A picturesque cemetery in Vilnius, Source: Vilnius Municipality

Vilnius makes it easy to find a grave with its digital cemetery portal

Vilnius makes it easy to find a grave with its digital cemetery portal

The online mapping service is especially popular ahead of All Souls’ Day on 2 November

The Municipality of Vilnius has 43 cemeteries on its territory. And while throughout the year they are usually quiet places of contemplation, come Vėlinės (which is how All Souls’ Day is known in Lithuania), they get busy and crowded as people flock to them to honour the memory of their dearly departed relatives.

All Souls’ Day is observed on 2 November and this year it falls on Thursday, which is why the local authorities have decided to remind the public about the digital map database of all the graves in all the cemeteries in the city. The aim of the tool is to help people find more easily a grave of a relative, for example.

That service is quite popular with Lithuanians living abroad or foreigners of Lithuanian origin trying to find information about ancestors or dead relatives. It’s also because when they visited the country, they wouldn’t know how to find the spot where their relatives might have been buried.

Previously, finding out this kind of info involved searching through paper archives and logs.

In addition, if the cemetery is old, the inscriptions on the tombstones are no longer legible. At the moment, it is enough to simply find a grave in the Vilnius city cemetery register, so those who want to honour the dead can apply more boldly, as our work has become easier," says Vilma Budėnienė, a representative of the "Funeral Services Center" in Vilnius.

Digitalizing the cemeteries

The process of digitalization naturally involved putting all the paper trail information into an online database, but it also included the use of drones.

The flying machines allowed the creation of orthographic photographs of each headstone and its exact location. The entire process of digitalizing the 43 cemeteries took four years to complete.

In addition, it is possible to search for the dead in the register in both Cyrillic and Yiddish characters, since not only Catholic, but also Orthodox, Karaite, and Tatar cemeteries have been digitized.



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