Cemetery Information Research Methodology

In compiling the Cemetery Information resource, project researchers reviewed available documentation and made decisions about the relative accuracy of certain pieces of information and how that information should be displayed. These methodologies are discussed here.

Primary source materials, i.e. documents produced during and directly following the operation of the Carlisle Indian School, are taken to be the most authoritative resources available. These documents are drawn from multiple repositories, including the National Archives and Records Administration, the Cumberland County Historical Society, and the Dickinson College Archives and Special Collections. Included as primary sources are administrative files, school and local publications, maps of the cemetery produced at different times, and a variety of miscellaneous documents. The information presented here is only as reliable as that recorded in these primary source documents, and as such is prone to errors. Changes may be made over time as additional information is shared or discovered.

The information in this resource displays names, dates of decease, and Nations as they are recorded in primary sources. As a result, errors may exist due to mistakes in the original sources as well as antiquated or inaccurate ways of referencing Native groups. In the interest of accurate representation, data was rarely altered by researchers. In those cases where clarifications were made, this will be noted on the entry and on the coversheet of the file.

Even a cursory overview of available primary sources shows that the information on the modern headstones is often inaccurate, both in terms of spellings of names and Nations as well as dates of decease. As a result, the modern headstones were not considered as documents for the purposes of this research. In the interest of sensitivity to descendants' wishes, images of individual headstones are not featured on this website.

Names and dates of decease are drawn from primary source materials alone, without consideration of the modern headstones. When discrepancies in names were found, all variations found in primary sources are listed. The name chosen for the entry and the coversheet of each file is the name that, after consultation considering all available documents, appears most consistently.

Similarly, discrepancies with dates of decease were determined after considering all available documents. Researchers found that in many cases, the dates listed in some documents referred to the date of interment or the date of discharge, rather than the date of decease. Primary sources that tracked school activity in real time, such as the Daily Morning Reports (1884-1891), were thus considered the most accurate documents for determining accurate dates of decease.

To compare our determinations with the information listed on the modern headstones, please see our tables, Compare Headstones and Records.

As stated above, the name chosen for each entry is the name which is used most consistently in primary sources, which often only refer to students using Western or Anglicized names. In those instances where Native names are known, they are also used in each entry, indicated by parentheses.

Finally, it is acknowledged that while this resource is valuable for descendants, researchers, and the general public, the mortuary topic makes the information presented here sensitive. We hope that this resource respects the privacy and sensitivity of all of those involved. Those with concerns, questions, or clarifications are welcome to submit comments using the buttons available at the bottom of each entry, or by emailing as message to the address on our sidebar.