« Previous Next »

Page :« 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 ALL»

Montgomery County Cemetery Inventory Project

Abstract Submitted for Oral Presentation by Anne Brockett
Nationwide Cemetery Preservation Summit
October 19-21, 2009

The Montgomery County (Maryland) Cemetery Inventory Project is an ongoing project to document and protect the county’s many cemeteries. In 2003, members of the Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites identified several goals towards preserving historic cemeteries in Montgomery County and formed an informal Montgomery County Coalition. The group’s initial objectives were divided into phases, with the most urgent being identification of all cemeteries in the County and compilation into one discreet inventory. A second phase would build on the data collected in Phase I for further planning towards cemetery preservation initiatives.

The project is now in Phase V with continuing support from the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission and additional sponsorship from the Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites, Peerless Rockville, and Historic Takoma, Inc. The project has been coordinated by Anne Brockett, an architectural historian with specific interest in cemetery preservation.

The project’s purpose is not to identify each burial or to record specific gravestone information. Rather, it is to create a baseline of information on this resources type so that decision-making is informed, actions can be taken and policies developed – all with the goal of protecting the county’s historic cemeteries for future generations. The initial thrust was to compile a working list of cemeteries, locate them, photograph them, and complete a survey form for each one. To date, 260 cemeteries and burial locations have been identified and surveyed, including prehistoric sites, as identified by the County archaeologist.

Specifically, the projects phases were as follows:

Phase I (2004) goals included identifying the county’s numerous family, community, and religious cemeteries and creating a database to compile information about each one. Using existing published and unpublished lists of burial grounds, a Microsoft Access basic database was developed. Volunteer surveyors were trained and dispatched to each cemetery to collect locational information using handheld GPS units, photograph the site, and complete survey forms and log sheets.

Phase II (2005) saw the creation of a GIS map showing the locations of all cemeteries linked to the initial database. Work also continued to input field survey data into the database and to expand it with new research and additional cemeteries. A Cemetery Watchlist was developed to identify the county’s most threatened cemeteries.

During Phase III (2006) edits were finalized for the Access database and GIS map for delivery to the Montgomery County Planning Department to assist in locating cemeteries for owners, developers, and planners. All survey forms and the GIS-generated map were posted on the County’s Historic Preservation Office website. Each inventory form, search indexes, and a cemetery bibliography are now available at http://www.montgomeryplanning.org/historic/education/cemeteries.shtm. The paper copies of the files were delivered to the Montgomery County Historical Society where they are available for public research at the library. The project also developed strategies for preserving and promoting historic cemeteries, such as those identified on the Watchlist.

Phase IV (2008) built on the efforts of Phases I-III by identifying and reaching out to cemetery owners and the public regarding the cultural, artistic, educational, and historical importance of cemeteries. In order to determine what types of products, programs, or assistance would be welcomed by cemetery owners and caretakers, a questionnaire was developed in consultation with the Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites to ascertain owners’ needs and interest levels. Each owner of record as well as known caretakers (e.g. adjacent neighbors) was mailed a copy of the questionnaire, which also included information about the Cemetery Inventory Project. The County’s GIS, which includes tax data, helped locate owner names and addresses.

Results of the questionnaire are still being returned with positive responses for information on cemetery history and care, both in print form and/or through training. The current Phase V (2009) will assess these needs to develop appropriate training, workshops, and publications that best address the most pressing interests of cemetery caretakers. The work continues….

Presenter Information:

Anne O. Brockett
Architectural Historian


Anne Brockett is an architectural historian in the District of Columbia Historic Preservation Office. After receiving an M.S. in Historic Preservation from the University of Oregon, she worked as a cultural resources specialist with URS Corporation on preservation projects nationwide and as a preservation planner for the City of Rockville, MD. Her work with cemeteries includes managing the Montgomery County Cemetery Inventory Project, a largely volunteer effort that surveyed over 250 cemeteries in Maryland; preparing a cemetery restoration guide; and drafting cemetery design guidelines. She teaches an introductory course in Historic Preservation at Montgomery College and sits on the board of Montgomery Preservation, Inc.

« Previous Next »

Page :« 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 ALL»

Share →

4 Responses to Nationwide Cemetery Preservation Summit Abstracts and Video

  1. […] View Current Schedule and Abstracts […]

  2. Robert Wrigley says:

    My wife’s gr-gr-grandfather is a Union soldier buried there. When we visited this grave site last October we were quite dismayed at the condition and damage done to the stones by lawn mowers running over and chipping it. At the time we did not know the full history of the markers being altered in the 1930s. We would fully support the efforts to restore them.
    Would it be possible for a private citizen to be able to contribute to the restoration of their family’s marker or replacement? Perhaps a volunteer effort of those with relatives there could help accomplish some of this initiative to restore to their original condition.

    • Jason Church says:

      Dear Robert,
      The best person to talk with will be Betsy Dinger Elizabeth_Dinger@nps.gov who is a historian for Petersburg National Battlefield and Cemetery.

    • Bryan Cheeseboro says:

      Mr. Wrigley,
      I don’t know if you’ll get this message but I would be very interested to know which of the men buried at Battleground Cemetery is your wife’s gr-gr-grandfather. I am a historian and I have spent the last several years researcing the battle of Fort Stevens and Battleground National Cemetery. Does your wife have a photograph of her ancestor? That would be a goldmine. I have never seen any picture of any of the men killed at the battle.

      If you can be of help to me, my e-mail address is bryanac625@yahoo.com. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *