Sunday, November 20, 2005

CONNECTICUT WPA EFFORTS - Headstone Inscriptions

From: Dunkhart@aol.com
DearMYRTLE,
In Connecticut the WPA performed an invaluable service for genealogists by reading and recording almost all tombstones up to the year 1934. Of course by now many of these [tombstones] are illegible. I don't know if any other states had this service. In Connecticut the record in the state library among other places, is called the "Hale Collection."

DearDUNK,
Funny you should mention the CT tombstone readings through 1934 as a project of the WPA (Works Progress Administration.) Just yesterday I was at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, looking up the results of the effort for a friend with ancestors who lived in Bethlehem, Connecticut. Below is a copy of the report I am sending with the photocopies, as an example of how to report your findings to a distant cousin when doing research for him/her.
Please note the [ ] square brackets are my comments.

I dare not fax this report to my friend, as the result will prove even less readable on the receiving end. I'll send this out priority snail mail in the morning.

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THIS IS WHAT I WAS REQUESTED TO FIND & PHOTOCOPY:
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-- 974.61/B2/V3h Headstone Inscriptions Bethlehem. Bishop, Susannah, wife of Daniel died Jan 5, 1795, age 40

-- 974.61/B2/V3h Headstone Inscriptions Bethlehem. Cemetery Transcription from Burial Ground next to Bishop house: Daniel Bishop died 7 Jan 1813 age 66

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THIS IS WHAT I FOUND 19 Nov 2005
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HEADSTONE INSCRIPTIONS of Bethlehem, Conn.
FACILITY: Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah
CALL #: US/CAN Books 974.61/B2 V3h
The book is a thin volume and was created and bound from a photocopy of the typescript that is barely legible, but is somewhat decipherable. The resulting photocopies are simply terrible, despite working with several photocopy machines and employing the assistance of the copy room staff. Copies are indicated below. Of necessity, I've transcribed each page as well, except for the map. The title page explains the origin of the work:

"This list of inscriptions, Town of Bethlehem, was copied Nov 1934 under the auspices of the F.E.R.A. and the W.P.A. sponsored by the Connecticut State Library, was compiled under the supervision of Charles R. Hale, State Military Necrologist, assisted by Miss Mary H, Sabin, Secretary.
Hartford, Connecticut, December 1937."

-- TITLE PAGE (with publication date of Dec 1937)
-- * NO COPYRIGHT PAGE
-- INDEX (showing only all "Bishop" entries)
-- LIST OF CEMETERIES (page 62)
-- PHOTOCOPIES of pp 16, 21, 22 & 47 (Bishop entries)
-- TRANSCRIPT OF EACH BISHOP ENTRY
-- MAP INDICATING LOCATION OF CEMETERIES (P 63)


CEMETERY & LOCATION
1. Old - 1/4 mile north of center
2. Carmel Hill - West dies of town
3. Bethlehem - 1/2 mile south of center
4. Private - Northwest part of town on land of Leonard Bross

[Transcript of pages 16, 21 & 22 not included in this column]

ITEM: Headstone Inscriptions, IBID (Private Cemetery, Bethlehem, Conn. copied by David Davis, Date Oct 22, 1934)
PAGE: 47
LINE: 1-3
Bishop, Daniel, died Jan. 7, 1818 [or possibly 1813], age 63 [or possibly 66].
Bishop, Susannah, wife of Daniel, died Jan 5, 1795, age 49 [or possibly 40].
Bishop, Irene, died Jan 9, 1826, age 33.

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RECOMMENDATION FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
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Since the book form of the photocopies I viewed at the FHL is stamped "Bethlehem Public Library, Bethlehem, Conn." I recommend that the original typescript be consulted, by contacting the library. Perhaps a copy closer to the original can be more readily deciphered.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
6023 26th Street West PMB 352
Bradenton, FL 34207
http://www.DearMYRTLE.com

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