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Volunteer and Learn

The above video was designed to increase volunteerism across Texas. HAM partnered with the Texas Historical Commission and the Texas Society Daughters of the American Revolution to present this video.

As said in the video “The back bone of cemetery preservation are the Volunteers”. Cemetery preservation would never happen with out volunteers. With anything you want to learn, volunteering to help you will have the benefit of learning. The same goes for cemetery preservation. Many kinds of volunteers are needed.

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You may feel like because of your health you may not be able to help. However, you can do things like research. Or you could consider photographing the stones. Many cemetery managers and caretakers don’t have a collection of photos for each stone. This can be very helpful for preservation later if the stone gets damaged.

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Many larger cemeteries have maintenance crews that cut the grass and weeds. However the cemetery rules say that individual families need to maintain the plots and monuments. This can put restrictions on cemetery preservation. There are cemetery associations and managers who understand after 100 years there could be no family left. I have yet to see a cemetery that didn’t need help. So it never hurts to ask about volunteering to do anything the cemetery may need.

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Your community’s history is setting there in the stones of the cemetery. They tell us about the people who settled in the area and those who fought to defend it. The cemetery helps us to understand our past and connect to our own past family members. We must step up and preserve this history of our ancestors.

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Cemetery preservation also relates to safety. Many children and adults get hurt each year when visiting cemeteries. A word of caution when visiting cemeteries with children, be aware that many of these gravestones can look to a child like a climbing opportunity. A toppling stone can result in injury or death. Please make sure your children stay off stones and monuments, it not only helps keep the children safe but keeps the monument in better shape.

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Most people prefer to take the view of “out of sight, out of mind” when it comes to cemeteries. They can drive by a cemetery ever day on the way to work and never stop to take a look. They may have ancestors there and not even know it. If you live in the same place as some of your ancestors I’m sure you have family in your local cemetery.

You may talk to a cemetery manager or caretaker and they may need help but not have the extra funds to have any preservation work done. Each cemetery will have its own issues. I have yet to see one that didn’t need some kind of help. Before doing any work in a cemetery you must always contact the person responsible for that cemetery. Always gain permission before doing any work. Learn what the rules and regulations the cemetery may have. Some cemeteries may be on private property, so failing to contact the land owner may result in criminal or civil litigation.

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Once you’ve found the cemetery you wish to volunteer at and you have gotten permission you may find that you wish to do more, and for that you need training. Across the country you will find cemetery preservation workshops. If you come to the point of wanting to fix broken stones you will want to get some kind of training. You can click here to find a list of workshops that we know about. If we don’t show any in your city then you can check with your local Historical Society or your nearest large cemetery may know of people who do this kind of work. If you can not find a workshop then at less find someone who does this kind of work and ask to volunteer with them. They can always use help and will be glad to show you how to do something to help you along your way. Please take the time to learn what you need to know so that you don’t damage the historical stones in any way. This website has pages of information to help you. If you have any questions feel free to email saveagrave@gmail.com.

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