Friday, October 19, 2007

Unsung heroes transcribe records

I think that the real unsung heroes of genealogy are those people that transcribe books, tombstones, wills, deeds, and other records and then post them for researchers to freely use.

One of my favorite "unsung heroes" is Janice Farnsworth who regularly posts book transcriptions on the GenMassachusetts mailing list on

Recently, Janice has been working through the Tombstone Inscriptions of the Old Burying Ground in Lynn (MA), by John T. Moulton, Lynn, Massachusetts. The transcriptions are online in several mailing list threads:

** Part 3 --
** Part 4 --
** Part 6 --
** Parts 7 to 28 (to date) --

I couldn't find Parts 1, 2 and 5 on the mailing list archives.

Part 28 is up to page 80 in the book. The inscriptions from the 18th and 19th century are often poignant and hopeful, to wit:

** On page 27:

"My widowed mother,
My only earthly friend
Erected this monument
To tell each traveller,
Who looks this way,
That underneath this stone
Rests the ashes of her only son,
Josiah Burrage, who died Dec. 13th, 1797.
Aged 21 years.
Oft do we see the tender bud of hope,
Opening its beauties to the morning light,
When lo! A frost cuts down the tender plant,
And levels all our prospects with the dust."

** Page 28:

"Here lyes buried the body of the Honorable John Burrill,Esq.
who died December 10th Anno Christi, MDCCXXI AEtatisLXIV.
Alas! Our patron's dead! The Country - Court
The Church in tears, all echo the report;
Grieved that no piety, no mastering sense,
No counsel, gravity, no eloquence,
No generous temper, gravitating to
Those honors, which they did upon him throw,
Could stay his fate, or their dear Burrill save
From a contagious sickness and the grave.
The adjacent towns this loss reluctant share:
But widowed Lynn sustains the greatest share:
Yet joys in being guardian of his dust
Until the resurrection of the Just."

** Page 52 - the saddest are the ones for small children:

"In Memory of two children of Samuel J. & Lydia A. Gibby.
Ann, died June 27, 1843, AEt. 11 mos. & 14 days.
Martha Ann, died March 17, 1847, AEt. 11 mos. & five days.
Such was thy fate, dear little ones, Thy opening much,
Pre-eminence in early bloom was shown, And loved too much,
Heaven saw, and early marked them for its own."

Janice has transcribed many, many books and provided them online - they are now on USGenWeb county and town web pages. I can't find a complete list of them anywhere. Maybe Janice will tell us sometime.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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