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Indiana

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I’ve been singing “Back Home Again in Indiana” as I have moved back to Indiana from Kentucky. I believe the state of Indiana has a good knowledge of the cemetery locations within the state. In July 2000 the Indiana General Assembly Passed IC 14-21-1-13.5, which authorized the Indiana Department of Natural Resources – Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology (DHPA) to locate and survey every cemetery and burial ground in the state. They appointed Jeannie Regan-Dinius as Cemetery Registry Coordinator. I have met her and she is a lovely lady who really seems to care about Indiana cemeteries and she is glad to give you information. She can be contacted by email at jrdinius@dnr.in.gov.

Jeannie works with hundreds of interested volunteers to help get all Indiana Burial Gounds registered in the state by county. This project will not read every tombstone to document individual burials. The DHPA welcomes public involvement in this program, contact Jeannie for information on how to volunteer. Indiana has ninety-two counties and the data collection varies from county to county. Each year DHPA co-sponsors with the Indiana Historical Society a series of workshops to teach cemetery preservation.

Indiana law gives the responsibility for maintaining abandoned cemeteries in the state to the township trustee. They must keep the cemeteries in a respectable condition by removing all unsightly accumulations and debris. The one problem is that the funds for any maintains is taken from the township funds. So many will do minimal work in each cemetery. They are always in need of volunteers and funds to help with the cemeteries. The trustee may also run active public cemetery using any plot fees to help maintain the cemetery.

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Until 1999, farmers could legally remove the stones and plant over the cemetery. They could even build on top of them. The Indiana Pioneer Cemetery Restroation Project begun in 1997. Many volunteers join this effort to generate public awareness about neglected pioneer cemeteries in Indiana.

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The Association of Gravestone Studies was founded in 1977 to further the study of preservation of gravestones. AGS is an international organization with an Indiana Chapter who has a facebook page.

I attended the Fall meeting at the Monroe County History Center and nearly 30 people came. After lunch attendees visited White Oak and Rose Hill Cemetery. The next meeting will be held Saturday April 6, 2013 at Franklin College in Franklin, IN. For more information about the Indiana Chapter please contact Chapter Chair Joy Giguere at jgiguere@ivytech.edu

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