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We have received other evidence of small family and church cemeteries so overgrown that there would be little chance of anyone finding a tombstone, much less reading one.
We know that many of you on this list live out of state, even farther away than we do. But, please, if there's any chance that you could make a weekend trip to Andrew Co., take the time to photograph a small cemetery or part of a large one, and help save this data, please contact us. (We have a few faithful volunteers already, just waiting for better weather.)
If you have cousins near to Andrew Co., please either tell them about this project, or send their contact information to us, and we'll get in touch with them.
If you can think of any organization, a Scout troop, an upcoming family reunion, a Sunday School class, a group of cousins, who could donate some time and effort to photograph tombstones, please let us know. (If you want information regarding where your particular ancestors might be buried, just ask. We'll do what we can to locate them.)
You would be amazed at the changes (for the worse) that have taken place in the Andrew Co. cemeteries in just 30 years. Thirty more years and where will we be? Please spread the word.
For more information about the Andrew County Cemetery Photography Project, contact:
John Bennett firstname.lastname@example.org
Several years ago, I received notice from an email acquaintance that a small cemetery in Pennsylvania was being logged. Being from Kansas, I wasn't sufficiently alarmed, but when this man offered to go to the cemetery to get photographs, I was pleased, as my husband's Revolutionary War veteran ancestor was buried there. It only took a few photographs for this prairie girl to figure out what "logging" meant for this old cemetery. Every headstone (and they were large and made of metal) was smashed by the felled trees. Some were no longer readable. It didn't take much imagination to know that things were only going to get worse, and that soon that cemetery would be gone forever.
I have been deeply indebted to that acquaintance for getting the last pictures of those tombstones of several generations of my husband's family. And since then, it has been on my mind to preserve with photographs the tombstones that I come across in my genealogy travels. While logging isn't much of a problem around here, we all know that wind, water, acidic conditions, erosion, vandalism and time all take their toll on the old tombstones.
Now John Bennett of Lansing, Kansas, and I (of Lindsborg, Kansas) are organizing volunteers to save in photographs as many tombstones in Andrew Co. as possible. Volunteers need only provide their own cameras and their time, probably starting in the Spring, and they will receive a copy of a CD of digital pictures of numerous cemeteries at no cost beyond mailing expenses, as John has generously offered to burn the CDs. John and I will not profit financially from this project, I can assure you. We will not market these CDs, as they are to be for the benefit of genealogists and family members.
We have contacted the County Clerk, have discussed our project with the Andrew County Museum curator, and are beginning to recruit volunteers. Some are just waiting for snow to melt before getting started, though we are viewing March 1 as our actual kick-off date. Both John and I will be photographing stones when we can travel to northwest Missouri.
There are over 75 known cemeteries and burial sites in Andrew Co. They range from a single stone to the Savannah cemetery with thousands of stones. This would be an excellent project for Scouts, for a family reunion, for a church group, and for individuals. You can prowl through an overgrown burial ground and have a real Indiana Jones adventure, or you can take on one of the beautifully cared-for little church cemeteries in the area. There is definitely something for everyone. You can do it all in one day, or you can visit a larger cemetery frequently, photographing several rows at a time.
John and I will share more details in the coming days and weeks, but if you'd like to get in early to have your pick of cemeteries, we would be delighted to hear from you. Even if you just have questions, please contact one of us. (And if any of you know of any existing photographs of cemeteries, we would be very interested in that information.)
Monica Schirmer Eshelman
426 N. Pine, Lindsborg KS 67456-1717