Hi, I do a good deal of genealogy, and some volunteer photography for Findagrave.com. While newer cemetaries have plot maps and administrative offices, I've been finding that the oldest graveyards in my area (Massachusetts) often have little or nothing to help find grave plots and stones.

I'm thinking of mapping the stones in the Old Burial Ground in Arlington, Massachusetts because a) it's small and b) it's next to my church so I'm often there and c) I have a few cousins buried there. The point is to be able to find a grave, given a name (or partial name) and a graveyard -- and possibly, given a location in a cemetary, look up the grave (though that's often unknown in the oldest graveyards, if there's no legible stone).

I haven't turned up any discussion on the forum on how to do this -- just discussion of markers outside graveyards, and a little abortive discussion on war memorials. Is this a reasonable use of OSM? Is there a best way to do it? Would it be better to just use OSM data, but create a seperate map?

Just for reference, here's how the (vast) Mount Auburn cemetary has done it on Google Maps. Try searching on Longfellow between 1886 and 2013, and click on Alice Mary: http://www.mountauburn.org/map/

asked 08 Jul '13, 23:35

PatriciaJH's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


Cartinus's and SK53's answers are a good start, but I couldn't find docs or examples of tagging the actual name and birth/death/burial dates of the person(s) in the tomb (which is necessary for a mountauburn-like map).

Could only find a single instance of grave:name/birth/death/etc=* in taginfo, which looks good (except for graves with multiple people), but is as anecdotic as it gets. Any pointers to a more popular tagging scheme, or should we run along with that one ?

(09 Jul '13, 10:13) Vincent de P... ♦

@Vincent Click on the Tombs link in my answer. You'll find a link to the JOSM tomb plugin. Which uses a relation of type=person to store the name, data of birth, etc.

Note that I didn't invent this overly complex construction, somebody else did.

(09 Jul '13, 12:06) cartinus

@cartinus thanks, wouldn't have tought that I'd need to lookup a josm plugin to get information about a tagging schema. I've updated the wiki to make things more discoverable.

The person relation may seem a bit complicated, but it does solve problems with on-the-node tagging, and has significant usage numbers.

(09 Jul '13, 14:21) Vincent de P... ♦

There is a German wiki page about Friedhofmapping (graveyard mapping). It suggests tagging them as

  cemetery = grave
  + name = ...
  + wikipedia:subject = ...

That of course is based on the assumption that we only map graves of famous people where we can rely on Wikipedia or Wikidata to supply the birth/death dates, family relationships and so on.

permanent link

answered 09 Jul '13, 23:04

Tordanik's gravatar image

accept rate: 33%

There are a couple of answers to questions on this site which may be relevant:

permanent link

answered 09 Jul '13, 09:00

SK53's gravatar image

SK53 ♦
accept rate: 20%

It is certainly reasonable to put this data into Openstreetmap. Have a look at the tagging for tombs.

It is however unlikely that the graves will ever be displayed on the default map. This doesn't mean you (or somebody else) can't make a map or application that works similar as the Mount Auburn one, but with OSM data and tools. The person to build this might get some good ideas for how Overpass Turbo and some other related applications work

permanent link

answered 09 Jul '13, 00:19

cartinus's gravatar image

accept rate: 27%

edited 09 Jul '13, 00:19

Just so it doesn't get missed: see also the person relation to tag who is buried at a particular site.

(09 Jul '13, 14:22) Vincent de P... ♦
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question asked: 08 Jul '13, 23:35

question was seen: 2,853 times

last updated: 09 Jul '13, 23:04

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