I've been spending alot of time in graveyards of late. Which sounds odd if you're not a family historian, but which suits me to a tee. It also reminds me of some useful things that can be found there:
- Several times I've discovered a county of birth on an ancestor's stone, the Irish were especially fond of doing this.
- I've found the correct spelling of names. Sometimes the handwriting of census takers left a whole lot to be desired, not to mention their spelling skills. I hear there was often some cronyism going on with regards to who was appointed census taker, and it wasn't necessarily the most educated person in town.
- Names of spouses are often spelled out--literally
- Of course dates are on stones, but are not always correct. The birth date is particularly suspect, but even the date of death can be off if the family erected the stone at a later date, like after they had saved enough money to do so.
- If it's a Catholic or other denominational cemetery, the persons in it are probably of that religion. But not always. I have several relatives buried with spouses of different persuasions.
- Observing who was buried in the same plot can be very informative. I know there is a connection between Darby Hogan and my 3rd great grandfather Cornelius Ryan, since he and several family members are buried with Darby; and I will find it!
- This last one will require you to find the records of the cemetery. Worth it because sometimes those records will contain a cause of death.