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  • 16 Jun 2016 6:29 AM | Debi Curry (Administrator)

    If you are a quick learner on computer-based projects and interested in learning more about how the MOCA website works, our MOCA Website 101 Apprenticeship might be for you. We are looking to provide backup website support and enhanced content by bringing an additional perspective to our website management team. Our current Web Steward, Debi Curry, will be your mentor as you learn how to:

    • Add community events of interest to MOCA members to our events calendar;
    • Post MOCA board and membership meeting minutes;
    • Publish new "Stones with Stories" an cemetery "Descriptions & Histories" articles; and
    • Much, much, more!

    The website is published using the Wild Apricot member management platform. This product has many unique features but the new skills you learn will also apply to websites built on similar platforms such as Drupal, WordPress, etc.

    For additional information contact Debi Curry, MOCA Web Steward.

  • 11 Jun 2016 7:34 PM | Debi Curry (Administrator)

    Scheduled walking tours of Portland’s historic Eastern Cemetery, founded in 1668, will begin again on Saturday, July 9 and continue each Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 11 am through October 16. These tours, which last up to an hour, are led by trained volunteers, who cover the cemetery’s history, prominent historical figures, and early gravestone art. 

    Ticket info: $10 adults, $5 students and seniors (65+), kids under 12 are free. 

    Tickets are available at the gate at 224 Congress Street on the day/time of the tour, or anytime in advance on the Spirits Alive website or at EventBrite. 

    Off-schedule private tours are also available through the website, at no extra charge. Proceeds are used to conserve Eastern Cemetery's historic gravestones. 

    Visit for more information.

  • 31 May 2016 6:14 AM | Debi Curry (Administrator)

    Jessica Lowell of the Portland Press Herald relates the tale of 48 unknown souls buried in the hilly south end of Riverside Cemetery, Pittston, in her story,

    Cemetery association honors those long ago buried anonymously in Pittston

  • 19 Mar 2016 4:49 PM | Debi Curry (Administrator)

    Registration for MOCA Members Now Open
    Non-Member Registration Opens May 1
    Registration Deadline is August 1, 2016

    “It’s so peaceful here,” whispered my six-year-old granddaughter, her fingers and lips stained red with the juice of June’s wild strawberries, plentiful in the grass among the gravestones of Weld Street, Wilton’s Old Town Cemetery.

    I’d stopped to inventory the damage that weather, time, and neglect had wrecked on over half of Weld Street Cemetery’s two hundred gravestones of Wilton’s settlers.  I wished to share with her the earliest, those of her fifth great-grandfather, Samuel Hiscock, buried in 1815, and of her fifth great-grandmother Betsy Teague Hiscock Wheeler, who came to Wilton (then Tyngtown) from Damariscotta in 1808, and raised a family of five sons here.

    We lingered for more than an hour, she eating strawberries, finding lilies of the valley blooming at the woods’ edge, spotting birds amongst the trees, and reading names on headstones, while we chatted and I sadly recorded damage to more than one hundred gravestones.  My intent was to procure a Maine Old Cemetery Association (MOCA) conservator-led 2016 Gravestone Preservation Workshop at this location, convenient to all the folks in Western Maine’s many small, rural communities.

    Now MOCA’s 2016 Preservation Workshop Registration is Open!

    You may attend one to four days, August 19-20-21-22, of hands-on work under the leadership of cemetery conservator Joe Farranniini of Grave Stone Matters based in Hoosick Falls, NY.  Joe’s profession is rescuing abandoned cemeteries, assessing cemetery work, mapping/documenting cemetery information, resetting stones, straightening stones, repairing broken stones/bases/pins, epoxy repair and infill, resetting fallen monuments, and leading training workshops.

    Who Should Attend?

