Chatham County Cemetery Survey
One of CCHA’s most ambitious ongoing projects is the Chatham County Cemetery Survey. Since 1989 volunteers have visited hundreds of Chatham County burial sites to record information about each cemetery and all of the individual gravestones located there—all in an effort to save at least some information about these fragile remnants of Chatham’s history.
Hundreds of small, family cemeteries dot Chatham’s landscape, although most are hidden from view. These sites, along with church cemeteries, contain important historical information—about births, deaths, marriages, and family connections—that, in some cases, can be found nowhere else.
The information about cemeteries and grave markers, along with photographs, that CCHA volunteers have collected over the years are available online at Cemetery Census.com. The data on that site can be searched by cemetery or by the name of the deceased. Cemetery locations are shown on Google maps. The site is updated frequently—as volunteers collect new information or make corrections based on photographs.
Grave markers deteriorate over time, and the information they contain is lost. Gravesites are destroyed when developers, timber companies, farmers and homeowners are not sensitive to the signs that they exist, or to their historical significance. The goal of CCHA’s Cemetery Survey project is to identify these sites and record the information while we can, to preserve it for future generations. Learn more about the history of the CCHA Cemetery Survey.
Of course, a job like this is never done. More gravesites are being discovered and reported, and some reports that have long been on the books still await visits. We have expanded our goal to include photographing every cemetery and every inscribed marker in the county. Photographs are the only sure way to permanently save the important information that grave markers contain—allowing us to see what actually appears on the marker and make our own interpretations. Learn more about our Cemetery Photo Project.
If you have information about a cemetery or gravesite, questions, suggestions, feedback about the cemetery database, or want to volunteer to help document and photograph the county’s gravesites, contact us at CemeterySurvey@chathamhistory.org. We’ll be grateful for your help!
How You Can Help
Chatham County Historical Association
https://chathamhistory.org ~ firstname.lastname@example.org ~ PO Box 93 ~ Pittsboro NC 27312 ~ 919-542-6222 ~