LAWRENCE, Kan. - A graveyard is not the first place you would think of going to find innovation at work.
But in Lawrence, Kan., the city has started something in the cemeteries that is definitely 21st century.
Among the graveyards you'll find Jo Ann Williams documenting the graves to keep them from becoming lost.
As a volunteer photographer for findagrave.com and a member of Daughters of the American Revolution , she has become a familiar figure at Douglas County cemeteries, gathering information about those who are buried there.
"It doesn't matter if they're my friends ... they're somebody's," she said.
So when the city wanted to upgrade the graveyard records, they contacted her for help.
"We started working on a website program to have it where people can get direct access to our records," explained Mitch Young, Lawrence Park District 3 Supervisor.
With the help of Williams and some intern labor, they've managed to get thousands of burial records from the city's three municipal cemeteries online for anyone to access in a little more than a year.
"It can actually pinpoint exactly where at in the cemetery somebody is buried," Williams said.
Additional information like who purchased the plot and actual burial dates should prove exciting for genealogists, and the program will save time and money for the city.
"We have gotten some good feedback, some positive feedback from it. Had a few things brought to our attention already that we can make it an easier, more user-friendly website," Young said.
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