    • Genealogists
      I registered for Joe’s 2014 four-day MOCA workshop at Old North Parish Cemetery, Wiley’s Corner, St. George, simply because I’d discovered that one of my few Tripp family ancestors with an engraved headstone was buried there… and her stone was broken.  The camaraderie developed among workshop participants, the skills learned and practiced, and the cleaning/restoration of nearly one hundred historic gravestones in just four days’ time gave me the incentive to join Maine Old Cemetery Association and a passion to continue MOCA’s work.
    • Town Sextons & Cemetery Committee Members will learn and practice new – perhaps better – methods and materials for gravestone repair and care as well as have opportunities to network with others with similar position of responsibility.
    • Historical Society members who often volunteer to take responsibility for maintenance of a dozen or more of their community’s historic burial grounds will benefit from workshop knowledge, hands-on experience, and collaboration.
    • Educators & Students recognize the value of our historic cemeteries as learning laboratories. Maine Learning Results Standards call for integration across curricular areas with emphasis on application of newly-learned skills. Cemeteries offer countless authentic learning opportunities; History, Art, Geography, Ecology, Economics, Mathematics, Technology, Anthropology…. as well as lifelong community service.
    • Church Members who have an affiliated cemetery for which their parish is responsible ~ this was the case at MOCA’s last 4-day workshop in 2014, held at the old burying ground adjacent the church at Wiley’s Corner, St. George, ME.
    • Business People who are often sought out for gravestone care/ cleaning/repair/installation; stone masons, arborists, photographers, funeral home directors
    • Town Employees & Officials faced with declining perpetual care funds and increasing responsibilities for upkeep of towns’ historic cemeteries
    • Veterans and Civic Organization Leaders seeking projects to benefit their community (VFW, American Legion, Rotarians, Lions, Elks, Grange, Scouts, 4H)
    • In short, ANYONE who wants to know the correct means, methods and materials to properly care for their family’s and community’s burial plots and gravestones!


    Ideally participants will attend all four days, but that’s not always possible. We can not forecast what activities will happen on which day, as the instruction and practice are based on what onsite damage we find as we work in the cemetery.

    There is NO registration fee for this workshop. MOCA urges workshop participants to donate generously as they are able to help cover workshop expenses of about $1,000 per day. Don’t hesitate to register based on your ability to donate, however.  Our goal is to promote the use of correct materials and practices when working in cemeteries and to encourage workshop participants to share the skills they learn.

    Register Online or
    Register by Mail

    If you cannot attend, but would like to donate to MOCA's workshop fund, donations may be mailed to:

    Visit our MOCA Facebook Group. Great posts!

  • 11 May 2015 4:53 PM | Debi Curry (Administrator)

    May 17 through 23 is recognized as Maine Old Cemetery Week by the Maine Old Cemetery Association as a continuing part of its mission to encourage and support the preservation, maintenance, and study of old cemeteries. MOCA President Clyde Berry, encourages local historical organizations, civic associations, Boy and Girl Scout troops, and fraternal and veterans groups to lead community projects to care for local burial grounds in preparation for the Memorial Day holiday, May 25.

    On May 16, MOCA will kick off the annual observance with its Spring Program, May 16 in New Gloucester at the First Congregational-Christian Church. The church is located at 19 Gloucester Hill Road. The Spring Program features a report on the intricate carvings of 19th century stone carver Bartlett Adams (1726 to 1828).

    While MOCA encourages the active care of burial grounds, Berry discourages members of the public from undertaking cleaning or repairing gravestones without appropriate training.  A Cleaning and Leaning Workshop will be held May 23 in Waterboro, hosted by the Waterboro Cemetery Committee. The workshop is MOCA’s program of Cemetery DOs and DON’Ts. A $20 donation is requested for registration  including a pizza lunch. More information is available from  Angela M. McCoy of the cemetery committee at (207) 651-1059 or

    As individuals and groups visit local cemeteries during Maine Cemetery Week and/or on Memorial Day, they are encouraged to report any cemetery vandalism or damage they may observe. These should be first be reported to local authorities, but also on the MOCA website.

