Few places hold the secrets of a community quite like historical cemeteries. They offer glimpses into the lives, stories, and aspirations of those who walked the same streets we tread today. Yet, the struggle to preserve their legacy is undeniable. With each passing year, the inscriptions on gravestones fade and the memories etched in stone grow faint. Cemetery record-keeping, though invaluable, poses a challenge when facing the relentless march of time.
In this case study, we will delve into the remarkable journey of one historical township cemetery: Wesley Chapel Cemetery in Norwich Township, Ohio. Since implementing CIMS software over 20 years ago, this cemetery has made remarkable progress in safeguarding its precious data and streamlining its operations.
1818: The Beginning
The roots of Wesley Chapel Cemetery run deep, mirroring the profound history and character of Norwich Township, Ohio. The cemetery's story began with its establishment in 1818, when it was overseen by the Wesley Methodist Episcopalian Church. This continued until 1870, when the church transferred ownership to Norwich Township Trustees, marking a pivotal transition that would shape the cemetery's future.
With 43 acres and nearly 13,000 burial spaces, Wesley Chapel Cemetery remains one of Ohio's largest township cemeteries. Beyond its physical presence, the cemetery holds invaluable treasures—archaeological artifacts, genealogical connections, and cultural narratives that weave together the township's past and present.
1999-2002: Enter CIMS
In the summer of 1999, Norwich Township began discussions with the CIMS team about the possibility of digitizing Wesley Chapel Cemetery’s historical records. Motivated by a desire to preserve stories for generations to come, these talks marked the initial steps toward change. Their partnership with CIMS was official by January 2002, when the cemetery adopted CIMS Light Desktop, a database-only software without interactive mapping.
2014: Integrated GIS Smart Maps
Norwich Township embarked on a significant milestone in its digital journey in 2014 by integrating GIS smart maps into its CIMS database. This move further streamlined the management process and enhanced the accessibility and accuracy of cemetery records. The integration of GIS mapping allowed for a more comprehensive view of the cemetery grounds, making it easier to identify burial plots and manage space efficiently.
As a part of this transition, the township leveraged CIMS data migration services to seamlessly digitize their historical burial records. Remarkably, the cemetery was still in possession of some paper maps and records dating back to its ownership by the Wesley Methodist Episcopalian Church in the 1800s. Recognizing the need for a more efficient and streamlined system, Norwich Township embraced the CIMS team’s proficiency in migrating both analog and digital records into their new CIMS database.
Wesley Chapel Cemetery has retained many maps from its early days.
The cemetery now has access to a spatially accurate, interactive map of its grounds.
2016: Upgrade to CIMS Platinum
In 2016, Norwich Township embraced another pivotal chapter in its digital journey when it migrated from the original CIMS desktop application to CIMS Platinum, the most advanced tier of CIMS software. As a cloud-based software solution, CIMS Platinum eliminates the limitations of physical servers and individual devices, ensuring heightened security and accessibility. This means users can securely view and edit records from various devices, including PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
With CIMS Platinum, the intricacies of cemetery management become as straightforward as browsing the internet. CIMS Platinum presents a comprehensive solution and caters to a diverse set of needs. It allows multiple users to input cemetery records at once and completely eradicates the frustration of software updates and reinstalls when obtaining a new computer. By upgrading to CIMS Platinum, Norwich Township not only modernized its cemetery operations but also harnessed a robust tool that aligns with their evolving needs.
Today: Enhanced Services with Additional CIMS Offerings
Today, Norwich Township has also embraced the convenience of the CIMS Burial Search add-on. This platform facilitates easy access to cemetery data and maps, catering to individuals searching for information about their loved ones. Users can effortlessly search for burials by names or locations, locate graves on the cemetery map, and print out any details they require. This initiative not only empowers visitors but also streamlines cemetery operations. By providing an accessible resource that frees up time previously spent on locating grave sites, the cemetery’s staff can focus on other critical aspects of cemetery management.
As Wesley Chapel Cemetery continues to serve the needs of Norwich Township, CIMS stands as an unwavering ally in their journey of preservation and progress. With a wealth of advanced tools at its fingertips, from flexible record-keeping to secure cloud storage and smart maps, this cemetery has elevated its service quality to new heights.
Interested in learning more? Request more information to explore the dynamic possibilities of CIMS software.