Cemetery restoration means trying to repair the damage that may have occurred in a grave site and making it look new or as it was initially. This differs from cemetery preservation where preservation will be keeping cemetery components, especially stones, from deteriorating. Depending on the extent of damage or the condition of the grave site, various strategies can be used to restore the cemetery.
Cataloguing and Indexing
This is done if information about some of the dead is not known, and it will involve taking pictures of the headstones and presenting them in an information centre. People are given access to the information centre to be able to see if they recognise anyone and thus provide the missing information.
Ground Cleanup, Headstone and Monument Restoration
The cemetery or grave site is probed. The main reason for this is to check for buried headstones. Once found, they are dug up, cleaned, the foundation repaired and the headstone reset.
Most of the time there are usually some cracked or broken headstones, and these have to be repaired. Some may be severely damaged and may need to be remade.
Various elements may also have caused gravestones to deteriorate. The engraving may present as a smooth surface; there may be mould or algae growth and also staining. The information centre mentioned above may help figure out what was written on the stone.
If there is an overgrowth, it is cleared to make the site clean. If there are monuments, the same is done. They are inspected, cleaned and repairs made. After restoration, various individuals will be assigned the role of maintaining the cemetery, which will fall under cemetery maintenance and preservation.
In some cases, there might be war/military veterans buried in the cemetery. Genealogists may be contacted to get the correct information of the veterans and work closely with the Veteran's Services and the VA to get the headstones and monuments restored.
Old cemeteries may lack any surviving family to maintain them. They can be fragile and should be handled with care. They contain information of a locality's cultural, social and historic heritage. That is, the historical or old cemeteries offer genealogical information and data on the history of a specific religion, place, lifestyle or practice. The art of tombstone or headstone carving is also displayed, preserving natural characteristics of the landscape.
Old cemeteries need a lot of help, especially from specialised personnel. The township, in most cases, may not be able to offer this kind of support, and that is why you may find donations being requested on cemetery restoration projects.Share