Genealogists, history lovers and sleuths of all kinds will be pleased to know that a treasure trove of information has just been made available from the Town of Hopkinton. Over 200 years of the town’s cemetery records are now available for individual research on the town’s website. Burial records, cemetery maps, billing records (which often contain interesting family clues) and more can all be viewed by a click, with some of Hopkinton’s oldest historical records literally at one’s fingertips.
Through a generous historic preservation grant, by means of the Community Preservation Act (CPA), the Hopkinton Cemetery Commission first embarked on protecting and preserving the town’s irreplaceable old paper records by transferring them into an electronic format, with backup and a means for regularly adding new information. Once out of this vulnerable and hard-to-access medium, the records could now be shared with the public. The second phase of the CPA project was to develop a system whereby the records could not only be viewed by all, via the town website, but also could be individually searched — by name, maiden name, date, etc. Recently completed, with much help from Josh Grossetti of the town’s IT department, Hopkinton’s digital cemetery records system will be an invaluable resource for family researchers and historians. The project is not only in keeping with Hopkinton’s objective of government transparency, but it may well be a first of its kind in public records access.
Town offices and the Hopkinton Historical Society for years have received requests for cemetery records information, which have been hard to answer because the records were not easily accessible. Now these answers can be found by anyone, at any time, from anywhere. The records are located on the Town of Hopkinton website: www.hopkintonma.gov, on the eGov tab, under Online Cemetery Records, or in the Board & Committees section on the Cemetery Commission site. Included are instructions on how to use the site and tips for getting started.