How to Solve a Cemetery Puzzle Geocache Without Actually Visiting The Cemetery


Two of my biggest hobbies are geocaching, and genealogy.

So when a cemetery puzzle cache comes up, it's always one of my favorites.  And yet, as much as I love searching for both geocaches, and for find a grave entries, driving around a cemetery to look at another cachers families stones, and then doing math and entering new figures into the geocaching app is just not my favorite thing.  In general, I prefer to solve puzzles at home and use geochecker before heading out.  Unless they are really fun field puzzles, like actual PUZZLES (Mr Data Goes Caching) at the stages, not just math problems. :-)

Most cemetery geocaches can be solved without stepping out my door.  

Step One:

This applies to most puzzle caches.  If you know the basic location (in this case, exact cemetery) and the puzzle is completely letters, it's pretty quick to solve the first few.



AB & HIJ are easy solves.  They are probably the same as the fake coords listed in the puzzle cache.  In our area, that means they are probably 41 & 076.  Often, in smaller cemeteries, you can even sole CD & KL really quickly.

So we know already A4 B1 H0 I7 J6.  And possibly C, D, K, & L.

Step Two:
In almost all puzzles, although not ALL, you won't find the straightforward A-O scenario in my example.  In most cases the letters will repeat, as there are only 9 one digit numbers and there are 15 numbers in most coordinates.

So if the coords look like this:

Having, using the step 1 method, already solved for C, F, B & H, there are only 5 one digit numbers left. 

Step Three:

Find A Grave. 

Often you won't have a full name given in the puzzle hint.  Sometimes you will.  Even in a REALLY large cemetery you can search by whatever name is given, and often find not only all of the information from the stone, but quite often a photo of the actual stone.

A clue in a recent nearby cemetery cache is "How old was Louise when she passed away 10F"

So I know her first name is Louise, and that she was over 100 years old.  I know, from the "fake" coordinates, which cemetery she is buried in. (use google maps if you need help figuring out the cemetery name. Just type the fake coords into the google maps search bar and see what cemetery is really close by.)

  Even in a VERY large cemetery, I could narrow that down really quick by searching for all the Louise's in the cemetery and skimming down through the list to find one over 100 years old.  Even if there is more than one Louise over 100 years old, if I find one with the same surname as someone else in this puzzle, I usually try that one first.  I can also go to my list of 5 remaining one digit numbers, and make an educated guess from there.

When we are looking for geocaches in cemeteries, I almost always attempt to fill any find a grave photo requests while we are there.  These are such a huge help for genealogists!

Step Four
If there is a full name given, and no find a grave listing, I will check and google.  Often birth and marriage dates and even obits with further information can be found that way.  It's basic genealogy research at that point.

Usually those steps give me all the information I need.  In some cases I may have one digit I'm not sure of, but in caches that use geochecker, that just means plugging the options in one at a time until I see the "success".