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Shapleigh Family Association
Cemetery Restorations

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The Shapleigh Family Association Cemetery Restorations

The Shapleigh Family Association has been maintaining and restoring about 10 private Shapleigh cemeteries in Eliot and Kittery for 25 years. About a decade ago, Association President Ruth Shapleigh-Brown became very interested in cemetery restoration and formed a committee to continue the restoration of Shapleigh cemeteries in Southern Maine. The committee has spent hours repairing fence, making new entrances and gates, righting granite fence posts, leveling the land, removing weeds and broken branches, rebuilding walls and setting up fallen headstones. Ruth has prepared site documents, measuring and inventorying individual graves and their inscriptions and includes a cemetery report in our annual newsletter "The Shapleigh Chronicles". An association member also made signs for cemeteries in Eliot, Maine. Some of the cemeteries included, in Eliot, Kittery and Lebanon, Maine, are: Alexander Raitt Shapleigh, Fore Road, Eliot; Dependence Shapleigh, State Road, Eliot; James Shapleigh, Eliot; Col. John Shapleigh, Eliot; Dead Root and Branch - Sandy Hill Farm, Eliot; Moses Farmer, Eliot; Capt. Samuel Hanscom, Eliot; Dennis F. Shapleigh, Wilson Rd., Kittery; Lebanon Cemetery on Fall Road, Lebanon; Governor Hill Road (Capt. Elisha Shapleigh), Eliot.
Ruth Shapleigh-Brown, who resides in Connecticut, has been active in several preservation groups. She has been on the board for the Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS, an international organization which has held workshops on various topics such as restoration, documentation, rubbings and teaching - how to use cemeteries as a classroom) and a local Connecticut group, The Friends of Center Cemetery in East Hartford. In 1995 she founded The Connecticut Gravestone Network and is the Executive Director.
Ruth is very dedicated to graveyard preservation and wrote in one of our "Chronicles": "I realize that not everyone shares my interest in preserving our old graveyards, but think again...it's lost history, it's lost art, it's the only artform our Puritan ancestors left us. Someone's place of rest and memorial and a message from long, long ago meant for us, today, to read, to ponder. Now I ask you to think again...only ancient graveyards that are properly marked, fenced, or noted in town records stand a chance of being preserved. We have already lost many due to neglect. We need help to save what's left. If you know of a family plot or have any information please list what you can and get a copy to the association and file something with the local town. We all must take some responsibility to protect our history."

National Archives and Records Administration Web Site:

www.nara.gov/genealogy



Research Tips

Here I might put some tips about researching a family tree, for example:

Be sure to evaluate the source of your information. Remember, you can't believe everything you read!

Remember, most everyone has two family names: your father's, but also your mother's. Don't feel you must restrict your research to just your paternal family tree.