Final update for 2021. We have had a really busy year making improvements to the grounds. We have been repairing some memorials that had fallen over or broken in Section 1 and that is about finished. We were able to purchase a new sign with map that has been installed next to the chapel as well as new metal sectional signs across the entire property. We hope these additions will help people find their loved ones much easier than it has been in the past.
We also introduced a new Memorial Tree Program – Click HERE to learn more.
There will be a lot of winter clean-up going on this year to keep the grounds maintained and ready for the next Spring.
Our mapping project is about 35% done overall with Sections 4,6,7,8, & 9 being fully mapped now. We are getting the new map ready to publish here on the site where the current Burial Records page is located. We anticipate that over the Winter we should be able to get additional Sections completely mapped out as well.
In 2022, we look forward to being able to have our normal Memorial Day ceremonies as well as a revitalized Voices of the Past performance in the fall.
~ James Ashwill
Since the last update, we have many new and exciting things to share! I am staying busy in documenting everything for our GIS project. Also, I have built a new wooden surround for our trash cans and we will be painting and building one of these for each of our 6 trash cans that are on the grounds. These surrounds will help us to keep the trash cans in place as well as clean up the aesthetic overall look of the grounds.
Also, I am excited about our new signs project! We are working with Eberhart Signs to create new round sectional signs as well as a new 2-post main cemetery sign board where we will be featuring a map of the cemetery and other information. We hope this new signage will assist anyone who is looking for their loved ones gravesite to quickly and easily find them without having to search manually all over the grounds, which can be a very daunting task!
Unfortunately due to the remaining COVID-19 guidelines that are still in place in Illinois, we are unable to have our normal Memorial Day ceremonies as we are not allowed to have crowds of people on the grounds. We do hope that things will return to normal soon and we can resume these sorts of activities and re-start our Voices of the Past program that many of you have come to enjoy the past several years when were able to have this event.
The past couple of months we have spent many hours clearing old brush piles, cleaning up our woods and keeping up with the normal upkeep of Woodlawn. We have kept very busy and now have much of the old mess we have been cleaning up under control. There are still a couple of areas that need some cleanup and we will be taking care of those areas soon.
This winter we are going to work on renewing our Family Bench offerings and will have more info to come about that soon. We are also going to spruce up our trash cans this winter and make them much more aesthetically pleasing. I am also beginning a GIS project where I am going to be geocoding the entire cemetery down to each individual space. This will allow us to publish a map on our website showing exactly where someone us buried and show you information about that person and a photo of their gravestone and it will also allow us to easily show where lots are currently available without having to walk miles and miles all across Woodlawn. This GIS project is is going to take over for my previous documentation project that I have been working on and I think the finished results will be amazing!
If anyone would be interested in volunteering in any way with this GIS project or simply on any of the other millions of tasks we have here at Woodlawn, we would love to hear from you!
Also, we do hope that in 2021 we will be able to go back to having our Voices of the Past event where we are able to showcase some of our residents of Woodlawn and their accomplishments to our local area and our world!
We have many projects going on at Woodlawn behind the scenes. One of these projects is to map out and document each section to include every memorial stone and it’s details so their loved ones can easily find their final resting place.
We have over 5,000 people within Woodlawn Cemetery, and about 80% of them are documented. The goal of this project is to get to 100% full documentation by photograph and by record.
About 2 years ago I joined the Board as a volunteer member and began to try and simply photograph every memorial stone that I could and help to get everyone documented on the Find-a-Grave website. Through that effort, I think I GPS tagged and photographed the majority of the cemetery over that next years time. However, there were many stones that were too worn or too dirty from age staining to be able to read the names and dates on every stone. So, I have begun the project anew, this time beginning one section at a time. And Since this is a very daunting project, I decided to start with a smaller and newer section – Section 8. This Section is laid out nicely in rows and every stone is facing the same way, so it should make it an easy section to begin with. So, this summer I began simply photographing every memorial stone in Section 8 and then adding a Burial Record on our website for each person, updating the photo, dates, Section/Lot/Grave info, and the obituary if I am able to find it. I am just finishing up adding every Burial Record onto the website for Section 8. I have used our own burial cards as well as the maps and stones themselves to verify the locations and information presented.