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Research Ideas

This page provides a list of research ideas that might be helpful for finding additional pictures and information in the StonePics database. A thorough search has not been completed unless these techniques have been considered:
  1. While viewing headstones photos, the default index lists them alphabetically. At the top of the alphabetic list is a link for to "SORT INDEX NUMERICALLY". This organizes the list of photos numerically according to the photo sequence numbers. This is the same order that the pictures were made in as the photographer moved up and down the rows in the cemetery. By viewing photos in this order, you can determine what other stones were photographed immediately before and after one that is importance to your research. For example, you might find a married daughter buried next to her parents, but would need to read that headstone to realize her maiden name was one of interest. Before linking from the alphabetic listing to the numeric listing, be sure to note the photo sequence number of interest so it can be easily located in the numeric listing.

  2. Although not fully implemented, an effort was made during the transcription process to include a woman's maiden name if it was available. Inclusion of maiden names in the database provides the capability to search for a married women even when her married surname is unknown. Use the DIG utility to search for them.

  3. If a surname of interest is not particularly common in Newfoundland, try searching only for that surname. It might be found in a number of records as a maiden name. Give particular attention to any appearing in the same vicinity your family lived.

  4. If you have a surname from Newfoundland to research, but no idea what community the individual was from, you can begin your research by doing a search only on that surname. Using the DIG utility look at the CD numbers and cemetery/town codes associated with all people with that surname. If you can identify an area where there exists a concentration of this name, you have a high likelihood of determining their origin. Find the location of the earliest records based on year of death. Check photographs of the early stones to determine the age of persons in the oldest records at their time of death. A pattern should begin to emerge. Families migrating to Newfoundland often settled in one area, then fanned out as time passed. Next go to the appropriate church records to look for a birth record of the individual of unknown origin.

  5. Suppose you want to determine the location of the town in Europe from which your family immigrated to Newfoundland. First try to determine where your family first settled in Newfoundland using techniques describe in the previous paragraph. Look at photos of headstones from the oldest records to see if any mention their origin. If the community/cemetery is small, check all headstones for this information. People often came to the same small community in Newfoundland from the same location in Europe. Once you have the name of one or more possible origins, do an internet search to see if you can get some hits. For example, do a Google search using: "Abbott genealogy Liverpool".

  6. When a cemetery of interest is fairly small, browse through every photo. Often there is text on other headstones that might provide addition information relative to your own research.

  7. Suppose you are fairly certain that your person of interest was buried in Newfoundland and had a headstone, but you cannot find their name listed in the database. Their surname might have been incorrectly transcribed into the database. Also it is possible that their name was not readable on the headstone, perhaps due to damage, obstructions, or some problem with the way the photograph was made. (For a detailed list of reasons a name might be missing from the database, click here). If you know what community or CD you would expect to find them in, use the DIG utility to search for all records of persons with the same first name. Then use DIG to generate a list of people with the surname "UNKNOWN" for the area of interest. If the town/cemetery is small, look at photos of every stone to search for the missing one. If you find an error in the database, please report it on the form provided.

  8. Suppose you find a headstone for your g-grandfather, but not one for his wife. Check the church burial records for that cemetery to determine if the missing person was actually buried in that cemetery. Sometimes when the second spouse died, no additional stone was purchased and no additional inscription was added to an existing stone. It might be that the missing spouse is actually buried on either side of the marked grave. Look carefully at the photographs of the existing stone, sort the photos numerically, and try to determine if there is enough unmarked plot space on either side of the known stone to account for the grave of the missing person. The "-View" photographs taken in the cemetery may also be helpful.

  9. If there is some information you cannot read well enough in a photo, you might consider making a visit to the cemetery to examine the headstone yourself. Even in small cemeteries it can be very difficult to locate a particular headstone. Before traveling to the cemetery it is important to make some detailed notes about the location of the stone of interest. Sort the photographs numerically so you can determine what other stones are near it. Especially when the cemetery is large, look for a nearby stone that stands out with some unique and easily recognized features. Look for visual clues in the background of the adjacent photos (chain link fence, trees, building, road) to help you orient yourself once you arrive at the cemetery. Consider printing out a photo of the stone to take with you. Perhaps no more than five of the largest cemeteries in Newfoundland have a staffed office at the cemetery, so you likely will be searching for the grave all by yourself.

  10. For small communities consider using DIG to generate a list of all persons buried in a particular cemetery or community. Visually search the entire list for unexpected names of interest.

  11. Consider the possibility that the person you are searching for was not known by the same given name you expect to find: Bob versus Robert, Jimmy versus James, or perhaps a middle name or nickname. Customize your search using the DIG utility to find other possible names. Look for clues on other headstones with the same surname.

  12. In some cemeteries in Newfoundland there exist several different spellings of the same surname. Many people new to Newfoundland genealogy research initially discount the possibility of their surname having a different spelling saying, "Our family spelled it this way!". Well often the family didn't have much control over how the stonemason carved the name on the stone. If your surname of interest begins with "LO", then consider using the DIG utility to generate a list of one occurrence (using the "1" option) of all surnames beginning with those two letters. Review the list visually for any surnames that "sound" similar. Then go to the photographs and check them out for clues.

  13. For your communities of interest, consider looking at every photo labeled "View" and "Vicinity". You might get lucky and find some interesting treasures.

  14. Use the StonePics resources in conjunction with church burial records and government death records known as "Vital Statistics". Finding the location and date of death of an individual in the StonePics database first may make it much easier to subsequently locate a Vital Statistics record containing an additional cache of research clues.