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Taking the time to share cemetery information

Sharing information is one of the most important tenets of genealogy. Not only do we need to share our personal research but we should be helping our fellow researchers by making information available to them that they would not otherwise have. Surveying cemeteries and transcribing courthouse records are two of the most important ways to do this.

One of my favorite genealogical tasks is surveying cemeteries. Once I survey a cemetery, I write it up and submit it to the USGenWeb Archives to become public record. The USGenWeb Archives is a clearinghouse for surveys and transcribed courthouse records done by volunteer genealogists to make the information available to everyone free of charge. If we don't share information, we won't get very far in our research.

There are a few genealogists out there that have the attitude that nothing should be public record. They think that if you want to know a piece of information you should have to travel to that location to find it yourself. These people are against genealogical information being available for free on the internet. There is no place for this kind of researcher in genealogy. Their attitude helps no one.

Now that we have the internet we have plenty of volunteers willing to spend countless hours transcribing records so that everyone can benefit. You no longer have to travel all over the country to do your research. There are also researchers willing to do book lookups free of charge. This is the way genealogists need to work together. No, reading a transcription is not as good as the real thing but it is the only way a lot of researchers are able to obtain information. It is very expensive to travel all over the country looking for documents.

I have wanted to survey the cemetery at the Wrightsborough Methodist Church for some time. The Wrightsborough area is full of fascinating history. I did the survey with the help of Bill Maddox of Columbia, SC. He is an expert in the history of Wrightsborough and he is a direct descendant of Joseph Maddock, the Quaker co-founder of the Wrightsborough settlement.

McDuffie County has done a wonderful job maintaining the old church and cemetery. We found it nicely mowed making our job much easier. We compared our findings to the partial survey done in the 1930s by Mrs. Kate Newsome as recorded in the book, History of McDuffie County, Georgia, compiled by McCommons and Stovall, the partial survey done in the 1970s by Pearl Baker as recorded in the book, 'Neath Georgia Sod by Pearl Baker and the complete survey done in 1987 by Daniel Nathan Crumpton as recorded in the book, Cemeteries and Genealogy, Warren County, Georgia and Immediate Vicinity 1792 -- 1987 by Daniel Nathan Crumpton. We were happy to find the cemetery to be almost intact from the previous surveys with only a few missing markers. However, we found many discrepancies between the three previous surveys. Any discrepancies we were not able to resolve while doing our survey are noted. You can view the survey done on May 26th at http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/ga/mcduffie/cemeteries/wrights.txt.

I hope that there are some researchers out there that will benefit from this survey. It only took three hours of our time. That isn't much time to give.



Web posted on Thursday, June 3, 2004


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