Cemeteries have always fascinated me. On a trip to Boston when I was in college, I couldn’t walk by a graveyard without going in. I took so many pictures of tombstones of people both famous and non. (Somewhere I have a collection of tombstone pictures waiting to be uploaded to the net!)

Here in Colorado the tombstones are not quite as old as they are on the east coast. I still occasionally wander through the graveyards, reading the stones, wondering about the people and whether anyone out there still remembers them or pays a visit once in a while. When I was younger, I’d climb over the walls if I ran across an old cemetery to check it out. Sometimes the stones were vandalized and that always made me sad.

I discovered a website called “Ancestors At Rest”. The URL for this site is At first glance, it looks like a website from the 1990s and I wondered if it was actually still being updated. I’ve clicked on some of the links and found most of them are still valid. There are links to the Olive Tree Genealogy website and Facebook pages which are alive and well. I will be discussing the Olive Tree Genealogy website in a future post.

I was not able to find a Search box on this site, but I looked at some of the links available and what is posted on the site. There is also a Site Map at the bottom of the website which came in handy.

So, what types of records are there on this site? Coffin Plates. What is a coffin plate? I didn’t know. I learned from the site that “The history of Coffin Plates or casket plates is a long but not very well documented one. Coffin plates are decorative adornments attached to the coffin that contain free genealogical information like the name and death date of the deceased.” So why are these floating around and not buried in the ground? Apparently, they used to be attached to the coffin and buried (and some have been removed when graves have been relocated), but gradually people started to take them off before burial or even just display them on a stand next to the coffin. This website has a list of coffin plates that have been found, alphabetized by last name. I had to click on a coffin plate for a Sarah M. Martin. I found a picture of a beautiful plate with her birth and death dates – 1830 to 1866. The creator of the website, Brian L. Massey, has a personal collection of 500 of these.

There are links to Funeral Cards/Memorial Cards, a handful of Funeral Home records, some Family Bible records, and Obituaries. There are a few Death Certificates, Church Burial records, Wills, and a few Cenotaph Ontario records (war memorials). Of course there are cemetery records, but other surprising records such as naturalizations and censuses.

Of course I had to find out what Colorado records were there. I found “Search Free Death Records by Country” and the United States is organized by state. All of the cemetery listings were for Logan County. I’ve lived in this state for 50 years and I do not know where Logan County is – shame on me! It is in the NE part of the state and the county seat is Sterling. (I’ve been to Sterling several times.) I clicked on the link for the St. Petersburg Cemetery and found a good sized list compiled by a lady named Peggy.

There are links throughout this website for other sites that have free or paid genealogical info. This site is definitely worth looking into to see what is available for the area you are searching even though these are not extensive collections. There is a link to the Ancestors At Rest Blog but that has not been updated since 2017. On that blog is a bio of Brian L. Massey, the creator of the website.

Happy Hunting!

Sara Martin/Smart Canyon Genealogy

Image by ju-dit from Pixabay

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