Recently, two of my relatives passed on and had opted for cremation instead of a traditional burial. Cremation is very rare in my neck of the woods. It made me think about the implications of such a choice, as it relates to genealogy. Cemeteries are often used as a source of information to help shed light on an ancestor. But what do you do when there is no tombstone? And no body?
Many of us are familiar with the predicament of an unmarked grave, but the thought of no grave at all had never really entered my mind. I was curious to know whether there were particular time periods in history in which cremation was more utilized than at other times. A Wikipedia article on cremation sheds some light on this. It also illuminated situations in which people may have someone cremated, such as to prevent a known burial site from being turned into an unwanted memorial. Interesting, although incredibly morbid.
Of course, an action such as burial or cremation would be left to individual preference of either the deceased or the one in charge of the deceased’s final arrangements, but it certainly gives us something else to consider when researching. With no burial, we certainly are missing out on some potential details.