Member of the National Genealogical Society 2018
Member of the New Mexico Genealogical Society 2018

Genealogy and the Pioneer Cemetery

Not all genealogical pursuits have to include your family, but they may offer clues to finding them.

One such pursuit is the Pioneer Cemetery. They're located in every state and some of the most fascinating are tucked away in locations unseen by the general population.

They are history books in disguise, with engravings that may help you with your own research. Unfortunately, many of them have returned to nature, or are disintegrating today.

I recall walking through a pioneer cemetery in Nebraska and after a time, I realized I repeatedly saw the same four dates . A large group of people died within those four days, with one family losing all nine of their children. What happened?

After searching online, I discovered that a cholera epidemic had been the fate of this community. Had my ancestors been local residents and died within this time frame, I could have guessed that they experienced the same fate. It would have also led me to search further in the cemetery to see if others within the family succumbed to the epidemic.

With the luxury of the internet, you no longer have to visit the state or cemetery of your choice. Many of the Pioneer Cemeteries are now on the web with enough history to help you with your search. You only need to search "Pioneer Cemeteries [and then your State]".

Perhaps you'll only discover surnames.Perhaps they will only be the infants of your ancestors, but every headstone bears facts. Study it slowly, and read between the lines. There is a story in every stone.

(Photo: Silver Terrace Cemetery, Virginia City, Nevada, where I spent many hours in the early 1990s)

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