There is one request which appears repeatedly in the guide requests I get - can we visit a local cemetery and look for the gravestones of my family?
Sure we can. We can walk around the parish cemetery to which the village/town your ancestors lived in belonged. But if your ancestors immigrated to the U.S. hundred and more years ago, we most probably won't find them. Why?
Because the Czech system of preserving gravestones and graves is a bit specific. The grave is in its place as long as the family (or someone else) is paying for it. Yes, the grave plot is rented to the family and if the family doesn't pay, it is cancelled (usually about 10 years of not paying).
The grave is then digged out, rests of the coffins are removed, but the bones are left in the hole (well, yes, without much piety) and the grave plot is rented to another family.
The reason this is done is that the number of grave plots is often limited by the cemetery area. The cemeteries were placed around the parish church and the area was too small for unlimited number of graves. Sometimes there are new cemeteries outside the town/village - but even there this rule is in place because people are already too used to it.
But sometimes one is lucky enough to find a grave which is well maintained by the family which still lives in the Czech Republic - maybe you will be one of those lucky people. :)
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