Cemetery Committee

Linda Gregory, Co-Chair - genealogyrocks1n2n3@gmail.com

Sandra Hayes, Co-Chair - slhthin@frontier.com


This committee is responsible for all activities related to the preserving and restoring cemeteries and cemetery records.  Several laws have been changed recently regarding access to cemeteries on private land, making repairs to damaged stones, and using probes to find unmarked gravesites.  Currently, comittee members have completed transcription of the Vigo Countycemetery books Nelson Eddy provided.  They have had members go to almost all the cemeteries in Vigo Countyand take photographs of the remaining headstones, transcribe their photos, and transfer their information to an external hard drive. There have been several "new" cemeteries found that do not appear on the maps currently in use, so they have the enormous task of creating a new map, with GPS coordinates, to be distributed.  They will also make CD’s available to send to the various local libraries, the state library in Indianapolis, and the DNR with all of our information.  If you have any information on a cemetery that is not listed on the current map in VCPL Special Collections or held by the county office, please contact Linda.  Several have disappeared, by neglect or design.  The members are extremely hard working and really enjoy what they do.  Many have physical limitations, which they overcome to wade through the brush, up hill & down, fighting bugs all the way, just to complete work on a cemetery they have agreed to work on.  We cannot adequately express to anyone who has not undertaken this sometimes difficult task, the rewards this work generates. If you are interested in helping transcribe books with cemetery information, checking the records already completed for accuracy, or want to walk a cemetery and take pictures, please contact Linda at genealogyrocks1n2n3@gmail.com .  It keeps you busy in the cold, winter months before your fireplace and/or computer. The members of the Cemetery Committee try to meet once a month to discuss current events regarding cemeteries. They also discuss anything that members find regarding cemetery research, here in Indianaand elsewhere.  They meet at a local coffee shop, where they can plug in their laptop computers and exchange information.   New members are needed.


Workshop and Project - Gravestones Restored at Rose Hill Cemetery

Saturday, May 7, 2011 was windy, rainy, cool day. But the weather did not deter twenty-one people from attending a cemetery restoration workshop held at Rose Hill Cemetery in Vigo County.

The restoration workshop was sponsored by the Wabash Valley Genealogy Society (WVGS) and was led by Brad Manzenberger of Franklin, IN. Mazenberger became interested in cemetery restoration after finding some damaged and broken gravestones of his own ancestors.

To increase his restoration skills, he attended several restoration workshops sponsored by the Indiana Historical Society and Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training. In 2004 he formed his own restoration company, Stone Revival Cemetery Restoration, in Franklin, IN.

The workshop began with a brief review of Indiana law as it relates to cemeteries. Manzenberger then demonstrated the proper procedure for carrying out various restoration techniques. Participants learned how to safely clean gravestones, reset tilting or fallen tablet stones, epoxy broken stones and level and reset large stones using a tripod hoist. After the instructional portion of the workshop was completed, participants eagerly set about cleaning and resetting stones.

One group of individuals started work on cleaning, repairing and resetting smaller tablet stones. This involved digging up each fallen or tilting stone, leveling it and resetting the stones with a sand-pea gravel mixture. Some small stones were broken. After the stones were thoroughly cleaned, the individual pieces of the stone were joined by using epoxy and claiming the pieces.

A second group elected to work on the much larger stones. To level and lift the extremely heavy sections of these "stack" type monuments it necessary to use a tripod hoist or a small tractor with a front end loader to lift and reposition each section. After Brad effortlessly reset a pillar on a base with the tri-pod, everyone could hardly wait to get to work on some of the large stones that had been toppled.

Eventually the miserable weather at the beginning of the day turned into a sunny, warm afternoon and enabled the hard-working crew to reset a total eighteen stones and monuments. There were so many to pick from, as the cemetery has suffered extensive damage due to downed trees and vandals toppling the large monuments. With the hard working help and equipment available, the group tried to get as many stones done as possible in one day.

As the work day ended, Janice Phillip, WVGS Cemetery Committee Assistant and VCPL Special Collections Microfilm Assistant, said, “…it would be such a surprise to the family when they came here and found some of the markers restored."

After most everyone had left, a lady who had been visiting the new section of the cemetery, stopped and asked, "Are you restoring some of the stones?" It turns out that she has grandparents, parents, and in-laws buried at Rose Hill and was visiting their graves before Mothers Day. She was so excited to see that her grandparents monument (Charles & Elizabeth Edington) and been reset.

She had been so upset that it had been toppled and figured she could not afford or have a way of getting it upright again. She was thrilled that the group had made the effort to restore it and could not express her thanks enough to everyone involved. It was such a "feel good" moment to know how much it meant to her. It made braving the elements to spend the day working at Rose Hill all worthwhile.

Contributed by Linda Gregory, WVGS Cemetery 

Committee, Chair.

Click on pictures to see larger image.

Brad Mazenberger discusses gravestone restoration techniques with WVGS Restoration Workshop  participants

Workshop participants reset a tablet stone.

A section of a large monument gets lifted and reset using a tripod lift.