In today’s world of instant information and technology that is available for everyone, sites such as YouTube have become part of our everyday online toolbox. Since 2005, YouTube has been providing free videos on a wide variety of subjects. But, have you ever thought of using it for genealogy?
Beyond spooky “Haunted Ohio” videos, family history researchers are able to find wonderful video tours of cemeteries around the state of Ohio available for free on YouTube. The video, “Pioneer Cemetery – Belmont County, Ohio” is a wonderful example of the type of video that can be helpful. Its creator takes us on a guided tour of the graves of Revolutionary War soldiers buried within the cemetery gates. While many videos give a visual tour of the general area, some such as this give you a closer look at the inscriptions on each marker. Don’t limit yourself or your search terms to just the name of specific cemeteries. Also look for videos that share tips on recording information, educate you on the care and conservation of headstones, or highlight the efforts of groups trying to conserve and protect our local cemeteries.
While many of us photograph area landmarks and cemetery headstones the use of video is also a useful tool to consider. Videos such as these can help the out-of-state researcher get a glimpse of an area not easily accessible to them. Consider filming your local cemetery for others to enjoy. Be sure to check with the cemetery office before beginning a project such as this so that you are aware of any rules and regulations that may be in place.
Consider Your Source
As with other research, you must remain vigilant and analyze the information that you are viewing. Consider your sources carefully, and document and cite all of your references completely. A video tour of a cemetery does not replace locating your own records or visiting it yourself, but it can add richness to your research that may not be present with two dimensional photographs alone.
This article originally appeared as part of my Columbus Genealogy Examiner column on Examiner.com on 6 December 2011.
© 2013, Stephanie Pitcher Fishman. All rights reserved.