Cemetery Preservation: Preserving Landscapes of Memories

20 Dec

Graceful Delight

Cemetery Preservation: Preserving Landscapes of Memories

This is part 1 of a 7 part series

Cemeteries are revered as consecrated, sacred places in the community, a place of value to the residents in the community. The Saskatchewan Genealogy Society has launched the SCCMP “The Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program”. The program guidelines, and application information are available online. Through this project, the SCCMP provides matching grants as assistance to restore, and care for cemeteries which are in need of assistance.

As a first step of assistance, please ensure that all cemeteries are registered with the Saskatchewan Cemeteries Registry as per The Cemeteries Act of 1999. The Saskatchewan Genealogy Society has placed a Saskatchewan Cemetery Index online which records the designated Rural

Municipality for the area. All cemeteries need to be registered to protect burial sites in order to maintain and preserved these unmarked sites. Contact the Municipality Clerk in the Rural Municipality office.

As genealogists, archaeologists and historians are aware, cemeteries and their tombstone markers face many hazards, from weathering, commercial expansion, neglect and abandonment. Cemeteries in jeopardy benefit greatly from record creation. Multiple agencies across the province of Saskatchewan are transcribing, video taping and photographing over 3,430 cemeteries. Additionally cemetery indexes area available through Amicus at the Library and Archives Canada. However, the Registrar of Cemeteries has 406 cemetery plans 12% of recorded cemeteries, and the Land Titles Registry notes 700 cemetery land locations, 20% of known cemeteries. In many cases the rural municipality office will have cemetery plot records, however old cemeteries or older cemetery sections may have no known plot records available.

“The common conception that the cemetery holds the memory of all who died and were buried before us is a false one,” writes Meredith G. Watkins. Cemeteries have undertaken Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to ascertain the completeness of their cemetery internment records. The town of Langham, for instance, undertook such a venture to identify burial sites which would correlate with existing cemetery plot records. Such GPR surveys also prevent disarticulation in an inactive cemetery or where cemetery plot records were lost due to office fire or calamity. The resulting cemetery sketches and survey maps are invaluable tools showing all landscape features, height and age of vegetation, terrain type, contour, slopes as well as all burial sites.

Note: This program (Saskatchewan Genealogy Society ~ Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program SCCMP ) has been discontinued, however it ws intriguing, so the information is left here in this blog online

Additional Resources:

Links

Canada Gen Web Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project

Network Canadian Cemetery Management September 2010 Vol 24 No 10

Saskatchewan Gen Web Cemetery Resources and Organisations

Saskatchewan Genealogy Society Cemetery Index

Saskatchewan Historic Cemetery Manual

 SCCMP “The Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program”

Books

Victorian cemetery art by Edmund Vincent Gillon

Bibliography:

Links to sources are embedded in text above.

Additionally:

Redfield, Robert, Ralph Linton and Melville J. Herkovits

1936 Memorandum for the Study of Acculturation. American Anthropologist 38(1):149-
152.

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