For the managers of this website, much of this past year has been spent on a related and – editorially speaking – undoubtedly more important project, that of researching the spelling of the names which now appear on the four memorial stones at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland. The course of that research took a number of people through old Temple records, government documents, and memories of former Temple members to ensure that the list of the 918 people who died on November 18, 1978 is as accurate as possible.
The research did rebound to the benefit of this site, however, principally on the Who Died list itself. The list of names here reflects the research that was conducted for the memorial stones, and will likely retain this format for the life of the site. We do still include listings for nicknames and aliases, but – as opposed to past years, when we gave preference to the names by which they were known in Jonestown – we give the most weight towards the version of names which will help surviving families and future genealogists to identify their relatives when they visit Evergreen.
The page of Who Died listings made one other significant change: rather than including information on the last known address in the United States prior to the move to Jonestown, the listings now include the date and place of birth. The previous residence information is still available, however, within each biographical box, along with information about occupation – both in the US and in Jonestown – date of entry into Guyana, identification of residence in Jonestown, and, of course, membership and passport pictures.
The biographical boxes also list family relationships and partners, both within Peoples Temple and – increasingly – prior to joining the Temple. Much of this information emerged during the search for accurate spellings of names for the memorial, but it is also true that more and more non-Temple relatives contact the site each year with additional names and family histories.
This new input of names and relationships has led us to add family trees to the site in the Jonestown Research section. As the Demographics and Family Trees page notes, there are undoubtedly errors in these listings due to the sometimes incomplete or contradictory nature of the totality of the records upon which this research is based, and we urge anyone with corrections or supplemental information to assist us in making this information as accurate as we can.
• Another significant development within the last year is the new availability of streaming MP3s on the tape page. The right hand column on this table of transcripts and summaries indicates which MP3s you can listen to immediately. Other tapes are still available as MP3s only in a CD-format. It is our hope that we will have the entire collection digitized and available for streaming and downloading through this site within the next two years.
The managers of this site would like to thank Robert Ray in Special Collections at the SDSU Library, and website volunteers Norm Scott and Brad Miley for their assistance in putting these materials online.
• For additional website news, we direct you to the other articles in this section of the jonestown report, including:
ID Photos File to be Posted Online, by Don Beck
Peoples Temple Photo Site Expands in Scope and Organization, by Laura Kohl
Joining the jonestown report Editorial Staff, by Jordan Vilchez
An introduction to the Jonestown Forum, by Rikke Wettendorff
• For additional entries of individual tapes transcripts, FAQs and Primary Sources which have been uploaded to the site within the last year, we invite you to visit our What’s New page.