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"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

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Texas Historical Commission
Historic Cemetery Preservation Program

Importance of Historic Cemeteries

Cemeteries are among the state's most valuable historic resources. Texas has about 50,000 historic cemeteries. These resources not only help identify settlement patterns, they also reveal information about historical events, religious practices, lifestyles, and genealogy.

Grave markers serve as directories of early residents and reflect the ethnic diversity and unique population of an area. Grave marker designs, cemetery decoration and landscaping represent a variety of cultural influences that helped shape the history of Texas.

Threatened Historic Resources

Historic Cemeteries do not necessarily remain permanent fixtures of our heritage. For example:

Texas Historical Commission Resources

Cemetery Preservation Program Staff

Staff members lead the charge to preserve cemeteries across the state. Activities include:

Cemetery Booklet

Texas Preservation Guidelines - Preserving Historic Cemeteries, published by the Texas Historical Commission, gives an overview of cemetery laws and offers information on how to protect and restore historic cemeteries. The booklet includes tips on cleaning, repairing, and maintaining gravestones and cemetery grounds.

Historic Texas Cemetery Designation

Cemeteries that are at least 50 years old and are considered worthy of recognition and preservation for their historic associations are eligible to received the Historic Texas Cemetery designation. This designation, while it cannot guarantee that historic cemeteries will not be destroyed, recognizes their significance and encourages further preservation of these unique resources.

Tips for Protecting Historic Cemeteries

Cleaning Gravestones

Before cleaning any stone, carefully inspect its condition. If the surface readily falls away, you should not clean it. Gravestones should not be cleaned more than once every 18-months. Keep a detailed record of cleaning dates, materials, and change in condition since the last cleaning. These records will allow the stones to be monitored over time. Preserving Historic Cemeteries provides more extensive cleaning information.

Maintenance and Awareness

Regular maintenance and community awareness are two of the best ways to protect and preserve historic cemeteries. Please keep the Texas Historical Commission informed of cemetery preservation projects taking place in your community, we may be able to offer you assistance.

For More Information

For more information or to receive a free copy of Preserving Historic Cemeteries or an application for the Historic Texas Cemetery designation contact Gerron Hite, cemetery program administrator, at (512) 475-4167 or e-mail: gerron.hite@thc.state.tx.us or write to

    Texas Historical Commission
    History Programs Division
    P. O. Box 12276
    Austin, Texas 78711-2276

Also, visit our web site at:        http://www.thc.state.tx.us

The Texas Historical Commission is the state agency for historic preservation. The agency administers a variety of programs to preserve the archeological, historical, and cultural resources of Texas.

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This webpage was last created on 14 Sept 2000 and was last revised on _____ 2000

Copyright © 2000 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604

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Lynna Kay's Other Websites

"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column by Lynna Kay Shuffield

You can visit my personal genealogy research at My Loose Ends Family Tree Database

San Jacinto County TXGenWeb

Milam County Texas War Dead Project which will document the biographical, genealogy and military history of the 270 men from Milam County who have died in the four-wars (WWI, WWII, Korea & Vietnam)

“Clippings from the Cameron Herald

The Scrapbook of Seaman First Class Guthrie F. Layne, Jr., U.S.N., Compiled Aboard the USS Houston (CA-30) from November 2, 1940 through October 2, 1941.

SS Paul Hamilton Personnel Lost at Sea - 20 Apr 1944 - which will document men lost at sea as result of this Liberty Ship sinking off the coast of Algiers, North Africa


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Links to Lynna Kay's articles published at "Ancestry Daily News"

World War I Burial Case Files and the WWI Document Archive - 25 May 2000

100 Years of Submarine History and the Sailors in Your Family Tree - 1 Jun 2000

A Korean War Story & Wartime Experiences Are Being Collected - 22 Jun 2000