Efforts will document, archive cemeteries’ data

Marietta Cemeteries Coming Alive is a community-based effort to document, archive and support the city’s three historically significant cemeteries: Mound, Harmar and Oak Grove.

This group was initially formed in early 2013 for the purpose of making the cemeteries’ records accessible to the public. Interns from Marietta College and other community volunteers are currently transcribing and proofreading the city’s cemetery records to ready them for publication on the Internet.

Marietta College Professor Bob VanCamp and five of his students from the Math, Computing and Information Systems (MCIS) class will be participating in this project by offering creative ways to present the cemetery records on the Internet.

The Washington County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society has generously offered to host the cemetery records on its website once they are ready to be published. At the very least, this will allow the raw data from the cemetery records to be available to the public.

Locating specific graves within these cemeteries is difficult, at best. The group is working to find ways to make locating specific graves within the city’s cemeteries less painful. A very promising option is to create an interactive cemetery map to be published on the internet.

Bret Allphin and Jason Pyles from Buckeye Hills recently gave the group a preview of the GIS mapping of Mound Cemetery. Mound Cemetery’s plot owner map overlays nearly perfectly on the GIS map of Mound Cemetery. The end product will hopefully be an interactive cemetery map published on the internet where you can click on a specific plot in the cemetery and have information presented regarding that specific plot.

This lends itself to many exciting options. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to click on Plot 151 in Mound Cemetery and see photos of all tombstones for everyone buried in that plot? Or, maybe you could see the original burial records for everyone in that plot, even the burials that do not have a marker. Perhaps other information could be added, like obituaries and photos.

Care and maintenance of cemeteries in general is always a concern, and this group is exploring options for supporting Marietta’s cemeteries. Community Service Day will be on March 23. This would be a perfect opportunity for community members to help our cemeteries by picking up trash, piling up branches, etc.

This group continues to grow, and there is always room for more. The next meeting of Marietta Cemeteries Coming Alive will be at 4 p.m. on March 20 in the Legacy Library at Marietta College. Check them out. Get involved. Let’s make this happen!

Chris Painter