52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy – Abandoned Cemeteries

This entry was posted by on Tuesday, 28 February, 2012 at

Following Geneabloggers 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy, I decided to write about cemeteries. Cemeteries are the week #9 prompt for 2012.

One thing which has been bothersome to me as I got interested in genealogy is that of abandoned cemeteries. I found quite a number of cemeteries which have fallen into disrepair.  Do you know of an abandoned cemetery?  If so, reply to this blog. Let me know the cemetery name and location. I’ll try to contact someone from that area.  Perhaps town or county officials are unaware regarding the state of disrepair of the cemetery.  A Boy Scout Troop in the area might have a scout looking for a Good Eagle Scout Project.

One cemetery which is in a very sad state of disrepair is Scutt Cemetery in Preston Hollow, Albany County, New York.  Someone took transcription of the cemetery back in 1994 and posted it on rootsweb: Scutt Cemetery Transcription . It is a small cemetery. In 1994 when the transcription was taken there were only 57 gravestone markers which were recorded. These records have also been loaded to Find a Grave .

This cemetery is the last resting place of at least one Revolutionary War Veteran by the name of Abel Ford. Perhaps there is more revolutionary war veterans buried there. Abel Ford was my ancestor. According to his revolutionary war pension record he served during the time the American forces were defeating General Burgoyne in upstate New York. He was discharged and left a few days before General Burgoyne surrendered.

A number of Abel Ford’s family members are buried in the same cemetery. His wife Abigail who died 22 years earlier is buried there. Two of his sons Reuben Ford and Solomon Ford along with their wives Eunice and Nancy respectively are also buried there. A kind woman a year or two ago volunteered to go the cemetery for me and was able to photograph Abel’s gravestone. I will be forever grateful for her kindness. At that time a number of markers which had been transcribed only about 15 years earlier were no longer to be found.

I wonder what can be done for these small abandoned cemeteries. I’ve tried unsuccessfully so far to get some interest from the local and county authorities to restore this small cemetery. I keep trying and I’m hoping eventually the funding and interest will be there.

7 Responses to “52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy – Abandoned Cemeteries”

  1. I totally understand your frustration about abandon and uncared for cemeteries it breaks my heart. I love cemeteries. I have since I was a child. There are people who do fix and repair pioneer cemeteries. Mark Davis, from Marion, Indiana is one such person. I have worked with him in cemeteries in Indiana and he repaired a family stone for me in Fort Wayne. Keep looking. You may very well find someone in New York who will go clean that cemetery up.

    I love you site. I will keep reading and learning from you!

    Thanks, Jan Smith

    • Jim Sanders

      Hi Janet, Thanks for stopping by and I’m happy you enjoyed the site.

  2. Cary

    Besides using find a grave… give this websites a try: http://www.billiongraves.com

    It is super easy with a smart phone to document a cemetery! People are documenting WHOLE cemeteries, rather than just the ones they are related to.

    If somone wants to help but doesn’t have a smart phone, they could help index the tombstones uploaded to this website.

    A person must register to upload pictures to the site or do transcriptions but it’s FREE to do so… even the app for the smart phone is FREE. Check it out!!!

  3. I share your frustrations with abandoned cemeteries. I sent an email and a second request email to my MD representatives in October and never have rec’d even an acknowledgement: Darnall Family Cemetery, Route 258, Anne Arundel County, MD. The farmer where this cemetery resides years ago planted cedar trees all around the 18 or so graves to enclose and hide them. There is a 36″ fence inside the trees and the grave stones from the 1700-1800s are being covered with brush. And, a formerly active cemetery in Calvert County, MD “Southern Memorial Gardens,” Dunkirk, MD, went bankrupt. People who had paid fees for funeral services in advance lost their money. Individuals who knew last summer took to mowing their families lot areas. So sad…

    • Jim Sanders

      It’s very frustrating. This cemetery has at least one civil war veteran and it’s unlikely the gravestones will last much longer at all.

      Regards, Jim

  4. Linda Greenwald

    I share the passion and frustration with these old cemeteries. The question is how to motivate a contingency of independent and passionate individuals to perform “miracles” to reclaim and sometimes restore these last remaining clues of our heritage. Perhaps a regional call to action at these genealogy conferences could press the cause. Perhaps we could motivate youth groups to assist. Perhaps a conversation with the BSA for a merit badge element being added to the heritage badge. How many registered BSA folks are there? Just thinking…


    • Jim Sanders

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks for your thoughts. I actually tried to contact a troop from the area, but didn’t get very far. I was thinking an eagle scout project as well might help. I’m a former boy scout myself and earned the rank of eagle.

      Regards, Jim

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