Canterbury Cemetery Mapping Project

Josiah Manning-style headstone
Headstone in the style of local carver Josiah Manning

The Canterbury Historical Society is fortunate to have the services and expertise of Mike Sheehan on our cemetery mapping project. Mike is retired from the Army Corps of Engineers, where he was a biologist and wetland and soils scientist. He traces his interest in cartography to his time as an infantry officer in Vietnam, and later to his self-described lingering “wetlands geek” period. He is generously donating his efforts for our cemetery mapping project.

This project came about in response to the many inquiries received by the Canterbury Historical Society, Canterbury Public Library, and Canterbury town clerk’s office relating to cemetery locations. Most of these questions come from folks seeking to locate the burial sites of their ancestors.

We are attempting to map the precise locations of Canterbury’s historic burying grounds, including the alternative names some have been known by, and to overlay the locations on a modern road map of Canterbury. In an effort to ensure that visitors do not unknowingly enter private property without prior permission of the landowners, we will note that some burying grounds are on, or abut, private property.

The timing of this project is crucial, given that some of our early burying grounds are becoming overgrown with vegetation and therefore disappearing from sight. In some cases, the locations of cemeteries mentioned in historical sources are now unknown, and we hope to change that. We intend to post the map(s) that result from this project on the Canterbury Historical Society’s website in electronic format; to place hard copies in the Canterbury Public Library, the town clerk’s office, and the land use office for public access; and to communicate all new information and corrections to the State of Connecticut for inclusion in its state-wide cemetery archives.