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Town updating cemetery records

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With the help of cataloguing software, the Town of Fort Frances is making it easier to better serve people making inquiries about local cemeteries and those buried there.

Starting last winter, town staff began using the software, which enables them to take all their paper records of the deceased and input them into a computer database, Sherin Hagen of the Operations and Facilities division noted last week.

This filing has continued since then, added Hagen.

By now, documentation for those interred in Riverview Cemetery has been entered into the database, though work on inputting the records for Fort Frances Cemetery only recently has begun.

The new system is beneficial because it keeps the all of information about the deceased in a computer program that also is capable of displaying digital maps of the cemeteries.

So if relatives or friends make an inquiry about someone interred in a local cemetery, the program allows the cemeteries department to find information on the deceased faster than they currently can having to go through paperwork, Hagen explained.

While the public can—and does—make such inquiries regularly, this new system will better help those people, whether they’re looking for a particular gravesite or perhaps interested in genealogical information, she added.

The data inputted so far has been text-based (basically, the current paper records converted into a digital format). But Hagen noted the software being used also allows the town to include photos of grave markers and even flower displays, along with the rest of the documentation specific to the deceased.

This would allow Hagen to e-mail these images to those making inquires.

These images, however, will take “some time” to add to the system, she stressed.

Hagen has been inputting the records of the locally interred whenever she gets a chance (it is one of several jobs she does within the Operations and Facilities division). As well, a summer student spent their time inputting records into the new cemetery software.

That said, Hagen estimated it may take until the end of the next summer until all of the town’s paper records of the deceased interred in Fort Frances Cemetery are added to the database.

The cemeteries department will continue to fill out and keep paperwork for any new interments, lot sales, and orders for special care, but also will now file that information into the new database.

Anyone wanting to make inquiries to the cemeteries department can drop by the Public Works office on Fifth Street West at Wright Avenue or call Hagen at 274-5373.

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