Many funeral homes have taken up the idea of starting cemetery preservation societies. This is especially true in cases where a funeral home may have purchased or expanded into abandoned cemetery land. If you are a funeral director that is considering creating a preservation team, then one of the assets you should consider is a historian. Here are a few of the benefits to having a historian on your preservation team.
Knowledge of Engravings
When you begin the preservation, you will notice that some of the older monuments and headstones may have issues with the names and dates. You may also notice that some of the names are hard to read, but the dates are there. One way that you can narrow down dates and possible names is through the ability to read and understand other engravings. For example, urns located on the top center of a dual burial plot can indicate a Jewish family burial site. An engraving of a weeping willow tree can indicate the stone was from the Victorian era. A historian with a background in engravings would be able to spot this and help you narrow down the timeframe for the headstone easily.
Registration of Historical Sites
You may find that one or more of the plots are significant to the history of the area. For example, there may be a former council member buried in the cemetery or a local historical figure. You may also find that members of founding families are buried in the plot. If this is the case, you can have the cemetery registered as a historical burial site and gain certain funding for the preservation. Having a historian on the team can speed this process up since most historians will know the steps that are required to meet the historical classification for a cemetery and to have it properly registered.
One aspect of the cemetery preservation that you may not consider is the type of material that is used depending on the time period of the cemetery. For example, granite is popular now with most headstones and monument companies. However, marble and limestone were popular in other time periods. If you are going for a historically accurate preservation, then you will want to ensure you keep to the material used in that time period. A historian, especially one with specific knowledge of the time period, will be able to help with this and help maintain the structural material throughout the preservation process.
These are just a few of the benefits to having a historian on your cemetery restoration team. If you think you are ready to begin building your team, discuss the options with your co-founder and team of directors. You can locate many of the available historians through local universities and historical preservation societies.