Recording and Memorialising Cemeteries

20 Dec

Graceful Delight

Recording and Memorialising Cemeteries

Part 4 of a 7 part series.

Through the Rural Municipality office cemetery clean up committees are established throughout the province to care for active cemeteries. Volunteers come together with lawn mowers, weed whackers, and chain saws to maintain active burial grounds to comply with their community standards.

Education is the key, to preserve a derelict cemetery. For historical conservation purposes it is wise to learn what to do, and what not to do. The Saskatchewan Historic Cemetery Manual and the A Graveyard Preservation Primer by Lynette Strangstad outline precautions necessary to increase awareness about cemetery preservation. Use caution in an historic cemetery site near large cemetery monuments, as these too, may break and topple. Trained volunteer cemetery crews, archaeologists or professionals recommended by the Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation are required for preservation work on an historic graveyard in need of restoration. For such work, grants and assistance is available.

Non-invasive methods of reading fading inscriptions is imperative to preserve information for future generations of genealogists. Do no harm is mandated, headstones should not be sprayed with solvents or cleaning supplies as these may enter cracks, and further erode the stone. A simple mirror or plain rain water may help to bring out the shadow play on the inscription. “Rubbings” onto paper should never be made on stone which is soft and may break apart under the process further eroding a delicate stone. For example when attempting to read an eroded head stone, do not make rubbings with light weight paper that the wax or ink colour may bleed through.

Photographing a tombstone from a variety of angles and a tight close up opens up the capability for image enhancement in photo software to enlarge, and manipulate photos to bring out the natural contrasts, and highlights in the photographic image.

Share your photographs or transcriptions with one of the many agencies recording and memorializing cemeteries in Saskatchewan. A kind courtesy to other researchers is to take photos of all the tombstones, and then submit them online to an organisation such as the Canada Gen Web Saskatchewan Cemetery Project

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:


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”


Victorian cemetery art by Edmund Vincent Gillon


Links to sources are embedded in text above.


Redfield, Robert, Ralph Linton and Melville J. Herkovits

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


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