Skip to Main Content

Finding cemetary studies

Let's brainstorm terminology that might emerge in doing cemetery studies.

After our class, I'll add our discussions here:

Gravestone terms:

  • obelisk
  • pedestal
  • headstone
  • footstone
  • marker
  • "sepulchral monument"
  • mausoleum
  • coffin
  • urn
  • cemeter* (includes cemetery, cemeteries), cemetary
  • cenotaph


  • attitudes toward death
  • ceremonies
  • rituals
  • "social life and customs"
  • respresentation of social identity
  • burial
  • interment
  • inhumation, exhumation


  • obituaries
  • ledger
  • epitaph
  • inscription
  • DOB (date of birth)
  • age at death
  • demography
  • year of death

Identifying patterns

Because this work can draw on different contexts, we can use interdisciplinary databases to find relevant information.

Using the History subject guide

History articles can narrow down not only to the date the article was written, but the time period in question.

In the Advanced Search, you can choose the range of the Historical Period you're researching.


  • Keep in mind the authors. A researcher often publishes on the same topic, and searching their program of research can find other relevant material
  • Follow the citations. Articles don't exist in isolation; they are part of a larger scholarly conversation. To find the older conversation, use their works cited references, and to find conversations that continued after the article was published, click on "Cited By" in Google Scholar.
  • Use the terms they provide. Reading scholarly articles is a process of translation!

These tertiary sources pull together existing information, often synthesizing broad information. Encyclopedias, dictionaries, and atlases are examples of these background sources, also called reference sources.

Start here for our class:

Primary sources are artefacts created at the time a historical event occurred. Examples include letters, diaries, photographs, speeches, legal records, and news.

Primary sources that are relevant to Calgary might include:

Use this guide to familiarize yourself with how to access records, from reading finding aids to searching the archives.

Activity with your groups

In breakout rooms, connect with your groups. If you've identified a pattern to research, start there.

  1. Identify terminology that might be helpful. Consider synonyms and related terms. See what researchers in this area use to describe your pattern. Consider outdated terminology.
  2. Identify a human population to help narrow your results. 
  3. Look at background sources to summarize and introduce yourself to the topic.
  4. Look at articles to see specific, narrow questions answered.
  5. Look at primary sources to provide local context.

Oral history sources

Citing oral histories:

Lorisia Macleod, a librarian from James Smith Cree Nation, developed templates for citing Indigenous oral history.


Last name, First initial. Nation/Community. Treaty Territory if applicable. Where they live if applicable. Topic/subject of communication if applicable. personal communication. Month Date, Year.

For example: Cardinal, D. Goodfish Lake Cree Nation. Treaty 6. Lives in Edmonton. Oral teaching. personal communication. April 4, 2004.


Last name, First name. Nation/Community. Treaty Territory if applicable. City/Community they live in if applicable. Topic/subject of communication if applicable. Date Month Year.

For example: Cardinal, Delores. Goodfish Lake Cree Nation. Treaty 6. Lives in Edmonton. Oral teaching. 4 April 2004.

For more detail, see her work More Than Personal Communication: Templates for Citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers.

Anthropology Librarian

Profile Photo
Joel Blechinger
Phone: 403.440.8624
Office: EL4423E