Cemetery Preservation

Many cemetery associations have formed recently to help preserve and restore old and currently-used cemeteries. For many, older cemeteries are like outdoor museums, revealing much about the neighboring area’s culture and history. For others, preservation becomes a means to deter vandalism and the effects of Mother Nature, human pollution and development.

One activity provided by these associations is the transcription of tombstones, as these records may survive longer than the inscriptions on the stones. Also, some associations restore and preserve the markers. While many cemeteries charge for upkeep, some of these businesses may welcome preservation associations.

Listed below are a handful of online cemetery preservation groups’ Web sites. Take a look at what they do and where they are located. If you don’t find one near you, try a search or you can learn how to start a group from any one of these resources (in no particular order):

  • The Association for Gravestone Studies: The Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) was founded in 1977 for the purpose of furthering the study and preservation of gravestones. AGS is an international organization with an interest in gravemarkers of all periods and styles.
  • West Virginia Cemetery Preservation Association: Two people, Joel and Donna Duprey, started this organization in 2003. They serve as stewards of the memorials that their West Virginia ancestors left behind for people to remember their West Virginia ancestors.
  • Oklahoma Cemetery Preservation Association, Inc.: This organization exists to bring together persons interested in the location, restoration and preservation of Oklahoma’s cemeteries and burial places. They also record, interpret, restore, and preserve the art, history and environment of Oklahoma’s cemeteries and burial places.
  • Grave Mappers: Genealogists, researchers, historians, hobbyists, and cemetery lovers are working together at this site to document aging cemeteries and headstones, to record and permanently preserve records, and to use technology to share them with the world.
  • The Association of Graveyard Rabbits: This association is dedicated to the academic promotion of the historical importance of cemeteries, grave markers, and the family history to be learned from a study of burial customs, burying grounds, and tombstones. They also are active with the social promotion of the study of cemeteries, the preservation of cemeteries, and the transcription of genealogical/historical information written in cemeteries.
  • I.A.C.P. Inc.: This society believes that the willful desecration or destruction of burial sites is unacceptable in a civilized society. It is their objective to highlight their importance and promote an attitude of reverence and respect, while encouraging further preservation of these unique historical resources.

If you know of any other preservation societies or organizations, leave a comment so others can find you!

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