Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Ed Laput Cemetery Reaches a Major Milestone!

The Ed Laput Cemetery Project has eclipsed the 900 mark! Ed and his merry volunteer band of brothers and sisters have finished photographing and indexing 35 cemeteries in just the last two months. Recent additions include the first cemeteries we’ve cataloged in Willington, Stafford, Tolland, and Ellington.

“I started this project with the idea that this was going to be a local thing for where I live in Colchester and the surrounding towns,” says Ed Laput. “It has certainly turned out to be more than that, and now it is something that I am passionate about.”

The database now includes over 260,000 photos and 325,000 names. What’s even more exciting is the recent addition of over 100 headstones that were not recorded in the Charles Hale Index in the 1930s.

We have also just finished the cemeteries in Old Saybrook, adding Junction and Riverside. Godfrey Board member Charlie Beebe is currently photographing Duck River Cemetery in Old Lyme, one of just two cemeteries left in that town. Board member Bruce Tyler is photographing Rose Hill, the final cemetery to be completed in Rocky Hill.

Coming soon will be several large cemeteries with thousands of new names, including Pine Grove Cemetery in Middletown, Elm Grove Cemetery in Mystic, New Wapping Cemetery in South Windsor, and St. Michael’s Cemetery in Stonington. Photographs of all four have been completed and volunteers are currently working on the database for each one.

“The larger cemeteries take months of work after the pictures are taken,” says Gene Gumbs, one of the project’s volunteers. “We use the Hale Collection as our starting point and then add all the headstones installed since the 1930s. In addition, Ed and I like to go the extra mile and do the research to try and find the exact birth and death dates for anyone who died after 1949, using the Connecticut and Social Security Death Indexes. This takes extra time, but it is something that sets our collection apart and will be useful for many years to come for anyone tracing their family history.”

The Godfrey Scholar gives anyone complete access to the collection, as well as dozens of other genealogical databases, and it is growing daily. It is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to trace their family roots.

If you’d like to get involved with the project we need people who can type information into spreadsheets, rename digital photos, and help us find the abandoned and remote burial grounds throughout the state. If you know of an old cemetery that we have not photographed yet and want to help us out with the location, please give the library a call. If you love history and mystery this is the volunteer project for you!

-Gene Gumbs

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