Finding a particular gravesite can be difficult. Not only do memories fade, but cemeteries change. New markers and gravesites are added, landscapes shift, roads disappear, and whole new areas are added. So where can you go for help? Until recently, finding help locating a gravesite in the old section of the Prospect Hill Cemetery (Gloversville) was particularly difficult because the Cemetery Association records were kept in a house on Kingsboro Avenue, Gloversville which burned in the early 1900’s. But help is on the way.
The Gloversville Public Library approached Senator Hugh Farley with a request to underwrite the efforts of Mr. Davis Bixby, a Broadalbin resident, to disseminate his record of over 155,000 tombstones in cemeteries in Fulton County. The $2,500 grant will facilitate the dissemination of Bixby’s indexes by providing funding for supplies such as binders, ink, and paper.
Bixby began in Broadalbin recording Providence cemetery where his son is buried. Because he had a friend buried in Union Hill cemetery, he decided to “do a few on that side” as well. That was fourteen years ago.
To complete the record of gravesites in Saratoga County, Bixby merged his findings with records completed in 1878 by Cornelius Emerson Durkee which he found in the Saratoga Library. He included Durkee’s record of any stone that he could no longer find. The Saratoga index, housed with the Saratoga County historian, stretches over four feet. The master index of these records is stored in the Gloversville Public Library as well. It includes the 17 townships and the city of Saratoga which alone has over 20,000 stones. Bixby spent over $5,000 of his own money simply on the cost of commuting the 345 days it took to complete the records for Saratoga County.
Most days of late, Bixby can be found in the Prospect Hill Cemetery videotaping each stone. His method is both to film and to describe each stone. He completed 70+ tapes of the new and old sections. He will then transcribe the data into his computer this winter. The grant funding will provide binders containing both the old and new sections for the Gloversville and Johnstown public libraries, the Gloversville City archives, the Fulton County Historian and the Fulton County Museum.
The records are grouped by cemetery and organized alphabetically by last name on the tombstone. Each entry includes the transcription on the stone and its location.
Binders for the cemeteries in the city of Johnstown, towns of Broadalbin, Mayfield, and Northampton are available for public use at the Gloversville Public Library. The Johnstown Public Library and Johnstown City Historian also have binders with the cemeteries in Johnstown.
After completing Prospect Hill Cemetery, Mr. Bixby intends to add Gloversville’s Jewish cemetery and Revolutionary War cemetery before widening his research to include the entire Town of Johnstown.