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Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society

How to Use This Book

Our main objective in this book is to publish a comprehensive collection of gravestone inscriptions. We believe we have found them all and have read them accurately. A second purpose is to publish cemetery and mortuary records. For these we make no claims about completeness. We have included some valuable records of this type, but we believe there are others in existence. A reader who fails to find a relative in our book can be sure there is no gravestone for him, but he can't be sure there is no burial. There may be additional information available from local cemetery managers or funeral directors.

We have tried to record every bit of genealogical information on the gravestones in these cemeteries. This has led us in the presentation of the data to a slightly more complicated format than that used in less conservative cemetery transcriptions. Specifically, we have preserved in our record the grouping of the stones, the grouping of names on the stones, and the exact wording of the inscriptions on the stones. Details of our method are explained below.

The gravestone survey part of our book is presented in two formats: a description of the graves listed by location, and a list of the decedents indexed by name. All names in all parts of the book are included in one master index.

In the location listing, we give a complete transcription of the information on each gravestone. The only exception is that we omit stock phrases such as "Gone but not forgotten." Even there, when the inscription is in a foreign language, we give every word, not trusting our ability to recognize stock phrases.

In the location listing, we give the surname first, then the given names, then any dates on the stone, then any other information such as place of birth or military service. The dates are usually given as date of birth (hyphen) date of death. However, the dates inscribed on the stone are often the date of death and the age at death; we reproduce that form with the abbreviations y=year, m=month, d=day. There are no calculated dates given in this book. When the inscription is in a foreign language, we give the dates in English, but then under "other information," give the untranslated version verbatim. We transform all dates into standard form: Mmm dd yyyy. For example, if the stone reads, "born in Vermont on the 22nd day of October 1867, died January third 1912," our listing would read, "Oct 22 1867-Jan 3 1912", with "born in Vermont" given under "other information."

A special problem arises when the stone has only one date, without "born" or "died" added. It can usually be assumed that the date is the death date. However, some stones are engraved during the life of the person memorialized; only the birth date appears, with the death date to be added later. We give the inscription verbatim, without adding "born" or "died" if they do not actually appear.

This paragraph applies only to the printed version of our cemetery book. Gravesites are keyed to a map for each cemetery. The map precedes the location listing. On the map and in the location listing, location is specified by Section and Row. Within the row, the graves are listed and described in order, from one end of the row to the other. The starting end is always the end next to the central road - in each of these three cemeteries there is only one central road.

We have recorded every gravestone having an inscription, even those that read just "Mother," or those inscribed with nothing more than initials. Often these small stones are footstones marking the actual location of a grave within a plot, while a larger stone gives the full names of all decedents in the plot. However, there are examples of stones with initials that do not match any other names in the plot.

Burials are commonly grouped by families in plots, crypts or mausoleums. All crypts and mausoleums in our three cemeteries are clearly labeled with a family name, but that is not the case with plots, which are burial areas surrounded by a low concrete fence. It is obvious that some plots were once labeled with an inscribed slab, now missing. Others may never have had a family label. When the plot has a family name, say "Smith", on the fence, we list it as "Smith Plot". If there is an unlabeled fence, we write simply "Plot". If the fence is unlabeled, and if all of the surnames in the plot are the same, we often omit the call-out "Plot," because its purpose is to show apparent kinship groupings, and that purpose is served by the juxtaposition of identical surnames in the list.

We have indented the listing of all burials in a plot, crypt or mausoleum to make it clear which graves belong to the grouping. Everyone in such a grouping is probably related by blood or by marriage. However, for plots, caution should be used - it is not always clear where one plot ends and another starts. It is also possible that two unrelated families may be sharing the same plot - there is no way to tell just by reading the gravestones, and we have not tried. It is also true that an unfenced area may in fact be an unfenced "plot" with several burials from the same family close together. We did not usually try to identify such unfenced plots, but have noted some that are obvious.

Frequently within a plot there are stones without surnames. The implied surname is the surname label on the plot. Our listings in this case give the implied surname in parentheses. Implied surnames are indexed just like those actually inscribed on the stones. The parentheses are omitted in the index.

A more certain indication of kinship is the grouping of names on a stone. We use the name stone to mean any kind of grave marker, whether it is upright or level with the ground, and whether it is made of stone, bronze, or any other material. A very common type of gravestone has a surname in large letters at the top or bottom, and two or more given names, with or without surnames, elsewhere on the stone. Using Smith as the example again, we write for this case "Smith stone" and indent the names that appear on the stone. If only given names are inscribed, we put the implied surname in parentheses, as "(Smith) Mary 1902-1988". If the surname is explicit, we write "Smith Mary 1902-1988". By making this distinction, our listings can more faithfully record what is actually inscribed on the stone. Implied surnames are included in the index, but without the parentheses.

There are many multiple-name stones without the surname "headlines." In this case, we write simply "stone" and indent the names that appear on the stone.

When a multiple-name stone appears within a plot, the names are doubly indented.

There are many stones, often large and elaborate, with a surname and nothing else. We have called these monuments.

Of course, many gravestones are for a single decedent and carry a single name. If these stones are not inside of a plot, we simply record the listing without indentation.

We have enclosed transcribers' comments in square brackets. We have inserted "[sic]" after names or words that appear to be misspelled, but that are actually transcribed accurately.

In the name index, we give an alphabetical listing of all surnames, keyed to the page number of the full entry. All names in the entire book are covered in one index. We have also tried to index all hidden surnames, that is, surnames that appear as middle names. For example, Margaret Green Vierra is indexed under both Green and Vierra. Surnames that appear on a plot, crypt, monument, mausoleum or multiple-name stone are also indexed, unless the index entry would be redundant.

There have been two previous published inventories of Dublin Cemetery, one in 1935 by the DAR, and one in 1976 by Jean B. Fallows. There was also a DAR inventory of Pleasanton Memorial Gardens Cemetery in 1935. We have carefully compared our transcription (called "new") with the previous ones (called "old") and have made note of the differences in the following way:

When the old books contain gravestones not in our new transcription, we have reprinted the old listing in full, and included the name in our index. This has happened because gravestones have disappeared over the years through vandalism and other causes.

When the old and new transcriptions disagreed, we went back to the cemetery to reread the inscription and correct our reading if necessary.

Some gravestones that are now partly illegible were apparently legible during the old inventories. In these cases we have accepted the old reading and have noted this fact in the "other information" section of our listing.

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17 Apr 2009, 15:51:02

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