Are there records of how many people are buried in Quincy cemeteries?

The volumes of the “Cemeteries of Adams County, Illinois,” which were compiled by the Great River Genealogical Society, are available to the public in the Illinois Room at the Quincy Public Library. The Genealogical Society compiled burial records of all cemeteries in Quincy and Adams County. | H-W Photo/Matt Hopf
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 2, 2017 10:45 am

Are there records of how many people are buried in cemeteries in Quincy? Are they online, with the names of people or families? Which cemetery has the most burials?

There is no all-encompassing online database of people who are buried in Quincy and Adams County, but the Great River Genealogical Society compiled burial records for all Adams County cemeteries.

Jean Kay, reference librarian with the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County, said the project started in the 1970s and took years to complete as information was collected from each gravemarker.

The finished product was compiled into numerous volumes published by the organization.

The books are available to the public in the Illinois Room at the Quincy Public Library, and they are also available for sale from the Genealogical Society with order forms available on its website,

"We went into forests (in rural parts of the county) and would find little cemeteries and then the tombstones would be down, so you'd take a pitchfork and probe and turn up tombstones," Kay said. "It's sort of sad to think it was important at one time and totally forgotten."

Kay said unmarked graves were not recorded in the books, as they weren't identified by markers.

"They did go through death records at the courthouse, and for Woodland (Cemetery), they copied down anybody who was buried there, so there was kind of a cross-reference," she said. "But death records didn't start until December 1877. So if you were buried in Woodland before that and had no stone, no one is going to know."

Which cemetery has the most burials?

The thought is Woodland Cemetery likely has the most, but Kay notes that the records for it were not as well kept as Greenmount Cemetery and Calvary Cemetery. She noted that many tombstones in Woodland had significant decay when the project started.

"It was above factories, and that created air conditions that caused the tombstones to erode more quickly, and some of them were already hard to read," Kay said. "You go back now, and you can't read anything on the stone. It was a good thing we did it, when we did it."

Nancy Sanders, a past president of the Genealogical Society, said another source people can review for death records is the Illinois Regional Archives Depository System at Western Illinois University, which houses county and local government records for 16 counties in Western Illinois, including Adams County.

"I know I found some of my relatives (for whom) there's no record of where they were buried," Sanders said. "Some of them are buried out in Bowman Cemetery, and their death record shows they were buried there but there's no record, because there's no tombstone."

There are a couple of online options available for anyone seeking local cemetery information. Greenmount Cemetery and Quincy Memorial Park both have searchable databases on their websites.

Information on burials in area cemeteries can also be found on websites such as There are photographs of many tombstones. However, information on this type of website is submitted by contributors.

How can my question be answered? Just ask. We'll quiz community leaders, business officials, historians, educators -- whoever can tell us what you want to know. Submit questions to or mail them to Answers, The Herald-Whig, P.O. Box 909, Quincy, IL 62306. Provide a name and phone number so we can respond or clarify information. Questions dealing with personal or legal disputes will not be accepted.

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