Project: Cemeterist

Categories: Cemeterist Project

Cemeteries are among the most valuable of historic resources. They can serve as reminders of various settlement patterns, or they can reveal information about historic events, religions, lifestyles, and genealogy. Unfortunately, these cemeteries do not necessarily remain permanent reminders of our ancestors and past since they are subject to long-term deterioration, neglect, development activities and construction projects, and even vandalism and theft. Through membership in the Cemeterist Project, volunteers are pledging to aid in the preservation of the world's cemeteries - serving as guardians of our history and heritage - by furthering the project's mission and goals.

Mission & Goals

The Cemeterist Project is a functional project that exists to bring together those who are actively creating and/or updating profiles of our deceased ancestors using original photos, research, and reliable sources. There are many style and policy reasons for our community and the Cemeterist Project to want to present original biographies, images, and content, and not copied data (images, text, relationships, etc.) from other websites such as FindAGrave, BillionGraves,, or Original content is the type of data and information (e.g. biographies, images, research, etc.) that we create ourselves, using completely original elements. There can be no other original story or third-party oversight.[1]

"Writing our own content necessitates reviewing the facts, and this gives an opportunity to look for errors and inconsistencies that have not been found before. Copy/pasting material can rob us of the opportunity for an additional review of the facts. Tying back to credibility, when material is copy/pasted en masse, it gives the impression that it has not been checked against other sources, whether it has or not."

- Rob Ton [2]

While some may try to compare this initiative to Find A Grave, it is important to understand the key differences of each undertaking. Find A Grave's mission is to find, record and present final disposition information as a virtual cemetery experience.[3] This virtual cemetery experience tends to focus more on the cemeteries themselves, rather than the accuracy of the individual profiles contained within them.

The Cemeterist Project on the other hand takes this a major step forward, by striving to further WikiTree's overall mission to grow an accurate single family tree that connects us all and is freely available to us all, by creating high-quality sourced profiles and rebuilding families and their stories through biographies and relationships. Simply put, Cemeterists highlight the person, not just where they are interred.

How to Join

Are you interested in the Cemeterist Project?cemeteries.gif

After answering the G2G post to join the project, how about joining us on the official WikiTree Discord Server? Stop by the 'wikitree-verification' channel and follow the instructions to be verified, and then head on over to the cemeteries channel!


In order to meet WikiTree's global mission and the goals of this project, the majority of our members are expected to partake in a series of tasks in their local areas, including (but not limited to):
  1. photographing tombstones, markers, monuments, and memorials;
  2. transcribing the data contained within these photographs to ancestor profiles, while also ensuring that all duplicates are merged to the lowest number;
  3. honor our ancestors by creating biographies that conform to the WikiTree Style Guide (ask the Profile Improvement Project for help if needed), and are connected to the main WikiTree family tree (ask the Connectors Project for help if needed);
  4. finding and adding additional reliable sources for the profiles we create or edit (e.g., Birth, Marriage, and Death Records; Census Records;);
  5. identifying and grouping these profiles through the use of relevant cemetery and regional categories; and
  6. documenting the history of cemeteries through the use of free-space pages.
Since we realize that not all members can perform all of these functions from start to finish, the project also offers additional ways to be involved and support the project, through:
If you have your camera in hand and are ready to start working your local cemeteries, or would like more information on the Data operations, please 'Answer' the G2G welcome post linked in the How to Join section above.
Or if you would like to display your affiliate status proudly on your own profile, please use the {{Member|Cemeterist Affiliate}} template.


  1. "Definition & Meaning 'Original Content'". 2019.
  2. Rob Ton, “Should wikitree have a policy on copying public domain text?”, WikiTree G2G message board, 11 Oct 2014 [Accessed 28 May 2019]
  3. Find a Grave. n.d. What is Find a Grave?. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 10 February 2021].

This page was last modified 11:35, 17 August 2021. This page has been accessed 17,264 times.