Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Using BillionGraves to find the graves for Memorial Day

My wife's family has always had the tradition of putting flowers on the grave markers of their nearer relatives on Memorial Day. In fact, it was locally called Decoration Day. They also take the time to tidy up the gravesite and clean away grass and such around the marker. Since we have now moved to Provo, Utah, we had the opportunity to participate with others in the family at the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

The Salt Lake City Cemetery is on the side of the mountain, just north of the downtown area of the city. It commands a dramatic view of the Salt Lake Valley and on this May day, there were clouds threatening rain and some wind. The Cemetery is rather large and has just over 121,000 burials. Even though Monday is the official day, many of the local people pay their respects on the days before to avoid the crowds. Yes, there are crowds and minor traffic jams at the Cemetery.

I probably have dozens, if not hundreds, of relatives buried in the Cemetery of my own and we did take the time to visit my grandparents graves as well as that of one of my Great-grandmothers while visiting the graves of my wife's parents and other close relatives.

There is one major challenge in the Cemetery. The streets are set up just like a town with names and addresses for the blocks, but we always have a tendency to get lost since everything looks pretty much the same. This time, we we able to drive or walk directly to the graves using the GPS on my iPhone and's App.

All I had to do was search for the name of the relative and then tap on the link to the map showing the location of the grave marker. The program was exceptionally accurate and once I got used to moving the right direction, I walked directly to the grave. It was that simple. This happened despite the fact that the rest of those in our group were spread out all over the area claiming to be near the graves. They all finally realized that the program actually worked and subsequent searches were much shorter.

In the past, we have relied on waiting in line to get a paper map from the sexton's office, which we always seem to forget or lose by the next trip to the Cemetery. Using the BillionGraves App was a great improvement over tramping around in the mud and wet grass from the recent rains.

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