LB - Yes for Prescott Education 1012

Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Subscriber Services | 928 Media Lab | Real Estate Search | Galleries | Obits | Yellow Pages | TV Listings | Contact Us
The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news October 13, 2015

9/1/2005 11:48:00 PM
Genealogist gets national recognition
Courier/Les Stukenberg
Judy Branson walks through Odd Fellows Cemetery studying tombstones. The September issue of Good Housekeeping magazine features Branson’s findings.
Courier/Les Stukenberg Judy Branson walks through Odd Fellows Cemetery studying tombstones. The September issue of Good Housekeeping magazine features Branson’s findings.
The Daily Courier


The Daily Courier

As many as 250 million people now know about Judy Wight Branson’s quest to record every grave site in Yavapai County to preserve their vital historical information.

The September issue of Good Housekeeping magazine features a story about Branson’s work, alongside a Daily Courier photo that accompanied an October 2004 Courier story about her. The cover of Good Housekeeping claims a readership of 250 million people each month.

The magazine called Branson in January after seeing the Daily Courier story on the Associated Press wire, and interviewed her about a dozen times before printing the short story, Branson said.

“They thought it was unusual enough to pursue,” Branson said. “Not everyone takes pictures of headstones.”

Not surprisingly, the story spurred a new round of e-mails to Branson to go along with those she received after The Daily Courier story that subsequently went on the AP wire.

“We are doing the same thing here in northeast Pennsylvania,” wrote Patricia Matthews after reading the story. “It’s high time that genealogy got recognized as a true art, rather than an ‘illness’ as my children call it.” Matthews is on the Plymouth Historical Society board.

Sylva Rhodes wrote Branson to say she found her great-great-grandparents’ gravestones through the Madison County, Iowa, Gravestone Photo Project Web site. Branson also worked on that project after finding out that her ancestors lived there.

Rhodes said she is doing the same work in Alfalfa County, Okla.

“I got started in 2003, and have completed one small cemetery,” Rhodes wrote. “Gradually I am getting a few more interested. As your article states, it is fun.”

Several people let her know about remote, historic gravesites in Yavapai County after reading The Daily Courier story.

At least one person volunteered to help photograph them, and he already has made headway on the approximately 10,000 headstones at the Mountain View Cemetery in Prescott, Branson said. Another volunteer already recorded about 9,000 headstones in the Verde Valley.

Back in October, Branson and her husband Wayne had photographed and recorded about 5,600 Yavapai County gravestones, and now she estimates that number has topped 13,000.

Branson also has a backlog of gravestone information to add to the Arizona Gravestone Photo Project Web site at A link to that site and many more with Yavapai County genealogical information is on the local GenWeb site at That site includes quite a bit of information from the Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott, for example.

What drives people such as the Bransons to volunteer all that time photographing gravestones?

“They hold genealogical information,” Branson said. “Putting them on the Web site has connected people with their relatives’ final resting site where they’d never find it and if they did, they wouldn’t know how to get there.”

As the Bransons’ work continues, she has concluded that Yavapai County has more graves than she originally thought, and she might be only halfway done.

“It’s really hard to say how many there are,” Branson said. “I haven’t done, shall we say, a head count.

“If people would quit dying, I’d get caught up.”

Contact the reporter at

    Most Viewed     Recently Commented
•   Great Outdoors Festival fills Watson Lake Park (VIDEO and GALLERY) (912 views)

•   Haley Construction Co. turns 60 (773 views)

•   Rants & Raves (711 views)

•   Letter: Water leaks (564 views)

•   Mammograms can be lifesavers: It's simple: just get one (451 views)

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to Facebook character limits. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
HSE - dCourier App
HSE- Rants&Raves

Quick Links
 •  Submit site feedback or questions

 •  Submit your milestone notice

 •  Submit your letter to the editor

 •  Submit a news tip or story idea

 •  Place a classified ad online now

 •  Browse the Yellow Pages

Find It Features Blogs Milestones Extras Submit Other Publications Links
Classifieds | Subscriber Services | Real Estate Search | Galleries | Find Prescott Jobs | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Contact Us
LB - Yes for Prescott Education 1012

© Copyright 2015 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Daily Courier is the information source for Prescott area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Prescott Newspapers, Inc. Prescott Newspapers Online is a service of Prescott Newspapers Inc. By using the Site, ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Prescott Newspapers Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info, Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2015 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved