserve our cemetery records by teaming up with Find A Grave or Billion Graves today.


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