    Collecting data on vandalism and/or theft is MOCA's way of tracking vandalism trends and of compiling information to help as it advocates for changes in cemetery law.

    While MOCA works to document and research Maine cemeteries, it is always interested in trends in cemetery maintenance, restoration and response to vandalism. Reports of cemetery activity is always welcome and the results of MOCA work, membership and volunteerism can be found at


  • 07 Apr 2015 11:35 AM | Debi Curry (Administrator)

    NEW GLOUCESTER - The intricate carvings of a 19th century stone carver will be the focus of the Spring Program of the Maine Old Cemetery Association in New Gloucester, May 16, at the First Congregational-Christian Church. The church is located at 19 Gloucester Hill Road.

    Bartlett Adams (1726 to 1828) arrived in Maine from Massachusetts in 1800 to establish a stonecutting workshop, that was in business from 1800 to 1828. He made marble hearthstones, mantelpieces and door jams, but the most lasting, and visible, impact of his work is still seen today in the early cemeteries of southern Maine.

    The Maine Old Cemetery Association is comprised of nearly 700 paying members and more than 1,100 Facebook “friends”, all focused on preserving and researching the old cemeteries of Maine. The organization was founded in 1968 by the late Hilda Fife.

    Ron Romano, the region’s Bartlett Adams expert, will be the featured speaker for the spring program, with a focus on his research of Adams’ stones. The program also features a discussion of and visits to New Gloucester cemeteries, presented by Thomas and E. Philip Blake, president of the New Gloucester Cemetery Association and the curator of New Gloucester Historical Society, respectfully. Thomas is also the acting sexton of the local cemeteries since 1998 and E. Philip is the author of Images of America’s “New Gloucester” (2009).

    Pre-Register Online 

    Registration for the program is $3 at the door, and is open to all.

    A MOCA business meeting is planned before lunch with President Clyde Berry presiding. All are welcome to attend to learn more of the work of the MOCA membership. The afternoon will feature a trip to New Gloucester Lower Cemetery, one of their oldest, lead by the Blakes. The door prize drawing will be held during the tour, and winners must be present to win.

    Lunch by reservation will be provided by the Congregational Church Meal Committee at a cost of $7 paid at the door. Reservations can be made until Thursday, May 7, online or by email to Debi Curry or by phone to Jessica Couture at (207) 877-7675.

    MOCA programs always include exhibits and displays of cemetery-related projects. Anyone involved with cemetery research or preservation projects is invited to create a display of their work to share with the membership.

    Membership in MOCA can be paid at the program or online. Annual membership is $7 or $30 for five years, and $150 for lifetime membership. Membership includes a quarterly newsletter with updates on cemetery-related projects and goals, as well as communication with researchers.

    The week following the spring program a Cleaning and Leaning Workshop will be held in Waterboro, sponsored by the Waterboro Cemetery Committee and MOCA. The workshop includes MOCA’s program of Cemetery DOs and DON’Ts. A $20 donation is requested for registration including a pizza lunch. More information is available from Angela M. McCoy of the cemetery committee at (207) 651-1059 or and also on their Facebook page.

    MOCA members and interested parties are also invited to participate in the 2015 Association of Gravestone Studies Conference, June 23 to 28 at Westfield State University in Westfield, MA, that will include a bus tour of cemeteries in Southern Berkshire County, a noted marble region. More information is available on the AGS website.  Another Cleaning and Leaning Workshop is planned in Rockport Aug. 29. More details will be available on the MOCA website.

    MOCA’s Legislative Liaison is currently following and seeking support for three bills aimed at cemetery maintenance and protection, LDs 378, 1071, 862 and 953. To learn more go to

  • 17 Jun 2014 7:13 PM | Debi Curry (Administrator)
    Read more about our recent St. George Workshop in this article clipped from the 12 June issue of The Courier-Gazette (pg 23).

