Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tech Tuesday: Godfrey Scholar+ Connecticut Cemetery Database

  The Godfrey Memorial Library is updating Connecticut's classic Hale Collection. From the 1910s through the 1930s, Charles R. Hale ran a project transcribing Connecticut's cemeteries. (You can read more about it here.) While local cemetery managers and historical societies have made new transcriptions - sometimes with images - of their own cemetery, there has been no statewide update until now. Ed Laput and other Godfrey volunteers have spent the last few years giving new life to an old collection.
   I received an update on their project from the Godfrey's email list a few days ago and decided to check it out. To access the database, you'll need to have a subscription to Godfrey Scholar+. Rates vary depending on which package you choose. Once you have registered, click on "Scholar+" under "Memberships" and log in. You'll then click "Search our Databases." On the next screen, click "Cemeteries." On the following page, it's "Ed Laput Cemetery Project." Once there, you can search by as much information as you know.
   I entered one of my family names (which happens to be very common in Connecticut.) Once the search results came up, I clicked on one of my ancestors. This brought me a page for the cemetery where they were buried. If I clicked on their name, I was provided with an image of their gravestone.
   Technologically, is this a great advance? No. The website functions like most cemetery listings and perhaps has a few more steps than it needs.
   Where will it be helpful? If you have a lot of family from Connecticut. Find A Grave is far from complete, and many gravestones have been lost since the Hale Collection. Who knows - with the other databases in the subscription, you may even save money. 

2 comments:

  1. I believe that you are missing the point in some ways. The Ed Laput Project is photographically preserving a piece of history. The old headstones are rapidly deteriorating.

    In addition, the current index is searchable where it's not in other places AND tens of thousands of people have been added to the cemeteries since Hale did his survey. Also, if you look closely at some of the new entries, you'll also see that information has been added (exact death dates, spouses, where they were born or died) that is not on the stones.

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  2. Gene,
    Thanks for your comments. I definitely agree with you about the advantages of the content. My only concern was that I found the pages a little difficult to navigate. I needed to go through five or six pages to see what I needed to see. Getting what I would love requires a lot of money, which I know is a limitation. Frankly, I think the project is wonderful - and a great money saver.

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