In 2010, Doyle Glaze II started the CemeteryRegistry.US project. This let him link his two passions — technology and genealogy — to create a unique tool to assist others in locating where their family members were laid to rest.
CemeteryRegistry.US strives to be the most complete and accurate free list of cemeteries in the United States. Each listing includes date of establishment, affiliation, type of access, contact information for the cemetery (including its website), as well as additional resources such as lists of transcriptions, photographs, and video.
Shortly after starting this project, Doyle was diagnosed with cancer. He found cemetery hunting to be great therapy for dealing with the emotional, physical, and medical aspects of cancer. He says, “It was, and still is, very motivating for me to continue moving forward with my life, including this project. I’ve spent a lot of evenings and weekends doing research and cemetery hunting with the support of my wife Barbara. Without her, I would not be here and this project would not be where it is today.”
Cemetery Travel: Why should people care about cemeteries?
Doyle Glaze II: Everyone, deep inside, has the fear of being forgotten. The cemetery is the last place for a person to say, “I was someone. Someone cared about me.”
Cemetery Travel: What sparked your interest in cemeteries in the first place?
Doyle Glaze II: Doing my own genealogy. I wanted to get photos of my ancestors’ headstones. When looking for the cemeteries where they’re buried, I was unable to find where they were located or how to get there. The more I looked, the more disappointed I was. Even if there was some information, a lot of it was incorrect. I discovered the need for a registry of cemeteries with as much correct information as possible to help people locate a cemetery.
Cemetery Travel: So that inspired you to start CemeteryRegistry.us?
Doyle Glaze II: I wanted to help people in their searches to find someone that has passed. I know there are websites that have lists of people buried in cemeteries, but if you can’t find the cemetery, then what is the use of knowing that?
Cemetery Travel: What do most people use CemeteryRegistry for?
Doyle Glaze II: The site is for those who know of the general location of a cemetery, or possibly even its name, but need help finding its exact location and directions to it. It also has additional information that can help with verifying where a person is laid to rest. We try to provide more contact information for the cemetery, so people can contact the cemetery to locate their loved ones.
Cemetery Travel: People who like cemeteries often feel isolated or strange. Do you have any advice for someone just getting interested in cemeteries?
Doyle Glaze II: It is funny that you asked this. When I first started cemetery hunting, I felt very strange walking through graveyards: not because of the dead people, but because of what others would think when they saw me. I kept telling myself that I was doing it for a good cause. It took some time for me to get over it. So my advice would be: Don’t let others decide for you what you like or dislike.
Cemetery Travel: What’s your favorite cemetery in the world?
Doyle Glaze II: This is a hard question. When cemetery hunting, I find a lot of interesting cemeteries. My favorite changes. That said, my favorite cemetery in the world would have to be the Hanging Coffins of Sagada in the Philippines. I would love to visit it one day, to see firsthand the care and time that it took to bury family members like this.
Cemetery Travel: Do you have a favorite tombstone?
Doyle Glaze II: Yes, Francis Howell’s monument at the Francis Howell Cemetery in Saint Charles County, Missouri. When I started verifying the locations of cemeteries, this was one of the first cemeteries I visited. I like checking out gravesites, just to take in the history that is all around. Francis Howell had a very big impact with education in the area I live. Looking at his grave, knowing that just a few feet from me was a person who influenced my education, gave me a feeling of awe. You hear about very important people and never get a chance to meet them, but here was someone important. I was visiting him. I have seen many more influential people after this one, but the awe never felt as strong as that first time.
Cemetery Travel: What’s one thing people can do to ensure the survival of their favorite cemetery?
Doyle Glaze II: You can help by registering the cemetery and its location. If history is not documented, it is forgotten. If the location of a cemetery is not written down, it becomes lost.
Please help us document cemeteries, so they will not become lost. Help us help others find the history they are seeking. You can share a cemetery by going to our site and giving as much information as you can. We are working on an Android app that will make it easier to do this while you’re out hunting cemeteries.
Find A Cemetery, a Facebook group dedicated to collecting cemetery aficionados and genealogists to answer questions about their local cemeteries
Cemetery Citings, a daily web digest combining cemeteries and genealogy
Keep up on CemeteryRegistry.us updates by following on Twitter
Gravestone Imaging’s YouTube channel