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Messages from the Grave - Listening to Your Ancestor's Tombstone by Elissa Scalise Powell - Digital Download

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In order to find an ancestor's tombstone, the burial ground must first be found. Tips are given on how to find the different cemeteries depending on the time period, type (church or commercial), and economic condition of the deceased. Tombstones are the last monuments to our lives on this earth. In their shape and inscribed symbols, they can speak of the lifestyle of the deceased or the attitude of death of the loved ones left behind. They are being destroyed by many factors, which make them illegible or eradicate them altogether. Abandoned and "lost" cemeteries can be found through records and natural signs. Discussion includes ways to read "illegible" stones, which may be the last time a person may hear the tombstone "speak." This webinar illustrates these techniques and shows what problems are encountered in reading a variety of markers and what might be done to overcome them. Internet sources and resources are also discussed throughout the lecture.

This was presented to a live webinar audience on May 13, 2016. 1 hour 48 minutes, plus 4 pages of handouts.

The recording is also included as part of the
monthly or annual membership.

Viewers' comments:
  • a pretty thorough review of techniques for locating cemeteries, reading weathered stones, dos and don'ts of handling markers, and also of the iconography of stones that can reveal more than just the text.
  • An excellent overview of cemetery searching, symbols, great examples. Her handout was very helpful, as well.
  • Another great webinar!!! I have a To Do List of ideas that is getting too long! smile. Such great info. I have photos of gravesties and want to do more, and now I know how to get those photos into my Legacy file.
  • FYI - very meaningful information in after party.
  • Elisa had excellent ideas about in-depth cemetery research. Gave me ideas I hadn't thought about checking. Please don't wait 2 years before having her back as a presenter!! Geoff, you really should come to GRIP. It is a very exciting experience, both in the classroom and during the social times. Well organized and well run by enthusiastic people.
  • Excellent organized presentation, very professional, and at the same time, very user-friendly. Interesting visuals, great advice.
  • Excellent webinar with so much information, so well-organized and presented! Elissa Scalise Powell is one of genealogy's Rock Stars and this is evidence of why she is considered as such!
  • Great presentation and after party as usual! Thanks to you both!
  • Great webinar! Love that laugh of Elissa, too! Waiting to hear about the cow project. Thanks!
  • I have some work to do re checking my headstones, also now I know what some of the types of headstones are named and the symbols that are on them
  • I learned a lot about tomstones/headstones that I never knew. And gained some new websites to go look at..... The Webinars are great. I always look forward to them. Thanks.
  • I really liked finding out about some of the different symbols found on gravestones. Hadn't thought about those before.
  • Loved all the pictures. I learned a great deal and it will help me when I travel to Ohio this summer to find my great great grandfather's burial site.
  • Really, really nice presenter and very thorough !
  • She makes me want to get right out there and start checking out the cemeteries!
  • So sad to see some cemeteries fall to ruin. Hopefully, by educating people through presentations such as this webinar by Ms Powell, they will learn to care. Several of my ancestors have ended up in farmers' fields that has been plowed. That's truly...dust-to-dust! Thank you for the efforts to spread awareness.
  • Thank you for all the new genealogy suggestions! Enjoyed it very much!
  • The presenter was knowledgeable about her very interesting topic. Her presentation was well organized with relevant visuals. She communicated very clearly. It was very helpful.
  • TOPS My list of FAVORITES !!!
  • Very active chat box good info too.
  • Very Interesting and speaker was great. Geoff is a fun and wonderful host.
  • Very interesting. Particularly liked the mention of symbolism of stone shapes and types of art on stones. Also the Veteran's Administration list of religious symbols allowed was new to me. These webinars are a great service!
  • Wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!

About the author:

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, a western Pennsylvania researcher for over 25 years, is the co-director of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), and Professional Genealogy Course Coordinator at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University. She is an instructor for Boston University's Genealogical Research Certificate online program. She was the course co-coordinator of the AG/CG Preparation Course at the 2010 and 2013 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG). She is a regional and national speaker on such topics as Pennsylvania records, methodology, professional development, and society management. She was honored in May 2010 with the NGS President's Citation in recognition of outstanding, continuing, or unusual contributions to the field of genealogy. She was a Director for the Association of Professional Genealogists for six years; taught genealogy courses at the local community college for fourteen years; co-edited a cemetery book series and appeared on the PBS-TV show ANCESTORS2 cemetery episode. She was a Trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists for nine years, their President (2012-2014), and past Outreach Committee Chairperson. She is a past-President of two local Pittsburgh area societies and a contributing author to many publications including the APG Quarterly. An NSDAR member, she is also a lifetime member of the Ohio Genealogical Society; the Medina County Chapter, OGS; and the Baltzer Meyer Historical Society (Greensburg, PA) which was named for her ancestor.

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