Congratulations to Tracy Anne our featured volunteer of the month for May, 2021! We’d like to recognize her efforts recording cemeteries in Saskatchewan as well as other locations and also for helping update cemetery pages in many places!
Being an avid genealogist, it was easy for Tracy to catch the cemetery bug. In her words it was “just unbearable not knowing the exact death dates and burial locations of people” she was researching. Finding burial locations is easy for those closer generations, but is more difficult with those older generations. As she was searching she looked online and found memorials on Find a Grave® with headstone photos and was able to fill in missing information. But, she couldn’t find any trace of a set of 3rd great grandparents. The hunt was on. She and her mother set out on a road trip to drive from Canada to Missouri, walking the cemeteries of Carroll and Howard counties. All they had was a clue that the cemetery was “8 miles NW of DeWitt” in Carroll county. There was a cemetery in roughly that location, so off they went. Tracy had checked a local genealogical society’s transcription and her grandparents were not on the transcript. But, they thought they’d give it a shot. They started walking and reading the stones and within five minutes found Judith and Andrew! She photographed the headstones and added them to Find a Grave. They are among her first contributions to the site.
Most of Tracy’s ancestors originated from England, Scotland, or Ireland. She has taken vacations to Yorkshire and Hampshire in England and to County Sligo in Ireland to visit the locations where her ancestors lived. These trips have always included treks to the local cemeteries and headstone hunts. Along with these trips and other genealogical research over many years she has gathered a lot of information about cemeteries. Years ago she began sending updates to the cemetery pages on Find a Grave that included accurate GPS locations, cemetery names and whenever possible a historical description for the cemetery page. We truly appreciate all her hard work. Here’s a handful of cemetery page photos from some cemeteries that she has photographed.
Tracy’s years of research, traveling, and photographing have benefited us all. She shared this information with us about the cemeteries in Saskatchewan.
Closer to home, I live in Saskatchewan, a prairie province of Canada that was colonized in the late 1800s, early 1900s. Many of the settlers who came to Saskatchewan at that time originated from various places in eastern and western Europe and brought with them a wide variety of religions and customs. With little other infrastructure in place during the early days of the province, each religious group built their own church and community. A need for a graveyard soon followed and most of the early churches built in the hinterlands of Saskatchewan had a small cemetery associated with it. The Saskatchewan Genealogical Society has identified over 3,400 cemeteries/burial grounds in the province. With a current population of just over a million people, that is a lot of cemeteries! Some of these are still in use, but many of the small rural churches are now closed. Some have been abandoned to the ravages of time and are at jeopardy of being lost forever. Upwards of 2,000 of the cemeteries in Saskatchewan have been added to Find a Grave and the number of intrepid Find a Grave volunteers in the province has grown dramatically over the years as other people discover the richness of the province for cemeteries. Initially, I started out documenting cemeteries close to where I live but I also try to document smaller cemeteries in the province, some of which are at great risk of being over-grown or plowed under, like St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Old Cemetery. These are often cemeteries established by early settlers from eastern Europe and will have headstones written in cyrilic script or the Polish alphabet. I do my best to transliterate the text and appreciate the willingness of other Find a Grave volunteers to help with corrections as needed.
I usually try to visit cemeteries whenever I travel. In other parts of Canada, this has been most often in Manitoba but also in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario as the opportunity arises. There is never enough time for graving, but I try to add accurate information to Findagrave so that others can build on what I have done. I am especially passionate about adding accurate GPS coordinates for each cemetery I visit.
Our accolades to you for your extraordinary work in cemeteries! We are so glad that you are a Find a Grave member and appreciate all your efforts in recording and memorializing those that have passed.
We welcome your suggestions for Volunteer of the Month. If you’d like to submit a volunteer for consideration in future months, please send an email with details of their work to firstname.lastname@example.org.