  • 17 Jun 2014 7:11 PM | Debi Curry (Administrator)

    Reprinted from the Courier Gazette 12 Jun 2014

  • 17 Jun 2014 7:09 PM | Debi Curry (Administrator)
    By Brenda Seekins,
    Posted April 24, 2014, at 11:53 a.m.

    Friday, May 30, 2014 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    Saturday, May 31, 2014 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    Sunday, June 1, 2014 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    Monday, June 2, 2014 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    Location: Maine Old Cemetery Association St. George Cemetery Preservation workshop, Wiley's Corner, St. George,, Maine

    For more information: 207-634-2156;

    ST. GEORGE _ The preservation of old gravestones, done correctly, is a primary focus and concern to the Maine Old Cemetery Association. With that in mind, MOCA is sponsoring a gravestone preservation workshop at Old North Parish Church Cemetery, Wiley’s Corner, in St. George Me. The workshop will be held on four consecutive days, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.,daily, Friday, May 30 to Monday, June 2, 2014. Although most individuals have good intentions when cleaning and maintaining gravestones, there have been times when their methods, instead of adding longevity to the stone, have actually caused additional damage to the stone. MOCA believes it is imperative that those intending to perform any maintenance on gravestones learn the appropriate techniques and materials to use in their preservation work.

    The workshop will be led by professional gravestone conservator, Joe Ferrannini, owner of Grave Stone Matters of Hoosick Falls, NY. Ferrannini’s company works with municipalities, historical societies, cemetery associations and individuals to conserve their historic gravestones and monuments.

    The first two days of this 2014 workshop will include basic instruction regarding cleaning stones and straightening leaning stones. The second and third days will include more advanced techniques, such as repairing broken stones and casting new bases in which to set stones. In addition, portions of the workshop will include instruction on mapping a cemetery and setting priorities for precedence in gravestone repair. Anyone with no previous experience in gravestone maintenance should attend the first two days of the workshop in order to acquire basic skills, before moving on to the third and fourth days.

    A similar workshop was held in 2011 at the Oxbow Cemetery in Norridgewock, with approximately 50 people participating. Those attending expressed appreciation for the knowledge and experience they gained: “The workshop at Oxbow Cemetery was inspiring and gave me a greater desire to care for old cemeteries. Joe Ferrannini is a great instructor, teaching you while letting you do things hands-on,” said J. Couture, Waterville.

    “I attended only the first day of the Oxbow project; we spent most of the day de-brushing the cemetery borders. I helped clean an ancient slate headstone crusted with such a tough layer of lichen that I’m not sure it all came off, but I do know we cleaned properly and as well as could be done,” according to J. Wilder, Waterville

    “At the workshop at Oxbow Cemetery, Norridgewock in 2011. Our lead instructor, Joe Ferrannini, was excellent; he was patient, practical, and a good teacher. I stretched my stay to three days, due to the quality of MOCA’s planning, the level of instruction by Joe, and the many intangible benefits from networking with other attendees. Everyone who attended cared deeply about the future preservation of our cemeteries; several traveled from as far away as Indiana and Alabama, “ said D. Lowell, Tenants Harbor.

    There will be no set fee for participation in this workshop; however, donations for each day of participation would be appreciated. Donations will be used to cover costs of this and future workshops. If you would like to attend any portion of this event, pre-registration is required . Please send an e-mail to In the subject line of your e-mail, please type ST. GEORGE. Or, you will find a combined registration and waiver form at MOCA’s website: This form may be printed off, completed and mailed to MOCA’s president at her Smithfield address. Those without e-mail may send a note, by U.S. Mail, addressed to: MOCA, PO BOX 641, AUGUSTA, ME 04332-0641. Please mark the lower left corner of the mailing envelope: ST. GEORGE. Upon receipt of your note of interest, you will be sent a combined registration and waiver form. This form must be completed, signed, and returned to MOCA prior to your participation in the event.

