Get in the Halloween Spirit and Do Some Cemetery Research

Gravestone in Cambridge’s Old Burying Ground, courtesy of Ajna Photography.

Cambridge’s spookiest cemetery is by far the Old Burying Ground in Harvard Square, nestled between First Parish and Christ Church.  Set aside from the Common, the land was marked as a cemetery before 1635.  Prior to that Cantabrigians buried their dead, “beyond the Common Pales,” or outside the fence erected between what we now refer to as the corner of Mt. Auburn and Linden Street all the way to East Cambridge.  The Old Burying Ground’s eerie charm comes from both the grisly Puritan tombstone art and its apparent neglect, which has as long a tradition as the city records go back.

Stop by the Old Burying Ground for inspiration or try these free online cemetery resources:

1. Epitaphs from the Old Burying Ground in Cambridge (1845) by William T. Harris available on Google books.

2. – Lists 34 million graves.

3. Cemetery and Tombstone Transcription – a search engine for free cemetery transcription websites.

4. – free online library of burial records from thousands of cemeteries around the world.

5. Tombstone Transcription Project – Volunteers have transcribed thousands of cemeteries’ tombstone inscriptions.  You, too, can volunteer.


1 thought on “Get in the Halloween Spirit and Do Some Cemetery Research

  1. Mom

    Although I have no family connections …so far… to Cambridge, I really enjoy the photos, writing and especially the “go-to” list for resources. Thanks for sharing such inspiring and very cool “stuff.”



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