Historic cemeteries are found in every rural and urban community across Alabama, providing rare opportunities to study and honor our ancestors and the communities they created. They are not only memorials to past generations but are evidence of settlement patterns, family relationships, religion, lifestyles, and craftsmanship. Some cemeteries are well-kept and important to current generations; others exist in shadows, lost in kudzu or forgotten memories. Whether your cemetery is well preserved or endangered from neglect and vandalism, the Alabama Historical Commission (AHC) seeks to help preserve these places for future generations.
Historic cemeteries are irreplaceable landscapes. Many of the historic cemeteries in our state have been neglected for decades. Some are more endangered than others. The rural community and family sites have suffered the most disintegration. For every known rural burial ground, there are at least five that have been forgotten from our collective consciousness. The plight of these sites can be attributed to several factors such as abandonment, apathy, encroachment, environmental factors, vandalism, and theft.
Old cemeteries are irreplaceable historical resources subject to abandonment, apathy, encroachment, environmental factors, vandalism, and theft (Trippe-Dillon n.d.). Key threats include technological advances; lack of care in maintaining these resources, including the use of modern machines and chemicals that often damage markers; pollution, which causes more rapid weathering of stones; theft of markers and decorative features; and lack of respect for the markers, resulting in vandalism.
Like other historic resources, cemeteries and graveyards face dramatic pressures - from development, abandonment, and decay, nature, vandalism, and ignorance.
Cemeteries, however, are very different from most historic resources since they involve a variety of functions - sacred, artistic, historical, and genealogical. The resources include human remains, sculptures and monuments, brick walls and walkways, and the landscape. All of these factors make cemeteries - and their preservation - very complex.
Our mission is to identify, document, preserve, protect, maintain, and advocate for cemeteries in our county that are threatened by vandalism, development, or neglect. Also, FCCPA will educate the community about the historical importance of cemeteries, and how to survey and preserve cemeteries.
Florida's Historic Cemeteries: A Preservation Handbook was published in 1989 by The Historic Tallahassee Preservation Board. Funding for provided by historic preservation grant-in-aid assistance from the Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of State.
Cemeteries are an important feature of South Carolina’s diverse heritage. In addition to marking the final resting place of our ancestors, they yield information about our state’s social, religious, artistic, and cultural heritage. They also contain genealogical information that cannot be found anywhere else. The following are frequently asked questions about historic cemeteries.
The task of preserving a historic cemetery can be daunting. Often individuals interested in undertaking such a project are overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin. Systematic planning and using standardized forms and common conservation practices will help an individual or group identify the various aspects of the project, define priorities and scope, and assist in creating a reasonable action plan. The following points will help guide those involved early in the project planning.