Cemetery & Obituary Project Named One of 2022’s Outstanding Teams

Since 2003, the Washington State Genealogical Society has recognized over 600 outstanding volunteers and teams, nominated by their local society or genealogical organization for their service and dedication. These volunteers are the backbone of their local society, giving their time and expertise, to the organization and the field of genealogy. In the coming months, you will be introduced to each of the 2022 award recipients and learn why they received the 2022 WSGS Outstanding Volunteer and Team Award.

Today we’re introducing the Cemetery and Obituary Project that was nominated by the Mason County Genealogical Society (MCGS).  The team was comprised of Susie Graham, Elizebeth Lawson, Albert Conklin, Roger Newman, Barbara Moore (posthumous), Stan Graham and Sue Sheldon.

During 2017-18, Susie Graham led the Cemetery and Obituary project team that researched over 7,000 obituaries published in the Mason County Journal from 1915 on and identified where these people were buried. She organized the project and recruited volunteers who read each obituary and sorted them by according to the more than 360 cemeteries they were buried in; or if a cemetery wasn’t mentioned, they looked for which of over 150 funeral homes was used. If neither cemetery nor funeral home was mentioned, the researchers went online, looking for relevant information. One team member, Elizebeth Lawson, deserves special mention for creating an invaluable spreadsheet used to track the data. Currently, the 7,000+ obituaries and 11,000+ headstone photos resulting from this work are published online in Archive-in-a-Box, free to the public.

For more information on the WSGS Outstanding Volunteer Award program, visit the Recognition page of the WSGS website or contact Info@wasgs.org. Please type “Volunteer Award”