Saturday, December 27, 2014

Visits to the Recorders Office in 2015

Hamilton County Recorders Office
Have you always wondered about the records held by the Hamilton County Recorders Office? Maybe you know how the records could be beneficial to your genealogical search, but you've been a little reluctant to show up in an unfamiliar office populated by a lot of people who seem to already know what they are doing.

Have we got a deal for you! Many of you have participated in Liz Stratton's series on Finding Genealogical Gold in Land Records. We thought now would be the time to take that newly-found knowledge and apply it during a visit to the Hamilton County Recorders Office.

Kenny Burck and David Pittinger

Luckily for us, Recorder Wayne Coates and Chief of Staff Dave Pittinger thought it would be a great idea, too. They offered to schedule two dates for small groups of 10 to visit and learn first-hand about the wonderful resources available to us in their office. From 10:00 until noon on Wednesdays January 14th and 21st. Ten lucky members will meet in their Conference Room and get an overview of the office and the opportunity to search for their own records with Dave's help. (The programs on the 21st will be a repeat of the one on the 14th).

We gave priority registration to those who have been participating in the classes on Land Records and then opened it up to all members in the December Tracer. We currently have two spaces available on the 14th and three on the 21st. If you want to have your name added to the list, please email Kathy Reed, Program Director, at Should these classes fill up quickly, Dave has expressed a willingness to schedule additional dates. If these dates don't work for you, ask to be put on a "Waiting List."

The Recorders Office is located in the Hamilton County Administration Building a 138 Court Street. For a map and complete directions, click here. We hope to see you there.

 Submitted by Kathy Reed.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Virtual Cemeteries on Find A Grave

Find A Grave is a popular online genealogical resource.  Many people use Find A Grave but do not understand the Virtual Cemetery feature.  Hopefully this blog post will help you understand more about them.

What is a Virtual Cemetery?

 A Virtual Cemetery is a collection of links (to memorials) that you curate, like a list with links included.  The memorials are still managed by the profile that is assigned to manage them. The Virtual Cemetery is a quick link to the memorial. A Virtual Cemetery can be private or public. Your virtual cemetery might have memorials from many different cemeteries.  The Virtual Cemetery is different than Find A Grave’s “My Cemeteries” (which are links to a cemetery’s page).  

Find A Grave Feature definitions:

Memorial - page honoring a person, showing cemetery where buried
Cemetery - collection of Memorials located in a cemetery
My Cemeteries - a place to save a link to the cemeteries you work with often 
Virtual Cemetery - a curated collection of links to memorials

You can create a Virtual Cemetery for a variety of subjects.  Here are a few ideas:

o   List of famous gravesites: famous people, veterans, etc.
o   Family name: saving the links to all your family line in one easy to find place.
o   Cemetery research: quick access list of everyone to research in a particular cemetery
o   To Do: a list of memorials that you would like to research or take photos of
o   High school Class alumni             

This is a listing of Virtual Cemeteries  You can see that some are lists of tasks for a cemetery.  And then there are lists of famous people. The number next to the Virtual Cemetery name indicates how many memorials are included for that cemetery.

And here are a couple of examples of Virtual Cemeteries:


How do you create a Virtual Cemetery?

When logged in your Find a Grave account go to your profile page by clicking your profile name:   

Then go to your Contributor Tools:

Click the edit button next to “My Virtual Cemeteries”:

Click Add New:

Fill in the Your Cemetery name.  This one just has the same name as the cemetery I am working on. Click Yes if you would like this to be visible to the public, or No to keep it private.  Then click Add This Cemetery:

Your cemetery will appear in your list of Virtual Cemeteries.  It will not show up as a clickable link until you add memorials to it. The Virtual Cemeteries that are private have an * next to the name:

To edit a virtual cemetery click on the Virtual Cemetery link in your Contributions to Find a Grave page:

How do you add Memorials to a Virtual Cemetery?

To add a memorial to your Virtual Cemetery: Click on the Edit Virtual Cemetery link on the memorial page:

Then click the box next to your Virtual Cemetery you would like to place the memorial.  Click on Save Changes:

Here is the record in the Virtual Cemetery:

HCGS Makes a Difference Volunteer Project

We are using Virtual Cemeteries for the Hamilton County Genealogical Society’s project on documenting Hamilton County’s Civil War Veterans. Each Virtual Cemetery is a gallery of the cemeteries we have researched.  This makes it easier for our volunteers to find memorials they are working on without having to look up each person repeatedly.  For the public it shows the record of the soldiers in each cemetery, as if we created a memorial wall of the Civil War Veteran’s in each cemetery.

Our virtual cemeteries are located here: HCGS Virtual Cemeteries Or check out our Find A Grave Profile 

The image below shows a portion of the Virtual Cemeteries we have created for the project.  

We will need volunteers to help us with our project. If you like to work with Find A Grave searching and adding memorials to our Virtual Cemeteries or would prefer to head to the cemetery and take photos we would love your help.  Check out our earlier post on the project for more info: