Chicora Foundation and Southern Genealogical Research

Today’s Follow Friday is about the Chicora Foundation and Southern Genealogical Research in the United States.

The Chicora Foundation is a Columbia, South Carolina non-profit heritage preservation organization founded in 1983. Their work includes archaeological and historical research throughout the Southeastern United States, public education (primarily in South Carolina), and work in conservation and preservation with museums, libraries, archives, historic organizations, and private citizens. One of their four specializations is cemetery preservation, particularly for African American cemeteries.

Genealogists working in the southern United States should find Chicora’s archeological newsletters of interest, particularly those including articles about cemetery and gravesite preservation in the South. They also offer four publications of interest:

Cemetery Disaster Planning. 28 pp.  This booklet provides immediate advice on why and how to prepare a disaster plan for your cemetery, reviewing some of the more common cemetery problems, including hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, and vandalism. It provides comprehensive and up-to-date information on recovery techniques, including FEMA funding. The booklet can be downloaded here.

Recording Historic Cemeteries: A Guide for Historical Societies and Genealogists.12 pp. wire stitched. This booklet focuses on why and how to record historic cemeteries and graveyards. It provides essential advice for those beginning cemetery preservation projects.  ISBN 1-58317-045-6   Click here to view.

Grave Matters: The Preservation of African-American Cemeteries. 16 pages wire stitched. Explores the unique and exciting history of African-American cemeteries and how they can be easily damaged or destroyed by development or a lack of understanding. Suggests ways that this heritage can be preserved for future generations.  ISBN 1-58317-008-1   Click here to view.

Iconography of Death: Common Symbolism of Late Eighteenth through Early 20th Century Tombstones in the Southeastern United States. 60 pages perfect bound. This easy to use guide helps you recognize and interpret the most commonly used symbols found in cemeteries throughout the Southeast, giving researchers a better understanding of hidden meanings. It also offers a better appreciation of the varied and important aspects of the lives of people who have gone before us. ISBN 0-5831702. $15.00. See Ordering Chicora Publications for details.

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About the Author:

Nancy Loe has an MA in American History and an MLS in Library Science and Archives. She has appeared on PBS’s American Experience, at Rootstech, SCGS Jamboree, and state and regional genealogy conferences. Her website was featured in Family Tree Magazine's “Social Media Mavericks: 40 to Follow.”

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