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District offers cemetery search and investigation presentation

A cemetery search and investigation might seem too ominous for some, but not for the Plainfield Public Library District.

For those who were interested, the opportunity to meet a Genealogist came to fruition at the library.

Tina Beaird, Reference Librarian and Genealogist, discussed suggestions and tips finding that elusive ancestor's burial place and the types of information that may be found.

"I've been teaching these classes for a little over 15 years now," Beaird said. "Whether it's somebody interested in searching for their Plainfield ancestors, or whether they live in Plainfield and are searching for their ancestors somewhere else, I basically answer all of the questions and inform them on what they need to understand."

The points illustrated to either find out or have more information on how to access ancestors were bulleted in a few points.

History of cemeteries, types of cemeteries, significance of symbols, pandemics and epidemics, disasters, types of records, online resources and books were all topic points Beaird discussed, in what she said is a very broad subject.

"It's really a huge overview of the burial process and how cemeteries have evolved over the years," Beaird said. "Whoever will have ancestor's about my ancestor's death is what people want to know, and that's what is provided."

On a governmental level, a death certificate from the county, a burial transfer from a township cemetery, a commercial level such as funeral home records were all ways that were talked about with the audience to retrieve those records.

With questions that came up about the differences between public and private cemeteries, why someone should be interested in searching for ancestors and what are some of the tools used for Genealogist during an investigation, Beaird showed enthusiasm and knowledge with the subject.

Beaird covered the main differences between a public and private cemetery by illustrating that city, country and township cemeteries are all public and that records are open to the public as well as them being available digitally.

Private cemeteries are family owned lots as property and were responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the lots.

"Obviously a lot of differences between public and private cemeteries but I feel it's good for people to really know for those who care," Beaird said.

Answering the following question about why someone should care about their ancestor's records was something Beaird explained to the crowd is subjective.

Whether it is to find out a nationality, more about one's heritage, or wanting to know more about that person, were all explained to the crowd of more than 20 people.

The presentation ended with online sources and books that are available for those who are interested in searching for their ancestor's, but not before a list of a tool kit from a genealogist.

A camera, notebook and pencil, wisk broom, gardener's gloves, towel, water, mirror, chalk, wax paper, serrated knife, and extra batteries were just some of the items Beaird listed as essentials for someone in the field.

Beaird also added for those who were not able to make the presentation, she said that it happens every year and is available for those who are interested.

"There's always new people coming to the presentation," Beaird said. "We offer this class every year to bring those new people in and to get that opportunity they might of not had before."


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