Update on Cemetery Stories Course

(Photo of Clyde River Pioneer Cemetery)

Since we launched the Cemetery Stories course at the beginning of November, it has grown in popularity. We originally were focused on Clyde River and area, but we received high interest from other communities and provinces and even from the US and England. We decided to open it up, and we now have 70 participants from across PEI, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, California, Alabama, Georgia, Vermont, Massachusetts and England.

We received coverage in The Guardian, on CBC Mainstreet and the CBC PEI website. The CBC coverage doubled our registration within a day. Here is a link to the CBC article. We also received attention from Canadian historians and professors and they shared information on our course on their social media pages.

Cemetery Stories is a self-directed course and it’s free. We provide the curriculum outline that includes suggested readings and activities. We change topic every two months. The course runs until August 2021. Participants choose the cemetery/ies and individuals to research. Each participant is encouraged to prepare brief biographies (approx. 200-500 words) of six people within the cemetery/ies they choose.

We promote collaboration among participants, as we highlight the family names that each is researching. Through these collaborations, you can share research tips/findings and feedback on biography development. Biographies could be of ancestors, friends or an individual whose headstone struck your interest. Questions are provided to assist in biography development.

We have a few registrants from Clyde River, and we welcome more to join in. There is always an option to create a local community study group that can work together. The biographies would become an important contribution to the history of our local cemeteries. They would introduce future generations to the people that helped to build the community they live in. Here is the study outline:

Study Plan:

  1. Understanding cemetery history and gravestone design (November- December 2020)
  2. Gathering family names, photos and obituaries (January-February 2021)
  3. Gathering family stories (March-April 2021)
  4. Understanding how old-time residents managed their health (May-June 2021)
  5. Individual free time to explore and organize your research findings (July 2021)
  6. Clyde River & Area Cemetery Tours (August 2021)

You can view the full curriculum document here. To register for the course, you can link here. If you have any specific questions, please contact Vivian Beer at clyderiverpei@eastlink.ca.