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G.A.R. brings 21st-century tech to 19th-century cemetery

SNOHOMISH — People can now visit the graves of loved ones at Snohomish’s Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery from anywhere there is internet access.
When Daryl Girnus took over as the G.A.R. Cemetery’s manager in January 2023, the database consisted of a Microsoft Excel sheet and a hand-drawn map. Unless a visitor remembered where their loved one was laid to rest, they would need staff’s help.
“I wanted to get some software so people could come to the cemetery and actually look at the plot and see where all the plots are laid out in the cemetery,” Girnus said.
Founded in 1898 by Civil War veterans, G.A.R. has over 10,000 interments, making navigation difficult at the cemetery off of Riverview Road. The software Girnus chose is called Chronicle. It runs purely from an internet browser on a phone or a computer browser; there is no need to download an app to your device.
By going to the cemetery’s website, www.garcemetery.com, and clicking “Search G.A.R. Cemetery,” users are taken to a map of where they can search for a grave by the person’s name.
However, it goes beyond a simple map. Visitors can learn more about the person than what is on the tombstone if their loved ones fill out information. Visitors can see how the person lived and their story — the important dash between their date of birth and death.
Friends and family can upload photos and stories of their loved ones to the website. Girnus reviews the content to ensure it is safe for all ages.
Also, Girnus noted the genealogical and historical research and preservation value of the software, which will transform the simple map into a tour of Snohomish’s history.
The software will mark historical and military people and serve as a virtual history tour created by the G.A.R. staff and the information provided by historical documents and family.
Girnus said the work could not have happened without the help of volunteer Denise Nielsen and G.A.R. groundskeepers Rick Alexander and Rhonda Douglas. So far, they have taken roughly 7,000 photographs of the headstones and are continually uploading them to the cloud-based software
Chronicle also acts as a management tool by marking interments, memorials without an interment, and available plots. The map shows a precise color-coded layout of the grounds.
For those who want to set up a Chronicle service to add photos and a biography for their loved one, there is a one-time fee of $49.99. However, the map, photo of the memorial marker, and information are free services for all to use.
To learn more about the Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery, visit  8601 Riverview Road, or tour it online at www.garcemetery.com

  

 


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