It only takes a bit of sunshine and a warm breeze to lure us to head out to cemeteries, hoping to find an informative gravestone or grouping of markers that will allow us to make sense of the names and dates we’ve been busily compiling over the winter.
Whenever you go looking around a cemetery, be sure to wear good footwear and tread carefully, keeping in mind that the ground underfoot can be uneven year-round, not only during wet springtime. Always take a cellphone if you go alone, but it’s safer for many reasons to go with someone else.
Those in the know about cemeteries, and those wanting to learn more, will benefit from joining the Maine Old Cemetery Association, “Dedicated to the Preservation of Maine’s Neglected Cemeteries.”
Founded in 1968, the Maine Old Cemetery Association publishes an informative quarterly and holds three meetings a year. This year’s gatherings will take place May 17 in Starks, July 26 in Portland and Sept. 27 in St. George.
The 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, May will take place at the Starks Community Center, 57 Anson Road, Route 43. If you travel by GPS, the coordinates are -69.926 and 44.736. Admission is $3 at the door.
A 9:15 a.m. talk on “Our Town” will include a member of the Starks Historical Society, which is hosting the meeting.
Cheryl Willis Patten will speak on “Grave Matters in Starks: Cemeteries.” After, all are welcome to attend the 10:30 a.m. Maine Old Cemetery Association business meeting.
Lunch will be available at noon for $7. A choice of lasagna or veggie lasagna will be provided by Starks Enrichment and Education Society.
At 1 p.m., there will be a demonstration of “Ground Penetrating Radar Technology” at cemeteries close by.
To attend the May 17 meeting, notify Cheryl Willis Patten of your lunch choice by May 2 by email at email@example.com, or write her at 1161 East Pond Road, Smithfield, ME 04978. You may pay at the door for your lunch, but the Maine Old Cemetery Association does need your reservation and meal selection.
This Maine Old Cemetery Association meeting offers a great opportunity for genealogists from around the state to visit and learn about cemeteries and graveyards in Starks, Mercer, Farmington and other towns. Benjamin Young of Wiscasset, one of my Revolutionary War ancestors, is buried in Mercer.
The Maine Old Cemetery Association will sponsor a four-day gravestone preservation workshop 9 a.m.-3 p.m. May 30 through June 2, at Old North Parish Church Cemetery, Wiley’s Corner, St. George.
The workshop will be led by Joe Ferrannini, a professional gravestone conservator and owner of Grave Stone Matters in Hoosick Falls, N.Y. A similar workshop was held in 2011 with 50 people participating at Oxbow Cemetery in Norridgewock.
There is no set fee for the workshop, but donations are appreciated for each day of participation. Those attending must preregister by sending an email to Cheryl Patten at firstname.lastname@example.org, with ST. GEORGE in the subject line, visit http://rootsweb.ancestry.com/~memoca/moca.htm, or write Cheryl Patten at her mailing address listed above.
The Maine Old Cemetery Association website also offers information from Helen Shaw on the cemetery bill, LD 1662, regarding maintenance of veterans’ graves. For an amended copy of the bill, email Shaw at email@example.com.
Membership to Maine Old Cemetery Association is $5 a year, $20 for five years or $100 for a life membership sent to MOCA, PO Box 641, Augusta, ME 04332-0641.
The next meeting of the Penobscot County Genealogical Society will be 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 16, in the Lecture Hall on the third floor of Bangor Public Library, 145 Harlow St., Bangor. All are welcome to attend.
For information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at bangordailynews.com/browse/family-ties. Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.