The Tennessee Historical Commission (THC) has created a new Statewide Historic Cemetery Registry and interactive map. It is now available on THC’s website. The map is currently populated by data from the Commission’s cemetery database, which contains more than 32,500 cemeteries statewide. The Commission is now taking applications to add additional historic cemeteries.
The public map contains various overlays which will enable the viewer to compare a cemetery’s location topographically, geographically, and even historically as Tennessee county borders have often shifted over the decades. THC hopes this map will be a valuable tool for historians, genealogists, developers, landowners, realtors, and state agencies for the purpose of preserving and protecting burial sites.
The new registration process is intended to provide the public with a way to document historic cemeteries for the purpose of preservation efforts, this includes old cemeteries that are on private property.
Created for the purpose of collecting digital information about historic Tennessee cemeteries, the goal is to increase public awareness, attract funding to maintain the cemeteries, and to encourage preservation efforts. Cemeteries that do not meet the criteria to be added to the register will still be noted on the state database as to location and other information.
“Not only is the register intended to honor a particular cemetery, but it also provides a way to attract and increase public interest, maintenance, and community involvement,” notes Graham Perry, who coordinates the Historic Cemetery Program for the Commission.
Applications to submit a cemetery for the registry are available on the THC website. Submissions that meet established criteria will be automatically added to the registry and the map. However, prehistoric Native American cemeteries are not included on the map.
The cemetery database can be explored by zooming and panning. After exploring the map, the THC is asking anyone knowing of a cemetery that is not shown on the map to use the survey form on the left of the THC website page to submit any new cemetery to the Tennessee Historic Cemeteries database.
Any additional details can be added to the database by contacting Graham Perry via email at [email protected]. For more information about the Tennessee Historical Commission, please visit their website at: http://www.tnhistoricalcommission.org. For more specific information about a particular cemetery shown on the map or about the Tennessee Historic Cemetery Register, contact Graham Perry at (615) 532-0087 or [email protected]