    All checks should be made payable to MOCA; please mark in the memo section of your check, ST. GEORGE. MOCA is a 501(c)(3) organization; an acknowledgment of your contribution will be provided you to use for tax purposes.

    Reprinted from Bangor Daily News
  • 17 Jun 2014 7:08 PM | Debi Curry (Administrator)
    By Roxanne Moore Saucier, BDN Columnist
    Posted April 13, 2014, at 9:08 a.m.
    Roxanne Moore Saucier
    Roxanne Moore Saucier

    It only takes a bit of sunshine and a warm breeze to lure us to head out to cemeteries, hoping to find an informative gravestone or grouping of markers that will allow us to make sense of the names and dates we’ve been busily compiling over the winter.

    Whenever you go looking around a cemetery, be sure to wear good footwear and tread carefully, keeping in mind that the ground underfoot can be uneven year-round, not only during wet springtime. Always take a cellphone if you go alone, but it’s safer for many reasons to go with someone else.

    Those in the know about cemeteries, and those wanting to learn more, will benefit from joining the Maine Old Cemetery Association, “Dedicated to the Preservation of Maine’s Neglected Cemeteries.”

    Founded in 1968, the Maine Old Cemetery Association publishes an informative quarterly and holds three meetings a year. This year’s gatherings will take place May 17 in Starks, July 26 in Portland and Sept. 27 in St. George.

    The 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, May will take place at the Starks Community Center, 57 Anson Road, Route 43. If you travel by GPS, the coordinates are -69.926 and 44.736. Admission is $3 at the door.

    A 9:15 a.m. talk on “Our Town” will include a member of the Starks Historical Society, which is hosting the meeting.

    Cheryl Willis Patten will speak on “Grave Matters in Starks: Cemeteries.” After, all are welcome to attend the 10:30 a.m. Maine Old Cemetery Association business meeting.

    Lunch will be available at noon for $7. A choice of lasagna or veggie lasagna will be provided by Starks Enrichment and Education Society.

    At 1 p.m., there will be a demonstration of “Ground Penetrating Radar Technology” at cemeteries close by.

    To attend the May 17 meeting, notify Cheryl Willis Patten of your lunch choice by May 2 by email at, or write her at 1161 East Pond Road, Smithfield, ME 04978. You may pay at the door for your lunch, but the Maine Old Cemetery Association does need your reservation and meal selection.

    This Maine Old Cemetery Association meeting offers a great opportunity for genealogists from around the state to visit and learn about cemeteries and graveyards in Starks, Mercer, Farmington and other towns. Benjamin Young of Wiscasset, one of my Revolutionary War ancestors, is buried in Mercer.

    The Maine Old Cemetery Association will sponsor a four-day gravestone preservation workshop 9 a.m.-3 p.m. May 30 through June 2, at Old North Parish Church Cemetery, Wiley’s Corner, St. George.

    The workshop will be led by Joe Ferrannini, a professional gravestone conservator and owner of Grave Stone Matters in Hoosick Falls, N.Y. A similar workshop was held in 2011 with 50 people participating at Oxbow Cemetery in Norridgewock.

    There is no set fee for the workshop, but donations are appreciated for each day of participation. 

    The Maine Old Cemetery Association website also offers information from Helen Shaw on the cemetery bill, LD 1662, regarding maintenance of veterans’ graves. For an amended copy of the bill, email Shaw at

    Membership to Maine Old Cemetery Association is $5 a year, $20 for five years or $100 for a life membership sent to MOCA, PO Box 641, Augusta, ME 04332-0641.

    The next meeting of the Penobscot County Genealogical Society will be 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 16, in the Lecture Hall on the third floor of Bangor Public Library, 145 Harlow St., Bangor. All are welcome to attend.

    For information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402, or email

    Reprinted from Bangor Daily News
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