The Cazenovia, Fenner, and Nelson (Madison County, NY) cemetery project (part 1: rationale for the project) The cemeteries of the towns of Cazenovia, Fenner, and Nelson are important sources of information, not just for genealogists, but the cemeteries themselves provide information on the people who created and used them. Instead of being just another source of family information for genealogists, the cemeteries of the three towns are being examined for spatial data such as how they came to be and why they are no longer used, how and why they are located within the communities that surround them, and how they reflect the beliefs of those that created them. The data base that is being built for this study, includes an all new transcription of over 10,00o tombstones, analysis of church, family, and community records to find notices of other deaths that are not accounted for by tombstones, census records to help define the families that are buried in the cemeteries, historic maps to find where the families lived in relationship to the cemeteries, and the cemeteries them selves are being measured and mapped to determine the internal spoatial characteristics that will help define family boundaries, orientation patterns, and burial methods. The "Data Base of Death" that is being generated from the tombstone transcriptions and community, church, and family records can be used to study many social, cultural, and physical venues including seasonality of death, mortality rates, popularity of names, and family structure. This is a no-dig historical archaeology project but the information is very valuable to archaeologists who examine threatened cemeteries.
Tombstone Carvers of Cortland County, NY Due to the space required for the illustrations this is still posted at the Binghamton address - if the link gets broken, please tell me! This is a very preliminary and summary account of some of the findings of an extensive research project to study the tombstone carvers whose stones are found in the early 19th century burying grounds of southern Central New York. My research focuses exclusively on the locally procured and carved shale and sandstone grave markers and the identification of the artisans who carved them. A cluster of carvers have been identified in the Town of Virgil, Cortland Co., NY and it appears that they all trained under one man, Caleb Whiting Jr., and later worked under a master carver, Asa Joiner, before going on to their own businesses. In some instances the following generations carried on the trade, but eventually adapted to carving marble which entirely replaced the native stone by about 1850.