Thursday, July 19, 2007

Forest Park Cemetery, Joplin, Missouri

As I stated before, I just returned from a research/visit family trip to Missouri. We took one day and traveled all around Southwest Missouri, tying up a few family tree loose ends. One of the cemeteries we visited was Forest Park Cemetery in Joplin, Missouri. This cemetery has a wonderful resource for genealogist search for specific headstones and graves. It would be nice to see other large cemeteries follow their example and make it a little easier for genealogist to find what their looking for.
When you enter the Forest Park Cemetery the first thing you notice is that this cemetery is absolutely huge, I would guess and say that it must be 7-10 acres or more, when you're standing in the center the only thing you see when you look around is green grass and headstones. Anyway, the cemetery is divided into sections with each one being numbered. In front of each section there is a sign with a plexi-glass box. Inside that box and protected from the elements is a list for that section of the cemetery with names, plots and graves of the people buried in that section.
So, to find out what section your person is in you go to the center of the cemetery to the caretakers building and there is another sign with plexi-glass box that has the master list for the entire cemetery. This list is in alphabetical order and tells you what section and plot your person is in. Then you can go to that section and look up your person in the listing for the section and find out exactly where they are buried.
We had a little argument about how helpful the listing in each section really was once you had found the section on the master list. I preferred just cruising through that section on finding the headstone, my dad(who was helping me) thought it was more efficient to use the section list and then walk right to the headstone. The only problem with this was that only the master list was in alphabetical order, not the list for each section, these were in plot order so you spent more time looking at the list with more chance of missing someone.
Anyway, in the long run it definately speeded up our search, it only took us 1 hour to find and photograph 23 graves of family members and without their lists we would have spent the whole day there.
So, I want to thank the management and people of Forest Park Cemetery for taking the time to assemble this list and keeping it updated, it really makes genealogy research much less time consuming.

1 comment:

olddennis said...

I saw your comments about your trip to the Forest Park cemetery in Joplin. I am real new to geneology and I just found out my great-grandfather is buried there (maybe my great-grandmother too). Do you know how I can get photos taken of his/her tombstones? His name was Jay Clark Earl Williams (1853-1926) and his wife was Cora Mae Williams. Are cemeteries willing to take digital photos for people or are there local geneology groups available in areas to help out? Thanks for any advice you can give me. Best regards, Dennis Kostick ( Herndon, VA.