Hunting History Among the Headstones

Genealogical research is becoming a popular activity, with more people than ever trying to uncover their families’ histories. There are a host of websites that allow for searching records of gravesites, birth certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, death certificates, and other documents.

In fact, just by spitting into a tube, you can send away your DNA to have it analyzed for the purpose of learning about familial ties and uncovering personal history.

If personal and community history interest you, a cemetery is an interesting place to search. It all starts with a death certificate, which can be found with a bit of online research. The death certificate can lead you to the cemetery, where you may be able to use a map to locate the gravesites you seek. Once you know where to look, it’s time to explore.

What should you take along on this expedition?

  • Have a camera to document what you find. It’s also a good idea to bring a notebook and a pen. That way, you can write down the information, because sometimes headstones that are legible in person are often difficult to read in a photograph.

  • A pair of gloves is useful. Sturdy work gloves will help you delicately clear away any rubble or debris that could prevent you from closely examining the headstones.

  • Wear long pants. You don’t know whether you’ll have to trek through high grass, which can be a welcoming environment for snakes, rodents, and insects. Long pants and long sleeves are often your best bet for protection against whatever you encounter.

  • Sturdy shoes are a must. Terrain can be uneven in a cemetery, so make sure your shoes are good for walking on gravel, in the grass, and on any other surface.

  • Bring a damp cloth and a plastic brush in case the headstones need cleaning. Don’t use any cleaning products or even things like baby powder or shaving cream because they can damage older stones. Instead, just use a plastic brush and a damp cloth. Another valuable tool is a small paintbrush, which will help you brush dirt from delicate surfaces without causing any harm.

If you believe a loved one is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, we’re happy to have you look around. We’ve been here since 1907, and our property is the chosen final resting place for many notable former residents of Tucson. What’s more, our beautifully maintained property makes it easy to find what you seek. If you’re interested in learning more about Evergreen Mortuary, Cemetery & Crematory, we’d love to have you come to visit. Call (520) 257-4831 or pop by to take a look.