Tips for MakingIt Easier to


Tara Fields

Return to Genealogy Home Page

From:  "Tara D. Fields" <>
Date:  26 Oct 2002, 11:35:25 AM
Subject:  Re: [GA-CEM] How to Survey a Cemetery

Hi there. I wanted to pass on some times I've learnedover the years.  I have been surveying cemeteries in 3 counties forabout 7 years or so.  I've marked down at least 10,000 graves so far.  I would very much like to share what I have learned.

Standard Abbreviations

I use "S.A." for Still Alive. That way visitorsknow that there is a stone out there, but the owner isn't dead yet (mostcommon when only one spouse is dead).

USA = United States Army
KIA = Killed In Action
USMC = United States Marine Corps
USCG = United States Coast Guard
USN = United States Navy
USAF = United States Air Force

m1, m2, etc = First Marriage, Second Marriage, etc.

Miscellaneous Tips

Surveying Bag Contents

My only "surveying" bag contains the following (I keepthis stuff in my trunk at all times in a good backpack):

01.  Bag of flour.
02.  Baby wipes (for cleaning up your hands!)
03.  Toilet paper for obvious reasons.
04.  Plenty of extra drinking water (bottleor canteen with a strap so I can carry it out of the way).
05.  Comfortable clothes with plenty of pockets.It's a pain to run back and forth to the car.
06.  Bug spray.
07.  Clipboard (if someone else has alreadydone a survey, you can print it out, carry it along, and make correctionsand additions to the original.  Done this way, you will make lessof your own mistakes).  My clipboard is the commercial type that opensup to hold extra paper, pens, etc.
08.  Hat (I am in southeast Georgia, afterall!) or ski cap for cold.
09.  First aid products such as band aids,small bottle of hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment, chapstick, stingrelief in case of bee or wasp stings, etc.--think through what you mightneed and add it to your kit.
10.  Poncho for drizzly or rainy weather.
11.  Cough drops/throat lozenges.
12.  Lunch kit--nutrition bars, trail mix,dried fruit, etc.--generally things that will keep.
In addition, my sturdy belt carries the following (my husbandcalls it my "Batman Utility Belt"):
1.  Cell phone for emergencies.
2.  Digital camera and extra batteries.
3.  Machete if working in the woods.
4.  GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) tool.
5.  Tape recorder and extra batteries/tapes.
6.  Small towel to wipe off sweat in hotweather!
7.  Gloves in the winter. If my hands arecold I can hardly read my own writing!
8.  Pepper spray in case of dog, bad guys,etc.
9.  Extra car key (lock yourself out onceand you'll never forget this one again!).
Seems like a lot, but it really doesn't add much weight. A good fanny pack can carry a lot of this stuff.

Survey Tips

Database Tips
  • I STRONGLY urge the use of a database to keep track of information. I use Microsoft Access.  If anyone wants a blank copy of this database(columns created, no data entered), I'd be happy to make it available.
  • Sorry for running my mouth (fingers). If some of this isn'tclear, feel free to ask me about it via the list or personally.

    Take care,

    Tara Fields

    The Crypt
    Free Genealogy and History of Camden and Charlton Counties,GA