The Problem with Cemeteries and GPS When Multiple Cemeteries Are Adjacent – July 12, 2019

When I first had the thought to do this post, I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. Then I had an Aha (or Eureka effect) moment. My eyes saw it, but missed it. However, my brain put 2 + 2 together and got 4. It was after I scheduled this post and riding my bike home when I realized the why. In posting about Military Antiques and Penry Museum, Petaluma, California – July 11, 2019, I researched where Richard A. Penry (Medal of Honor recipient) was buried. On Find-A-Grave, it’s not as obvious as it is on BillionGraves There are several other cemeteries very nearby. Photographing any of the graves too near one of the other cemeteries using the Find-A-Grave or BillionGraves apps may have the headstones show up in the wrong cemetery.

Note: this is a common issue in many locations. In one case, I saw where 6 cemeteries are all inside the same cemetery grounds. If you didn’t know it, you wouldn’t know which cemetery a person was buried in.

There are several sets of cemeteries in Wichita that are either next to each other or inside another cemetery. In one case, there is a Jewish cemetery that’s inside a non-Jewish cemetery and both are across the street from a third cemetery. This isn’t a problem if you are photographing headstones or are looking for a grave where you know where the person is buried. For the non-Jewish cemetery that surrounds the Jewish cemetery on two sides, the non-Jewish cemetery has some Jewish burials in it.

It is a problem if you are using an app from Find-A-Grave or BillionGraves as the apps can make the GPS appear in one of the other two cemeteries in my example above. The simple solution is to take photographs in each cemetery on different days, noting which cemetery you were in. BillionGraves will let you switch the image to the correct cemetery easily if you know you need to do this.

There is at least two more sets of cemeteries next to each other in Wichita that I am aware of. A different Jewish cemetery is next to a non-Jewish cemetery. The other set is actually almost a triple (it would be on Find-A-Grave) as one of the cemeteries has a mausoleum that Find-A-Grave has as a separate cemetery. In this case, the cemetery with the mausoleum now owns the other cemetery, but they have kept the records for the cemeteries apart. If that’s not bad enough, there is only a very small dividing wall (as in basically a wall that’s one brick tall) that marks the boundaries of the north cemetery and the south cemetery. If you don’t know it’s two different cemeteries or what the wall means, you may think it’s merely a dividing line between sections of the same cemetery.


About Wichita Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's
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