The Digital Cemetery
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JoCoHistory The Digital Cemetery

About the Digital Cemetery Project

The purpose of The Digital Cemetery Project website is to provide access to vital information contained in Johnson County, Kansas cemeteries. By visiting and documenting cemeteries in person we aim to preserve an accurate and comprehensive picture of local graves for purposes of historical and genealogical research. Topics of information include the following:

  • Names: A fully searchable and browsable index of surnames across all cemeteries.
  • Gravestones: Names, birth and death dates, military service and photographs of almost every stone in the database.
  • Cemeteries: Address, GPS coordinates, cemetery map and contact information where applicable
  • Plots: Precise location of each grave, wherever possible.

History

In 2005 Linda Lewis, a genealogist and IT professional based in Johnson County, Kansas, launched “The Digital Cemetery,” a website focused on sharing genealogical information contained in area cemeteries. The heart of the site was the gravestone data, provided in an easily searchable and browsable format. What began as project of personal interest quickly garnered attention from all over the country and grew in scope to meet rising demand from local historians and genealogists.

The process of documenting cemeteries was painstaking, manual, and time consuming. Lewis recruited a few volunteers to help photograph gravestones and transcribe vital information. As The Digital Cemetery developed, she sought out local historical societies and institutions in an effort to secure funding, volunteer help and administrative assistance. Hosted from her home, site performance began to suffer. In 2007 she began negotiations to donate her work to the Johnson County Library, which had just launched its JoCoHistory web project in partnership with several local historical organizations.

In 2009, the Library received a Heritage Trust Fund grant from the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners to facilitate moving the site to its technical environment and to fund Lewis’ completion of cemetery transcriptions. While she still works on the project, maintenance of the site is handled by the staff of the Library. As a JoCoHistory partner, The Digital Cemetery is also promoted and supported as a Library initiative and remains freely accessible to all.