Saturday, December 27, 2008

Military Markers for ALL Veteran Graves

Logan County has six known Revolutionary War veteran burials, more than two dozen War of 1812 veteran burials and a massive number of Civil War Veteran burials. There are even some Spanish American War veteran burials. Those are just the ones we are aware of. There could be more.

According to new laws of the Veterans Administration, ANY SOLDIER with proven military service can have a free military stone or marker EVEN IF THEY NOW HAVE A PRIVATE MARKER. In 2009 they anticipate having a marker that attaches to the private marker as an option. I couldn't locate a picture and don't know if that is on schedule.

This means Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish American War, etc. vets can have markers if the proper procedure is followed. There are special markers for some pre World War I wars like the Civil War. Confederate graves may also obtain markers.

Detailed information is available at

The form for the marker request is available online. It is not a snap but not terribly difficult either. Proof of service is required. "Service prior to World War I requires detailed documentation, e.g., muster rolls, extracts from State files, military or State organization where served, pension or land warrant, etc."

They want copies of the actual documents which prove service. Often these documents will come from the National Archives.

It appears you do not have to actually be a descendant to request the marker.
This might be a project for the local genealogical and historical societies and/or the Eagle Scouts, to mark all the graves. In a rural county it is not likely to be expensive if you already have copies of the records -- they may already be in local society files or available from a descendant.

Actual copies of Revolutionary War pension records are available at, a subscription service. They also have the Pennsylvania Archives free. Pennsylvania is a state which produced a lot of Revolutionary War vets. Some records are available through which may be free at your local library. There are other sources.

Many Revolutionary War veterans did not receive a pension but they may have used their benefits to buy land. I have not noticed a lot of that in Logan County but it is something to check. Those who bought land using their military benefit are noted in the record book in Springfield.

Both the State of Illinois and the National Archives have Civil War military records and initial land purchase records. The information the state has is online but it appears you will still need a copy of the federal record.

The person who is going to receive the marker, someone local to the area of the cemetery such as the genealogical or historical society, must sign the application. The cemetery must also sign off that they will allow the marker. Someone must pay to install the marker. Neither requirement is a big deal in rural areas like Logan County but could be major in metro areas.

I know in 2009 we are looking for Lincoln but I know where he is and his grave is already quite well marked. Pick a cemetery and mark the early veteran graves.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Most Useful Stone

This stone is not in south Logan County but rather in Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, Cook County, Illinois. These people immigrated from southern Italy to Chicago. Anna and Leonardo Mallano married in America. Cesare and Antonia Tristano were married in Italy. They came later. Anna Marie and Cesare were siblings.

It's not an unusual story. It's not that unusual a stone in Chicagoland.

In south Logan County you very rarely see a picture on a stone. When you do the story is generally tragic.

These four are my husband's grandparents. Anna died before he was born. He never saw the others looking so young. He never saw these pictures of his grandparents. The stone with pictures is the only view of his ancestors in their youth.

It makes me wish my ancestors' pictures had been placed on their stones to give a face to their history.

Photo by Kim Kasprzyk

Monday, November 10, 2008

Symbolism in Stones

Mt. Pulaski Cemetery is a cemetery which spans the nearly 175 year history of the central Illinois town. WTVP, the public television station in Peoria, Illinois, recently aired a piece filmed in the cemetery discussing the symbolism of various stones.

The video can be seen online at

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Logan County Cemetery Information

Cemeteries in Logan County that are not privately endowed or owned are maintained by the Logan County Cemetery District. The good citizens of Logan County pay taxes to take care of cemeteries that might otherwise be in dispair or lost. For the active cemeteries the cemetery district also keeps track of burials and they have any records that exist for the old cemeteries which are no longer in use. This does not mean the old cemeteries are maintained in pristine shape but it does mean they are at least mowed several times a year.

A list of the cemeteries in Logan County can be found here. Someone has walked the cemeteries in red in the last 10 years and those listings are here. In addition, in the 1960s and early 70s the Decatur Genealogical Society in neighboring Macon County walked many of the cemeteries and has listings available for sale in their publications found on their website which is here.

The Logan County Genealogical & Historical Society sells a CD which contains all the burials in Logan County through a few years ago. You can find more information on their website. That web site is in some transition but the main page should remain the same.

Friday, October 31, 2008

South Logan Cemetery Database

The most exciting thing going on in the cemeteries of South Logan County is the cemetery database which Jane DeWitt has been working on for years. She compiled it from a variety of sources, using the names from the tombstone transcriptions posted on the Logan County ILGenWeb site. There are nearly 10,000 names. If a person is buried in the area they are likely listed.

Jane used the county history books, an old coffin maker's records, the "Green Book," the records of the cemetery district and other sources in compiling the information. It contains burial information, including location of the stone when available, as well social information using information on the stone and the books and everything else available.

It was years in the making and is now in editing, a slow and painful process as we check information and attempt to make everything consistent. Yours truly is handling that in her "spare" time. It helps that I am related to a very large chunk of those listed. Members of the Logan County mailing list were given a sneak peek and several corrections and additions have come forth from that. Visitors to the Mt. Pulaski Historical Society may also get a peek. Jane may be using it to answer a question.

The project is currently in spreadsheet format. We would like to eventually convert that to something where one could search for, say, all the War of 1812 vets buried at Steenbergen. Suggestions are welcome!

Graveyard Rabbits

Graveyard Rabbits are a group of bloggers who promoting the historical importance of cemeteries and grave markers and the family history to be learned from a study of burial customs, burying grounds and tombstones. Each has a location. Mine are the cemeteries of south Logan County, Illinois, in the very heart of Illinois, where almost every one of my ancestors who has died in the last 175 years is buried.

This blog will be devoted exclusively to cemetery information. For other posts see Ancestor Hunting.