Lithuania's western city of Klaipėda has finished ‘digitizing’ two of its cemeteries, allowing visitors to search for the resting place of their deceased relatives in an online registry.
Locating a buried relative among thousands of graves can be a challenge, and staff at a cemetery in Klaipėda say they get approached at least ten times a day by people struggling to find a grave.
“When you have 40,000 graves, finding one is not that easy, even if people come with instructions. Gravestone inscriptions can be covered with moss, too” says Raimondas Kazlauskas, a specialist at the Cemetery Maintenance Department of Klaipėda Municipality.
But visitors of two of Klaipėda's cemeteries will, from now on, be able to find their dead relatives much more easily.
Lėbartai and Joniškė cemeteries have been ‘digitized’. An online registry contains the details of all graves and even their photos. Visitors can enter the name of the deceased and get detailed information about where they rest.
It took one year for 20 people to photograph the graves, enter data and code the registry. The firm that undertook the project, Kapinių Valdymo Sprendimai, says it would take years to ‘digitize’ all the cemeteries in the country.
“As far as I know, there are over 2,500 operating cemeteries in Lithuania and, over the three years we have been in business, we have digitized over 60,” says the firm's head Andrius Trunovas.
It may not sound much in numerical terms, he adds, but represents over 10 percent of the total cemetery area.
Personal data of the deceased will only be accessible to municipal officials, while the public part of the registry does not give away any more information than what one can see on a gravestone.
Lėbartai and Joniškė cemeteries have a combined ‘population’ of over 75,000 and takes up an area of 75 hectares. The digital registry cost the city 47,000 euros.