GraveRecorder - A Fresh Start

And he’s back.

It’s the summer again and after another burst of family history research, I’m traipsing through graveyards again.

They are funny places. Peaceful, quiet, beautiful in places, but you can’t escape the notion that it’s full of bodies which creates this weird dichotomy. Should you enjoy walking through them, reading the inscriptions and marvelling at the tombstones?

For me, it’s an opportunity to learn more about my family or even other people’s families, through discovering relations, dates of birth, death, etc. But there is a huge problem and I’m not sure it’s simply my bad memory. I keep forgetting how to reach the graves. Seriously.

That’s even if you can find the plot in the first place. My great-grandmother lies in Plumstead cemetery with her two children who unfortunately died as kids. I knew the grave location (it’s usually a code like H123) and the maps at the cemetery showed where the H section was, but it was nowhere to be found.

To be fair, if there is no headstone, it’s much harder, but even with one, it can be tricky to find. In this case I learnt that there was no headstone and it took me about 12 attempts. That is, 12 times visiting the site and hunting for up to an hour each time with my children.

It’s not much better when there is something you can see above ground. Another distant relative was a young girl that also died very young, and is buried in another cemetery. It took me several attempts (this time with my daughter) to find her. Once found (and learning from my mistakes) I made some notes about how to locate the grave again. Even with those, I still find it hard to reach. The trouble is, rows and rows all look the same, and you often end up hunting for landmarks like trees, buidings, or worse, other people’s graves, just to find the one you want!

Anyway, I wanted to create something which was for me and would help me locate all my relatives. There are lots of sites that do this kind of thing, but they have bad UI, require payment, and are often public. To be honest, I am not sure I want my site scraped to death, unless it’s to benefit people who care about the research rather than simply hoard large numbers of memorials.

So, I started a project and got this far.

I was able to view and edit graves, but it kinda stopped there.

Then things happened, time passed, and I left it. Now, like me, it’s back in my mind, so these posts will describe my attempts to revive the project and create that useful resource I always wanted. Meet

Follow along if this takes your fancy!

Hi! Did you find this useful or interesting? I have an email list coming soon, but in the meantime, if you ready anything you fancy chatting about, I would love to hear from you. You can contact me here or at stephen ‘at’