Dolliver's Cemetery Inscriptions Volumes I, II, III
Between 1895 and 1899 William H. Dolliver was tasked with recording tombstone inscriptions throughout Gloucester cemeteries. His work, originally recorded in a bound book, provides us with valuable information about what was then intact and readable as well as a glimpse into the priorities of the late nineteenth century. Many of the original inscriptions are now lost or unreadable. His work ended up being divided into three volumes and includes four historic Gloucester cemeteries, two private cemeteries and two that now belong to Rockport, MA.
A bit more than a 100 years later, Gloucester residents Edith Sparling and Mary Ray developed an invaluable index to the first volume of the hand-written Dolliver as well as recording inscriptions in additional documents. This index also included other information such as location, which, until it is replaced with GPS data, continues to be important in locating graves. In 2019 the Cemeteries Advisory Committee undertook a project to provide greater access to all of these records.
Each volume was crowd-sourced and transcribed and then formatted in an easily readable form. They are now completely digitized and searchable. In addition, with the generous cooperation of the Gloucester City Archives and the Cape Ann Museum, a new copy from the 1895-99 originals was scanned, complete with colored inks. Here are PDF files for each of the volumes, one the newly transcribed work interleaved with the original, and the second, a printer-friendly copy of just the transcriptions. Printed copies of the complete Dolliver, including the original pages, have been donated to the City Archives, the Sawyer Free Library and the Cape Ann Museum. In addition to posting this work on this city site, it is being harvested by the Digital Commonwealth http://www.digitalcommonwealth.org.
The Committee wishes to thank Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and the City Council for their support throughout the project.
The City-owned Gloucester Cemeteries Advisory Committee is pleased to announce that we have completed the final step in making the three volumes of the Dolliver Inscriptions publicly available by arranging for harvest from the Digital Commonwealth. Files posted include both the scanned copies of the original and the PDF of the transcriptions of that work (Printer-Friendly version).
The Digital Commonwealth site may be viewed at
In addition to these downloadable files the Digital Commonwealth site includes links to the Committee's City website https://gloucester-ma.gov/1073/Dollivers-Cemetery-Inscriptions . Online viewing of the complete volumes is linked from that site
A listing of the cemeteries with their traditional and modern names:
The complete Dolliver files are available at Archive.org. These include the original Dolliver hand-written pages, newly scanned, and, interleaved with these pages, the transcriptions of the files. Here are the links for each volume.
Volume I: First Parish Burial Ground/Bridge Street Yard -
Volume II: Annisquam Yard/Bay View, Annisquam Yard/Cove Hill, 2nd Parish/W. Gloucester, Unitarian/Prospect Street, Universalist Cemetery -
Volume III: Rockport/First Parish Burying Ground, Rockport, Folly Cove/Locust Grove, Rockport -
Printer-friendly listing of the cemeteries with their traditional and modern names:
Printer-friendly versions of each volume – searchable transcriptions of the original Dolliver files – are available here for downloading to your computer or even, printing.
Volume I: Old Bridge Street Yard/First Parish Burial Ground.
Download Volume I - Transcription Only
Download Volume II - Transcription Only
Volume III: Rockport/First Parish Burying Ground, Rockport, Folly Cove/Locust Grove, Rockport
In the near future, these complete volumes will also be available on the Digital Commonwealth and we’ll add those links at that time.