Here are a just a few general comments about this website and what we're trying to accomplish with it.
Obviously, for a cemetery the size of Immaculate Conception, this is a large undertaking, particularly as I do not live in the area. Visits to the cemetery are few and far between. Hopefully the information, though, as it becomes available will prove to be of use for those interested in the local history and genealogical studies for the Mauch Chunk area.
At this point, I've roughly divided the cemetery into 4 sections, with section 1 being on the far western side and section 4 being on the far eastern side. Drives through the cemetery logically break the cemetery up in this fashion and it seems more manageable to transcribe going section by section. I chose to start in section 1 - both the smallest and oldest section - just to get going ... I've recorded all but 10 or so stones at the far south end of section 1 (as the land begins to slope away. Photographs have been taken of some of this stones as well - see listing. Section 2, much larger than section 1, but still containing many earlier burials, will be next.
Section 1 seems to include the most early burials (by percentage) - at least as a general observation. Statistics after the cemetery is fully cataloged may prove different, though. Nearly all the families buried in Section 1 are Irish - mainly from County Donegal. In fact, the parish of Tullaghobegley is by far the most often mentioned place of residence prior to the United States. This parish is on the most northwesterly coast of County Donegal and includes the town of Gortahork. Other counties mentioned on stones include counties Mayo, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford and Down.
A good number of the stones in Section 1 are damaged - several not legible (in poor light). There are techniques (chalk dust, for one) that can be used to bring out eroded letters, but I've not done anything like this to this point - I'll be asking permission from the parish church first. It is important, though, that as much as possible be deciphered from these stones before further damage is done.
In addition, Colleen O'Byrne has generously contributed a large number of listings from around the cemetery. Her transcriptions are terrific - including all inscriptions on the given tombstone as opposed to just the basic information that I've been collecting. Colleen's efforts are greatly appreciated!!
I'm very interested in user feedback, so, if you have suggestions about how this site might be better organized or other things that might be eventually added, please pass them along. And, if you're willing to help with the website (anything from transcribing/cataloging gravestones to HTML), please let me know!
Now for the thanks - thanks to my wife, Judy, for enduring chilly/windy mornings out in the cemetery, for the map and for the great photos and for listening to my incessant ramblings about this or that family. By the way, photographing several spots in the cemetery can be particularly challenging as the lighting often doesn't want to cooperate. Thanks to my friends Jack Sterling and Ed Mulligan for their tremendous help and enlightening conversations - and their endurance of my excessive, and often repetitive, questioning about Mauch Chunk local history and family connections.
Now, on to the cemetery ...