Cemetery Restoration

 

One of the most important tools of a genealogist is tombstones. Sadly, tombstones, and even entire cemeteries, are often destroyed before we can transcribe the information on and in them. There are many things we can do to help preserve this information, not only for ourselves but for future generations. First, we need to make sure active cemeteries have perpetual care funds available to them. These funds will help assure the cemeteries are remembered and will remain well cared for. Second, we need to find and maintain those cemeteries which are inactive. Sometimes that is as simple as making others aware of their presence. Sometimes it involves making sure cemeteries are not destroyed. And sometimes it means restoring that which has already been destroyed. 

 

Perpetual Care Funds: Many of the cemeteries on our list already have funds set up. We have tried to provide information on these funds. If you would like to help support a cemetery and there is no Perpetual Maintenance Fund listed, please feel free to contact Audrey Jones at the Genealogy Society to find out where you can send donations.
 
Finding a Cemetery
Making others aware
A good start toward finding many old cemeteries has been made. If you review our cemetery lists, you will find the location of many Pike County cemeteries has been documented for you. Remember, though, that just because a cemetery is listed here with a location does not mean that people are aware of it's existence. A cemetery may be located in the middle of what has so far been a grove of trees. The stones may be destroyed or missing. The land changes hands and the new owner isn't aware of the cemetery, but thinks that grove of trees would make a great place to put a pond or build a house or lay a road or something else entirely. Once that happens, another cemetery is lost. It is up to our generation to make sure as few cemeteries as possible are lost. 
 
Finding a Cemetery
Preventing Destruction
Preventing the destruction of our inactive cemeteries is as simple as making others aware of their presence. According to Missouri law, the destruction of an inactive (or abandoned) cemetery is a misdemeanor.

In the Missouri Revised Statutes, Chapter 214, Cemeteries, Section 214.131 states: Every person who shall knowingly destroy, mutilate, disfigure, deface, injure or remove any tomb, monument or gravestone, or other structure placed in any abandoned family cemetery or private burying ground, or any fence, railing, or other work for the protection or ornamentation of any such cemetery or place of burial of any human being, or tomb, monument or gravestone, memento, or memorial, or other structure aforesaid, or of any lot within such cemetery is guilty of a class A misdemeanor. For the purposes of this section and subsection 1 of section 214.132, an "abandoned family cemetery" or "private burying ground" shall include those cemeteries or burying grounds which have not been deeded to the public as provided in chapter 214, and in which no body has been interred for at least twenty-five years.

In other words, if they know about the cemetery they will be committing a misdemeanor by destroying the it. We must make people aware of even the smallest cemeteries.
 

Cemetery Restoration There is already a great deal of information available on the internet regarding cemetery maintenance and restoration. Rather than attempt to recreate that here, we are providing links to relevant websites. These links address everything from cleaning stones to repairing them. We hope you find the answers to all of your questions on these sites.

These links are provided for convenience only. Their inclusion here does not imply endorsement of the accuracy of their content. If you find a broken link or if you would like to include a site you have found particularly helpful, please contact us.

The Association for Gravestone Studies 
Review and Evaluation of Selected Brand Name Materials for Cleaning Gravestones 
Tools and Materials for Gravestone Cleaning Projects 
Suggestions for Your Cemetery Restoration and Stone Repair Toolbox 
Seven Steps to Cemetery Preservation 
Cleaning a Headstone 
Connecticut Gravestone Network 
Saving Graves 
Gravestone Preservation 

 

 

 


2000-2016, Rhonda Stolte Darnell