Deane Merrill, email@example.com
September 2005 (revised April 2010)
article published in Mt. Massaemet Shadows, Summer/Fall 2001, Vol.23, No.2, Pg.5
(quarterly journal of the Shelburne Historical Society )
note: the article published in Mt. Massaemet Shadows stated that the number of cards in Doris Wheeler's file is 8,000. A more accurate estimate is 12,000.
The Shelburne Historical Society has received a generous gift from Doris Wheeler, consisting of inscriptions from gravestones in Arms Cemetery. The data are recorded on two-sided 3"x5" index cards - about 12,000 of them - essentially, one for every person buried in the Cemetery or mentioned in a gravestone inscription. The cards are sorted by family name, and each card contains a code which is keyed to a map location. Thus, a visitor to the Shelburne Historical Society Library can easily locate the burial location of any person buried in Arms Cemetery. With this addition, the Society now has complete gravestone records for all the cemeteries in Shelburne.
map of Arms Cemetery
GIF format (144 KB)
PDF format (78 KB)
Doris began copying the gravestone inscriptions in November 1989. Except for additions and corrections (which are ongoing) that task was completed during the summer of 1990. Then, Doris went on to research additional data sources which provide genealogical links among family members, including persons not buried in Arms Cemetery. These additional sources include birth, death and marriage records (in town reports and at the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association Library in Deerfield); and obituaries from the Greenfield Recorder-Gazette (at the Greenfield Public Library). The 12,000 index cards also contain this additional information. Thus, one can frequently obtain, for example, the maiden name of a married woman or an exact date of death, when this information does not appear on a gravestone.
As is well known, genealogical data are frequently incorrect, due to conflicting data sources, unjustified assumptions, and uncritical copying of unverified sources. Doris has meticulously followed two cardinal rules: to copy data exactly as found (even if incorrect); and to cite the source of all information. Doris is the first to admit that her work may contain errors; nevertheless, genealogists are certain to be impressed by the quantity and quality of effort that went into this unique resource. The Shelburne Historical Society is indeed fortunate to be able to provide this information to its members and visitors.
Indexes and File Locations of Arms Cemetery Records (12,000 cards, August 2002, incomplete)
Tombstone Inscriptions in Arms Cemetery (600 pages, version of August 2000, complete)
Shelburne Historical Society (April 2010)
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