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Don Toms (#47529406)
 member for 4 years, 11 months
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Bio Photo As a lifelong resident of Lead and an avid genealogist, I have been interested in cemeteries, especially the local Black Hills area cemeteries, for a long time. My current major interest is the historic South Lead Cemetery here in Lead, Lawrence County, South Dakota and the approximate 3650 individuals interred there. This work was especially important since records at Lead City Hall only date from about 1914, while the cemetery itself dates back to about 1878. The missing interments, marked and unmarked, were pieced together from headstone inscriptions, mortuary records and newspaper obituaries.
Along with Darlene Burns of Lead, I was an organizer of the Friends of South Lead Cemetery group several years ago, which volunteered many hundreds of hours in the cemetery and which raised over $120,000 in grant money for restoration work there.
I have also always been interested in history in general, and for 19 years I was the director of the Black Hills Mining Museum here in Lead. I also have served on numerous boards on the local and state level including the Lawrence County Historical Society, Historic South Dakota Foundation, Association of South Dakota Museums, Lead Cemetery Board, Lead-Deadwood Chamber of Commerce, the Lead City Fine Arts Association, and the Hearst Library Board. I have also actively been doing genealogical research for over 35 years.
To me Find A Grave is one of the most extraordinary genealogy sites on the web. However, it is not without problems. Anyone wishing to contribute information might consider that the project is not a race to see who can get the most notches in their belt for adding memorials, especially if the quality of the memorials suffers because of it.
It is also frustrating to see the poor quality of some of the photos being taken - poor lighting, odd or bizarre angles, weird portions of headstones with missing parts, etc. I have also seen cases where the individual stood ten or fifteen feet from the headstone and took a photo! Is there a weed or some grass sticking up in front of the headstone? Reach down and remove it and then take the photo. Quality really does matter. Also, the inscription on the monument is certainly of great importance, but please don't just take a photo of the inscription. Family members would like to see what the entire monument looks like as well.
Is the photo that you took a little crooked or dark? Most computers these days come with simple and quick photo editing software which allows you to straighten and lighten or darken or crop photos etc. before posting them. All that is required is a little time and effort. It's fast and easy.
Making up cemeteries and pretending that various people are still buried in them, such as is the case with "The Historical Cemetery at Deadwood" is utterly ridiculous. Fortunately, that is more of a rare occurrence for the Find A Grave site.
In conclusion, racing through cemeteries wildly taking photos does not benefit the site in my opinion. If someone is going to create a memorial, he should take as much time and effort as possible to provide correct and adequate information and quality photos that a family member of the deceased would be pleased to see!
I hope that all contributors are also willing to transfer management of memorials they have created if asked by family members of the deceased if they are not a relative of the deceased themselves.
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 • 4,056 Memorials Added
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Messages left for Don Toms (132)[Leave Message]
Webb Weisenberg, Jr
Can you transfer my grandfather to me.
Added by R.I.P on Apr 30, 2016 9:00 AM
Kent R. Ickler
RE: Toms Memorials in Mountain Lawn Cemetery
Thanks for the information Tom. I think I had taken the trip up there for Mountain & Holy Cross for that reason.
Added by Kent R. Ickler on Mar 15, 2016 2:26 PM
Kent R. Ickler
RE: Toms Memorials in Mountain Lawn Cemetery
Hey Tom.

I photographed the entire cemetery awhile back and relied on FindAGrave transcription volunteers to tag the photos of many of the photos. The transcription feature (at least at the time) didn't check if an existing photo was present, it just tagged the photo accordingly.

I'll run back through Mountain Lawn in the future and remove those that are duplicates.


Added by Kent R. Ickler on Mar 15, 2016 12:30 PM
CJL Glass & JR Glass Jr.
Records & non-records
I have the sense that you are a kindred spirit. I also like to document enough on an individual to properly identify them and link them to their relatives.

I'm hoping to find a few historic documents. Wondered if you could assist? If found, scanned & e-mailed document copies will suffice. If not found, a newspaper article or mortuary report or some other period item relating to each event will have to do.

You've documented an unmarked burial for a Susan J Boyd, Memorial # 72543059. She was a sister of my husband's 2nd great-grandfather's 2nd wife (Tennessee Alabama Dunlap Jenkins).

Looking for information, & hope you can help.

