Cemeteries are a place of final resting for those who have passed away. They have been a part of culture and society since the beginning of human history.
Visits to cemeteries can be a moving experience. They can also teach us about our lineage and mortality.
Modern day cemeteries
Modern day cemeteries typically employ a full-time staff of caretakers to maintain and operate the facilities. Many also use state-of-the-art management technologies, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), to provide accurate maps and plans of monuments and infrastructure.
The United States has an estimated 20,272 registered cemeteries, a number that excludes unmarked graves and pet cemeteries, as well as natural graves used by Native Americans. Even though cemeteries aren’t always open to the public, they play a significant role in our society.
However, poor cemetery planning can have a real impact on our environment. For example, placing cemeteries on low-lying land may increase the risk of flooding and contaminate nearby water sources with trace elements from embalmed bodies and caskets.
Monuments and memorials
Monuments and memorials are a way to honor someone who has passed. Often, they are made of stone and can include a headstone or a marker.
A marker is a flat stone that can be read while standing on the ground and will usually contain basic information, such as name and date of death. They are a lot cheaper than the more extensive upright monuments and can be placed flush with the ground or on a foundation above ground.
In addition, they are easier to maintain than more elaborate memorials and can be removed by cemetery grounds crews.
Monuments can be constructed of granite, marble or bronze and come in different shapes and sizes depending on the needs of the family. Generally, they are engraved with the deceased’s name and sometimes an epitaph, as well.
Burial plots are often one of the first decisions people make after losing a loved one. These decisions may have a profound impact on your family for generations to come, so it’s important to do your research before making any decision.
Choosing the right burial plot is a serious and personal choice, so it’s best to do it with someone you trust. They can provide emotional support, help you think through the options and guide you through the process.
When looking for a burial plot, it’s also important to check the cemetery’s bylaws. These will detail their policies on issues such as reselling the plot if plans change, transferring ownership of the deed to a different property or what monuments are allowed on site.
Buying a burial plot can be a difficult process, and it’s not uncommon for people to feel confused or overwhelmed. Visiting the site with a friend or relative can help you deal with these emotions and address any aspects of the site you may not have thought about.
Cemetery records can be a treasure trove of information for family history, genealogy, and historical research. They can help you learn the names and dates of birth, death, burials, obituaries, gravestones, military service, marriages, relationships, and other important details.
The location of cemeteries can also be a key factor in family research, as many of them were placed in areas that have changed ownership numerous times. If you can find a map, you can often determine who owns the land where the cemetery is located.
If you cannot locate a map, contact the County Assessor or Recorder for property lines. This will give you the owner of the cemetery, as well as other vital information such as where the plots are buried.