One of Montgomery's greatest historic landmarks.
What if we could search it by name, date or other recorded information?
Or view it's interment records, graves and monuments?
Or geomap it's 36,000 graves?
Are you looking for an outdoor tech savvy project? How about field surveying historic old Oakwood Cemetery using your smart phone camera, a geolocation app and base map to refine the records of actual grave locations? This can be more challenging than it sounds with GPS off by 10-35 feet and/or having to drop a pin on a plot where 3 others may reside. You may have to do a rubbing to read the weathered headstone to figure out who is where. If you like history, getting outdoors and puzzles, check out the base map at
https://citymgm.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=c9a3e0b8bc914b8eb9eeb198593b8cf0 and let us know if you want to be involved using the contact form below.
School/Activity Group/Organization Leaders and Organizers: this can be a great activity for community service or education for your group. This activity could be the basis for a merit badge or community service program. We are Looking for TEAM TRAINERS too, so get your kids and grandkids involved and help us keep gravesites alive for the next 200 years.
Call for Volunteers
This massive project started in 2013 with MCHS Chairman James Fuller and volunteers, Shara and Judia Green, working with Oakwood Cemetery Manager Philip Taunton to enter the interment card data for 38,076 gravesites into a database.
Starting in November of 2019, MCHS partnered with the City of Montgomery, which generously provided ArcGIS Geomapping and database expertise and server space to create a online base map/database. Out of the 38,076 gravesite records collected in the original MCHS database, only 7,810 are located correctly, partly due to multiple graves sometimes found in one plot, and partly due to the GPS margin of error of 10-35 feet.
To correct the locations, and allow additional gravesites to be added, the City of Montgomery created an ARCGIS mapping/data collection app to collect and geolocate grave data onsite at the cemetery. Because of the large amount of gravesites/records involved, this project will require volunteers to complete.
MCHS is currently looking for volunteers who will be trained to pinpoint, photograph and confirm those records so that future generations can trace and trust their family histories as recorded by its residents for 200 years.
In 2020, the Alabama Historic Commission grant to focus on launching the Oakwood Cemetery project continued the effort which will draw genealogists, historians, and other tourists to Montgomery in the future. MCHS met with City IT Manager Savio Dias and GIS Analyst Nida Jackson to discuss the possibility of the City providing GIS geotagging capability for the project, since Oakwood is owned and maintained by the City of Montgomery. They generously agreed, and the teamwork began.
To facilitate such a massive undertaking, MCHS has adopted a virtual learning approach for those interested in helping to document and preserve such important history. By going to the website www.mchsal.org/Oakwood, developed by MCHS IT Consultant, Doug Simms, volunteers can both sign up to conduct the survey and access an “ArcGIS Collector App Training” document. This easy-to-follow tutorial, developed by MCHS volunteers and avid genealogists, Maj. Kris Kripchak (USAF, Ret. and Learning Designer) and his wife, Kay Wolff Kripchak [Certified Coach], provides step-by-step guidance on how to use the app and collect data. The hope is that with motivated volunteers and a “train-the-trainer” approach, anyone who wants to contribute to the effort can do so as they are guided by the tutorial and others. The project approach will be adaptable for use by other Montgomery cemetery groups.
2013 – Project initiation by MCHS
2019 – Interment card data collection completed
November 2019 – Partnership with the City of Montgomery
August 2020 – City of Montgomery completes database and ARCGIS map, adds smartphone app for further data collection
Spring 2021 – Data collection team formation initiated
April 2021 – Senior trainers identified and trained