We are excited to announce that we launched a Graveyard Photographic Project in February 2020 to capture a snapshot of our local history.

The aim of this new initiative is to photograph every headstone in every graveyard throughout Dumfries and Galloway, or what was known as the counties of Dumfriesshire, Kirkcudbrightshire and Wigtownshire. Whilst this is a huge task it will be less onerous the more volunteers that get involved. In addition to cameras, nowadays a great many people have Smartphones that take very good photographs and many also record the GPS location. Complete graveyards have been photographed in anything for 30 mins to 5 hours. We need your help. If you wish to volunteer please get in touch, contact details are at the foot of this page.

Background

There are 233 Burial Grounds, Cemeteries and Graveyards throughout Dumfries and Galloway. A single location may have multiple graveyards being an Old Parish Churchyard, a New Cemetery and a “Modern” Cemetery or a Cemetery Extension.

For many of these we hold Memorial Inscription booklets however it takes so long to manually transcribe the stones in a cemetery and people don’t have the time to spend months or years(!) to visit cemeteries, transcribe them, then type up the memorials.

Every year headstones deteriorate further and even now many are unreadable.

Rationale

Testing has proved that graveyards can be photographed in between 30 minutes to 5 hours, depending on size. Also, we are able to read 90/95% of these inscriptions using a computer.

Many people now have access to a decent camera with the development of Smartphones and these can also record the GPS location enabling us to find a grave again. This makes it easier to return to stones we have not been able to read to try to manually transcribe them.

The Graveyard Photographic Project will be available to researchers at our Family History Centre where they can view the photographs without travelling around the area and without needing to worry about weather conditions.

In the future these photos can be used to create or update our Memorial Inscription booklets.

How can you help?

We are trying to create a snapshot of our Local History and we hope you will want to be part of it.

We are seeking people willing to spend only a few hours to photograph nearby graveyards. If you want to do more that would be great.

The coordinator of this project is Council Member, Terry Brown. We hope many people will volunteer to assist us with this project and if you wish to do so, or if you have any questions, please contact Terry at photostudy@dgfhs.org.uk or write to him c/o The Research Centre, 9 Glasgow Street, Dumfries DG2 9AF.

This is a massive task, but with help from many of the individuals interested in Family History throughout our area we can create this wonderful archive.

This page will be updated to show our progress.

Currently we have completed 25 Cemeteries, being 11%.

Thank you,
Terry Brown
26 March 2020