California Genealogy and History Archives
Cemetery Transcription Instructions
|Submitting your transcriptions should
be done by attaching your transcription
(MS Word, MS Excel, MS Works, Text File,
to an e-mail, and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm interested so what do I do now?
Are you interested in registering for:
Send me an email with your name, name of Cemetery, Town and the County the cemetery is in. I will put your name and email address on the County web page you specified as having adopted that cemetery. We don't want two of you transcribing the same cemetery!
Please remember to specify
How do I go about transcribing a cemetery?
The original idea behind the Tombstone
Transcription Project was to record and put online all available records for all
cemeteries. We have different situations on our California site (as do others
I'm sure) depending on the person.
People do different things depending on
their available time, how involved they want to be and just what is important to
them. It also depends on the size of the cemetery. Some cemeteries are so large
there just is no way to transcribe the data so maybe you can do lookups and or
take photos. Very close to me is the world’s largest in use cemetery with
about 1,400 acres and almost 500,000 burials.
Some people are not able to walk the
cemeteries to do transcriptions but are able to do individual look-ups. Some
people walk the cemetery and transcribe everything on the tombstone; others just
record names and dates. Sometimes we get lucky and a local genealogical society
may have a transcription and will give permission to put that info on the
web. I have been lucky with three local cemeteries that gave me their databases
to put online. Right now I am scanning printouts from a cemetery in the Fresno
County that were provided by the caretaker of that cemetery. You just need to
check out the situation.
So after all the blah, blah, blah...it's
still up to you and your personal preference and how much time you want to
devote. I have one lady who has about 12 cemeteries she is transcribing. She
sends me updates on one or two cemeteries about every 5 or 6 days and each
update may have 25 to 300 names. I update the files as she sends them to me. Bit
by bit the cemeteries will be recorded.
Please take care not to infringe on someone else's copyright. If you have copied information from a book, magazine, or web page you must have their permission.
In most cases, burial records are factual information and NOT protected under copyright.
Additional Information if you have it
Enter the epitaph or other useful information that is actually inscribed or written on the grave marker. On veterans stones, enter the military info here. Epitaphs that have no genealogical value ("Rest in Peace", "Asleep in Jesus") are not necessary, although this is up to you. If the symbol of a fraternal organization (Masons, Lyons, WOW, etc.) is present, it is appropriate to enter "Masons symbol", or "Eastern Star symbol". If a tombstone is shared with another person enter as s/w John Smith.
Please do not get carried away with the Notes. Stating that the father carved his son's wooden marker, or John Smith is the son of William, or born in Norway, these are all great Notes but "Suffer little children to, Come unto me and forbid, Them not for of such is the kingdom of Heaven" goes beyond what is needed.
Important things to remember:
What format do I use? Excel is the4 preferred format.
Sample of Excel spreadsheet:
You can also use these date formats:
Sample for a Word processor file:
Barnes,,1854,1908,Wife of James Barnes
Barnes,,1854,1908,Wife of James Barnes
Each comma (,) will create a column when I convert it to Excel so be very careful.
If you have plot information, just add another column.
registration and transcriptions to
More questions? Just give me a holler! email@example.com