Illinois Ancestors: Seminar to focus on restoration, care of cemeteries

Illinois Ancestors: Seminar to focus on restoration, care of cemeteries

Spring is often the appropriate time for individuals or families or other groups to work in cemeteries — straightening stones, cleaning out brush and unwanted foliage, and doing any other necessary maintenance. The Illiana Genealogical & Historical Society is planning an event to make such activities more effective.

IGHS will conduct a seminar covering the care and restoration of cemeteries from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Illiana Genealogy Library, 215 W. North St., Danville. Tawnye Hedges, a state-certified technician in this field, will make a presentation and answer questions.

Michael Coan, IGHS cemetery coordinator, will present information about his documentation of cemeteries in our area. Coan will discuss "lost" cemeteries, unusual epitaphs, and some lore related to cemeteries.

The cemetery workshop is free, and refreshments will be served. Reservations are not required, but IGHS would appreciate a phone call from interested researchers so that plans can be made. Call 431-TREE (8733).

Vermilion County tombstone photos

Coan's Cemetery Genealogical website at provides a link to a Vermilion County's "quick list," a chart showing each Vermilion County cemetery's name, its location, and other information. A click on any cemetery name takes one to a page with additional information, including a map, GPS location and further descriptions.

For example, Coan has taken 547 photos in Allhands Cemetery, a well-maintained site still in use in Kickapoo State Park.

Coan states that this project is his hobby. His goal is "to visit every cemetery in Vermilion County and take complete photo records of every stone (and) to visit every cemetery in all the surrounding counties" as well. So far he has taken more than 93,000 photographs.

Humorous tombstones

Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter (April 17) publicized a Washington Post article pertaining to humorous tombstones, "Making Your Last Word a Funny One."

The article at includes a Washington, D.C., area tombstone for Katherine and Sterling Ivison, which reads, "We finally found a place to park in Georgetown!"

Some people have found such an inscription offensive; others say tombstones do not have to be boring. Have you recorded what you would like to have inscribed on your own tombstone?

Kentucky publications

The Kentucky Genealogy Society's newsletters are free online and accessible at The most recent issue, for March/April 2013, includes information on the society's annual seminar on Aug. 3 at the Kentucky History Center in Frankfort. J. Mark Lowe will be the speaker; information on his sessions is detailed in the newsletter.

The Kentucky Genealogy Society's quarterly, Bluegrass Roots, has been in publication since 1976 and the contents of those back issues are summarized online at

Back issues are available for purchase and cost $5 for non-members plus shipping ($5 for shipping one to four issues).

For example, in the Winter 1978 issue there is an article, "Lorenzo Dow, Frequently Used Name." Anyone with ancestors who lived in Kentucky may find many helpful articles in this society 's publications.

All quarterly articles indexed

It should be remembered that genealogical societies have been publishing quarterly articles for decades, and they have all been indexed in PERSI, the Periodical Source Index created by the staff of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Ind.

PERSI is fully searchable at, a subscription-based database also available at many libraries, and, a database at many libraries.

PERSI is a subject index to articles (not an every name or every word index) and can be searched by location and record type, by surname as subject, or how-to topics. If a pertinent article is located on PERSI, one may request a copy of that article by contacting the ACPL.

The request form is at One may request up to six articles on each form, and the cost is $7.50 (prepaid with form) plus 20 cents per article page (which will be billed).

Queries, genealogical questions from researchers and genealogical materials readers would like to share will be printed in this column free. Joan Griffis may be reached via email at or by sending a letter to Illinois Ancestors, c/o The News-Gazette, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.

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