Is there any way to document a death record or obituary or mortuary report for J A Boyd (James A Boyd?), who passed away about March 12, 1874, somewhere around the area of Lead, SD Terr. Haven't found any burial record for him in your area, so I'm especially interested in finding whether he was buried in SD or his remains were shipped back to his family in Mississippi.

Marriage record of Susan Jane (Dunlap) Boyd, a widow, to Charles Alexander Estes. This marriage apparently took place in Deadwood, SD Territory, sometime in 1879 (their first child was born in March 1880). I'd like to find the exact date and location of the marriage, if possible.

Death record and obituary for Susan Jane (Dunlap) Boyd Estes, who died about May 18, 1887, in Pennington county, SD, from heart trouble. Her survivors included the 3 children from her first marriage (Letitia, Rose & William Oscar Boyd), the widower Charles Alexander Estes, and 3 additional children, Agnes Belle, Helen Florence & Roy Charles Estes.

Thank you very much for your assistance. Claudia Glass, Hutchinson KS
Added by CJL Glass & JR Glass Jr. on Mar 12, 2016 3:29 PM
John Toms 111850119
Just a question as I think this is the man my cousin married. You have him linked to his wife Margaret Murphy, but do you know if he married again after her death. I show my Margaret married a John Toms with the same parents, in 1943. She was Margaret "Marjorie" Nicholas (first married to Claude Faull). Her parents are Charles Nicholas and Emma Satterley Nicholas. If this is the same John Toms, do you know where Margaret Nicholas Toms is buried?

Thank you for your time,
Added by SLW on Feb 01, 2016 5:24 PM
May family member gravestone photos
I just noticed you also have a number of the May family members' gravestone photos.
May I have your permission to download/upload these also?
Again, Thank you...
Added by MissKitty on Jan 30, 2016 4:31 PM
Ernest May gravestone photo
May I have your permission to download the photos of the gravestone & portrait of Ernest May (Memorial# 25580932)?
I would like to upload it into my Ancestry Family Tree.
Thank you for your hard work and consideration.
-Ro Fleury
Added by MissKitty on Jan 30, 2016 4:28 PM
RE: William Oates
Yes, I will send those pictures to you! Thank you! William was injured in the Homestake mine also and opened a candy store! I tried to find it, because my Mom was born there. GPS took me to 508 Prospect instead of 108 Prospect, it appears that the mining ate up the four blocks that are no longer there!
Added by RickNorine on Aug 31, 2015 8:43 PM
William Oates
Thank you for your work on the South Lead Cemetery and on my great grandfather's gravesite webpage on Find A Grave, including the information you added. I just visited his grave last week and found the footstone missing and fortunately found it laying on the corner upside down on an unmarked grave just below his. It was paid for by my Grandmother Mabel Oates mentioned in your work and said Father, the only damage was the F on the corner is broken. I dug a hole at the foot of the grave to the best of my ability to replace it. I've attached pictures from my collection of the original grave and recent pictures without and with the stone returned. Did not know who to contact at the cemetery to inform them of the replacement. I also sponsored his grave. My grandmother spoke a lot about her dad who died 100 years ago when she was only 19. She started me on a 40 year adventure in genealogy and was so glad to visit his grave and left a carnation in her memory and his. The flag bandana was from me and my son. I'm afraid several of the pictures posted sideways and not being website savy not sure how to fix that! Once again thank you for your work!
Rick Norine
Helena, MT
Added by RickNorine on Aug 31, 2015 6:52 PM
Thank you
We recently made the trek from Washington State to Lead with intent to see the property that my great grandparents settled on back in the 1890's. My parents still own the land today which is located on the backside of the Grizzly Gultch Mine and called "the Norway Lode". While visiting, we were thrilled to locate my great grandfather Peter Jacob Helgeland's grave in the South Lead Cemetary. I have an old photo of the original grave marker and never would have found his gravesite had it not been for your photos. Thank you for maintaining the cemetary and especially for caring for Peter's grave and the beautiful new headstone. The information posted about his death was appreciated as well...a few more pieces to add to our family history. Our son, age 23, was thrilled to have seen his great great grandfather's resting place. Thanks again for being our link to our Lead, South Dakota heritage.
Added by Linda on Aug 22, 2015 10:16 PM
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