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Jittery Genealogy Tips
from the Daily Newsletter



"Either that wallpaper goes, or I do."
----- Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900, on his deathbed

"Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something..."
----- Pancho Villa, 1877-1923, last words

"I feel nothing,
apart from a certain difficulty in continuing to exist."
----- Bernard de Fontenelle, 1657-1757, on his deathbed

"I inhabit a weak, frail, decayed tenement;
battered by the winds and broken in on by the storms,
and, from all I can learn,
the landlord does not intend to repair."
----- John Quincy Adams, 1767-1848

"She's a witch!"
"A witch? How do you know she's a witch?"
"She turned me into a newt!"
"A newt?"
"...I got better."
----- Monty Python and the Holy Grail

By Juliana Smith

Welcome to the Halloween issue of the Ancestry Daily News! We've put together some tips, links, and resources for family historians to enjoy over the Halloween weekend. Have a safe Halloween and may the ghosts of your elusive ancestors send you a hint as to their whereabouts!



~ Does your ancestor still haunt the local cemetery or your ancestral home? Have you been inexplicably drawn to a resource that unraveled a family mystery? Have your ancestors spoken to you in a mysterious way? Share the story of your family ghost, a spooky coincidence you have discovered in your research, and other ethereal ancestral stories on the "Haunting Tales" message board at

Document these stories for your family history and share them with younger family members. You might spark the interest of another generation of family historians.

~ Take lots of photos (some in black and white because they will outlast color prints) of your little "trick or treaters," decorations, and document any Halloween traditions in your family. Share them with other family members on a ghoulish MyFamily site.



~ Search the following Cemetery Databases
free from Friday, October 29th until the 3rd of November at:

Cemetery Record Compendium
Utah County, Utah Cemetery Index
Piatt County, Illinois Marriage and Cemetery Records 1841-1853
United States Cemetery Address Book
California Cemetery Inscription Sources
Missouri Cemetery Inscription Sources
Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Pritchett, Texas; Inscription Index
Front Royal, Virginia Prospect Hill Cemetery Inscriptions
Loudon County, Tennessee, Cemetery Inscriptions
Oakhill Cemetery, Oakhurst, California, Inscriptions
North-central Georgia Cemeteries
Johnson Cemetery, Camden, New Jersey
Waterloo County, Ontario, Cemetery Inscriptions
New Hamburg, Ontario, Riverside Cemetery Index
Woodland Cemetery, Kitchener, Ontario, German War Graves 3751
Minnesota Cemetery Inscription Index, Eleven Counties
Lexington, Massachusetts Cemetery Records
Kitchener, Ontario Woodland Cemetery Records
Payne County, Oklahoma Lawson Cemetery Records
Bennington, Vermont Cemetery Inscriptions
Fairbanks, Alaska Cemetery Records

~ When visiting a cemetery, consult a conservation specialist before attempting to clean stones. For a list of gravestone "do's and don'ts" visit the Web site of the Association of Gravestone Studies at:

Leaflets are also available by writing to:
The Association of Gravestone Studies, 278 Main Street,
Suite 207, Greenfield, MA 01301

~ Be especially watchful of children in a cemetery. Age can make some grave markers very unstable and could topple, causing serious injury. If you think you will be distracted and unable to watch them carefully, it is best to leave them at home.

~ Report any suspicious activity in cemeteries this weekend (or any time) to local police. Someone's ancestors are buried in there and their grave deserves the same respect that you wish for your ancestors'.

~ Volunteer to help transcribe a local cemetery. We are losing much of the information available in cemeteries to the ravages of time and vandalism.
We need to act now to preserve what is there.

More cemetery links:

Political Graveyard

How to Transcribe Cemeteries

Guidelines for Cemetery Books
from the Georgia Genealogical Society

Connecticut Gravestone Network

Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid

Graveyards of Chicago

Those with an appetite for ghostly pictures will want to check out the link to Bachelor's Grove. Reputed to be one of the most haunted cemeteries in the Chicago area, there is a mysterious image of a woman in the photo at:



~ Keep the ghosts in your family around by documenting your family's history now. For help with this project, visit the Family History Month page at:

~ When possible, visit the old "haunts" of your ancestors. Photos taken can liven up the family history, and on site research can reveal local resources that you may not be aware of.

~ Trace the history of an ancestral home (haunted or not). For more information on how to trace a house history, see "If These Walls Could Talk: Tracing a House History," by Linda Herrick Swisher, (Ancestry Magazine, Sept/Oct 1997)



~ Be sensitive to the feelings of other family members when bringing those skeletons out of the closet.
For more on this, see "Family Secrets,"
by George G. Morgan in "Along Those Lines..."



Salem Witch Museum

Bell Witch

Creepy witch/poltergeist story



Links here to everything dead--including obituaries,
and a huge collection of cemeteries at:

Cemeteries, Gravestones, Obituaries, etc.



"When writing to a cemetery and asking them to check burials, ask them to check all available lists such as regular burials, cremations, potter's field, military lists. I've had three occasions where cemeteries have told me they had no record of burial when they checked the burial list.

"In one instance my ancestor had been cremated, which was a different list. In another, my ancestor had been buried in potter's field, and in the third, it was a Civil War burial, which was a different list. In all instances I had quit looking at a particular cemetery when they told me "no record" on the first try.

"When I went back years later and asked about "other lists," I found my relatives had been there all the time and I had wasted precious time looking for them elsewhere."

Thanks to Kathie Groll for today's Quick Tip.

Excerpts from the October 27 edition
of the daily newsletter.

Go back to the Halloween page.