Preserving historic cemteries begins with you. Cemetery preservation is community-driven and begins with grassroots efforts.
It is important to educate city and county officials about cemetery preservation issues, and inform state legislators of the need for stronger state laws. Elected officials are not always aware of historic preservation challenges in the community and they will welcome input.
A working knowledge of federal, state, and local cemetery laws is essential, as is an effort to publicize attempts to protect and care for cemeteries when possible.
Here are a few things you can do:
- Record unidentified and abandoned cemeteries in your area with a Notice of Existence of Cemetery form (PDF). This form, filed with your county clerk’s office, will add the cemetery to the county deed records, allowing future landowners knowledge of a cemetery on their property.
- Apply for a Historic Texas Cemetery (HTC) designation. This process provides the Texas Historical Commission (THC) with additional information about the cemetery and is accompanied by detailed information including the history, a map, photographs, and historic deed records.
- Form a cemetery association or 501(c)(3) corporation. A cemetery association can create rules and regulations that can protect the cemetery. It can also raise tax-deductible funds to aid in cemetery maintenance, clean-up, preservation, and conservation efforts.
- Keep the THC informed of cemetery preservation projects taking place in the community. If you need additional help or information regarding historic cemeteries, or if you would like to talk with a staff member about the HTC designation, please contact the THC’s Cemetery Preservation Program staff at 512-463-5853, or firstname.lastname@example.org.