The second edition of the Maine Cemetery Trampers’ Companion has just been released by the Maine Old Cemetery Association.

This spiral bound book provides a wide sampling of cemetery-related information for history buffs, researchers and genealogists to help unravel the mysteries of stone symbols or shapes, military markings, war dates and the subjects’ place in history.

The first edition of the Tramper was released almost eight years ago after a gift of data donated to MOCA by Mark and Donald Cheetham of Richmond and Brunswick, respectively.

As volunteers and avid history buffs, the duo mapped cemeteries, repaired stones and transcribed data from nearly 20,000 stones in 35 cemeteries in their area. Mark self-published books detailing their work in those cemeteries. The Cheethams were recognized in 2011 with the Oakley Award from the Association of Gravestone Studies, a national organization. The award recognizes efforts towards the advancement of the organization’s mission of study and preservation.

In 2008, Mark Cheetham gave MOCA reference material he and his father, Donald, had gleaned from their work for inclusion in a guidebook for cemetery researchers. The result was the Maine Cemetery Trampers’ Companion.

This book aided MOCA members and supporters, as well as researchers across the state as they trekked through ancient burying grounds in their various quests for information.

The book details a variety of symbols used on stones in earlier times, lists abbreviations of fraternal and military organizations, explains types of artwork and designs and shapes, and includes an extensive timeline of history and the various events that caused deaths. Trampers can decipher the symbols, date the war or epidemics or local disasters that may have claimed their ancestors, and understand the affiliations that counted in their lives.

In compiling and editing the original book, MOCA members Cheryl Patten and Enola Couture tried to create a quick reference guide to answer most questions about cemeteries. In updating the book, Patten and Carl McKenney have added military information to further aid researchers, updated the cemetery dictionary and Roman numerals.

The latest edition is available through the MOCA website, at $20 per copy, plus $5 for shipping. Purchases by pickup can be arranged.