The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.Communications in the cemeteries??? No, I am not referring to communications devices for the “long term residents” of a cemetery. Instead, I'll write about communications for visitors to a cemetery. Namely, the genealogists who visit a cemetery looking for information about deceased relatives.
I generally try to visit a cemetery with a friend or two. We mentally "divide" the cemetery into sections, and then each person searches through his or her section alone. The other friends are doing the same in a different section. I have done this many times and suspect that you have, too. However, upon discovering a particular tombstone, you have to shout to the other person to make them aware of your discovery. In a large cemetery, the other person(s) may be some distance away, making shouting impractical.
The need for communications may vary. Of course, you want to notify your friends if you find a tombstone for one of their relatives. However, there are many more serious needs for instant communications. If someone steps into a gopher hole and twists an ankle, he or she may not be able to walk for help. In some areas of the country, snakebite is a serious concern. Finally, a simple request for bug repellent could be serious in some situations. Whatever the need, you want to have instant communications capabilities when you are in cemetery and are separated from your friends.
In fact, there is an easy solution, perhaps two or three solutions. For many cemeteries, each person simply carries a cell phone and you can call each other at any time. Indeed, if this works for you, I'd suggest you and your friends make sure you have your cell phones with you before visiting.
Cell phones don't work for my ancestors as nearly all of them are buried in rural cemeteries far outside the range of cell towers. Sometimes, I think they planned it that way! In one northern Maine hilltop cemetery where I have spent a lot of time, cell phones work well. However, if you drive down the hill to the next cemetery about a mile away, all cell phones display “no bars” indicating no useable signal.
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