My little corner of the world
By: Arwen | Discussion (0)

So, I was playing around with Google Maps the other day while I was thinking about the cemeteries around here. “Huh?” You say, “What the heck is the connection there!” Well, I (and several others) have been attempting to locate and photograph cemeteries in the area. We locate the cemetery and then proceed to photograph every stone we can find. We use the photos to create a list of people buried in that cemetery and create memorial pages for those people on Find A Grave. We do this because it is such a great resource for genealogists. I have used it many times to obtain photographs of headstones of ancestors who lived thousands of miles away. To give back, we fulfill photo requests and also post information about entire cemeteries.

Other reasons? Well, cemeteries are just plain interesting.

From interesting inscriptions: “If mothers were flowers, you would be a perfect rose…and here lies the thorn.”
Fun Inscription.

To the poignant (quadruplets who all died)

To the just plain spooky

To help us to locate cemeteries and plan our trips, I did several things. First I searched the internet for cemeteries in Pima County, which usually gives me names, but no locations. Then I discovered that when using Google Earth I could usually see a cemetery from a satellite photo. Then I discovered that many cemeteries are marked on topo maps. They are indicated with dashed lines and the notation “Cem” — or sometimes just a cross.

However, I got tired of continually having to go back to the topo maps or satellite images after I had written down directions and GPS coordinates. I still wanted to check the map before making a trip to a new location. So I decided that I needed a more permanent way of locating these cemeteries quickly. I decided that Google Maps was the way to go (simply because I already had a Google account.)

The first map I created was for ALL cemeteries within Pima County.

View Larger Map
(Yes, I am sure I have missed some!)

I then went on to create other Arizona county cemetery maps.

My process is this:

  • Use the Geographic Names Information Server to locate all “Feature class” = cemeteries within any given county.
  • Click on the cemetery name to open the information window.
  • On the right, look for “ACME Mapper.”
  • Then use the topo maps (see the button in the upper right above the map) to determine the location.
  • Move what you want to located to the center of the map under the crosshairs.
  • Reading the LAT LONG data from the box at the bottom of the screen, enter that data into Google Maps and placemark away!
  • Then do the same with feature class pointing to populated place. When looking at populated places, move the map around because there might be cemeteries just off the map! (And remember you must zoom in.)
  • If you find cemeteries reported to be on a ranch use locale, for creeks use stream, for canyons use valley, etc.
  • I spent quite a lot of time finding all of the cemeteries in Pima County and had to do it again when I decided to use Google Maps — but now it is available for the world to see, and I can quickly locate a super obscure (what the heck is its name?!) cemetery (and impress my genealogy buddies with my wit and wisdom — or some junk).

    (And yes, this used to be less complicated — but don’t get me started on the idiots who purchased TopoZone and made EVERYTHING require payment. There were fewer steps. I will NEVER buy any maps from them now — since I figured I might need some — I will get in the car and drive myself to a map store instead.)
    ((See, I told you not to get me started!))