June 6, 2020

Old Lyme HS Seeks Volunteers to Assist in Creating Map of Duck River Cemetery Graves, July 24

Can you help? Graves in the Victorian section of Duck River Cemetery in Old Lyme need recording to create a digital record of them for reference purposes.

Updated 7/9/2019: One of the most frequent requests the Old Lyme Historical Society (OLHS) receives is for information about a person’s ancestor and their gravesite. While on the face of it, it may appear to be a simple task, in many cases, this is not the case since there are many graves in Old Lyme, which are undocumented.

Therefore, in order to be able to respond to queries from all of the communities served, the OLHS has undertaken the task of creating a digital record of gravesites in Old Lyme cemeteries. No overall survey of the gravesites has been undertaken since the work of the WPA in the 1930s. Gravestones deteriorate with time and so the intent is to gather as much information as possible from the present for the benefit of those who follow.

Thanks to the volunteer efforts of Old Lyme resident and University of Connecticut history major, James Kolb, the OLHS is well on its way to completing the task at Duck River Cemetery. Kolb is creating a GIS database linking the information on each grave to its precise geographic location. While Kolb has done a herculean task over the past 18 months, the OLHS would now like to supplement his efforts by completing the “Victorian” section of the cemetery, which contains at least 800 gravesites.

In order to move this project forward, the OLHS is looking for volunteers to record all possible information about the individual gravesites in this section. The dates and times assigned for this effort are from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on each of the following days:

  • Saturday, July 13
  • Friday, July 19
  • Wednesday, July 24

All you need to bring is a clipboard, pen or pencil, and a block of your time on the dates listed above. The usual preparations for working on any July day such as water, maybe a snack, a folding chair (break time!), insect spray, sunscreen, and a hat are recommended. The OLHS will supply the organizational tools to assist you and accomplish this community activity as efficiently as possible.

To respond to this request and/or to request more information, email info@oldlymehistorical.org with “Cemetery Project” in the Subject line. Be sure to include your name, email, home phone and/or cell phone and choice of date(s) for volunteering. The OLHS will confirm by email and answer any questions.

Individuals and any youth organizations are welcome to volunteer.

More information on this project will be provided to volunteers on the days of the event, which the OLHS is calling the “Duck River Cemetery Hunt.”

Save the date, Aug. 21, for Kolb’s presentation of this project at the OLHS facilities at 55 Lyme Street, when he will also talk about the larger implications of this type of research.


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