Cemetery Records Forum (Q&A)
Recent post: "I am trying to find the grave site of Mary Chance Watson, born 9/24/1817, died 12/20/1898, buried in or around Wallis, Texas. Husband of Willis Dorse Watson. Mother of Hilary Stephen Watson whom she was living with in or around Wallis at her death. She was my great grandmother. I would appreciate any help I could get. She is my link to a Mayflower pilgrim." If you have information, please e-mail email@example.com. Thank you!
Q: I am interested in purchasing a copy of a deceased relative's death certificate. How do I go about doing this? Posted: May 13, 2013
A: The Austin County Clerk's Office (in the Austin County Courthouse) handles all transactions relating to death certificates. Although certificates are available from 1903 and forward, they have a few before that date. You may either purchase one in person, or make a written request. The first certificate is $21.00, and each additional certificate is $4.00. You will need the following information: The deceased's name, birth and death date, parents' names, grandparents' names and reasoning behind the request. (Ancestral, genealogical, etc.) In addition, you will need to provide a copy of your driver's license.
Q: I found a gravestone on my land with a late 1800's date on it. How do I identify who the person is? Posted: March 19, 2013
A: How exciting! If the name is legible, along with birth and death date, you can try to find out information online on the TxGenWeb project by clicking the following link: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txaustin/. In the 'search' box, enter the person's name. There may be several records to choose from. (Austin County Courthouse, Census Records, Newspaper Obits or Church Records.) If nothing comes up, a general search can be done on the Internet. Type in the person's name, death date, County and State. Often times, ancestors will have placed items online that include this person's life history or other information. In addition, you may wish to place a picture on Find-A-Grave to get information or alert possible extended family of the burial site's existence.
Q: I have purchased a family burial plot in a local, private/non-profit cemetery and want to ensure that my gravesite and the gravesites of my adjacent family members will be maintained. What are the guarantees?
Posted: October 2, 2012
A: Unfortunately, there are no guarantees. Private cemeteries are often operated by local Cemetery Associations and funded through the collection of burial fees - fees for gravesites, dirt removal, concrete liner, etc. A Cemetery Association is generally made up of volunteers and folks in the community with ties to that cemetery, and its members are responsible for the overseeing of cemetery care and upkeep. The unfortunate portion is when the Association dwindles in number, and folks move on or pass away. This leaves less people to handle the day-to-day operations and supervisory tasks associated with a growing cemetery and its needs year after year. A good way to help ensure that your family's plot is maintained? Join the Cemetery Association and be a part of its future planning process. Also, talk to younger family members about the importance of keeping the passing family's gravesites visible and clean. This provides future generations with a wealth of ancestral information and a physical connection to the past. In addition, starting a "Friends of ____ Cemetery" or "Adopt-A-Grave" program in the community helps raise awareness of a cemetery's financial and on-going maintenance needs. Click here for Cemetery Association information.
Q: There's an old, overgrown cemetery that needs some care in my neighborhood...I would like to go in and clean it up. Where do I start? Posted: August 21, 2012
A: A great place to start would be to join the Texas Historical Commission RIP Guardian Program.
RIP, in this case, means RECORD, INVESTIGATE and PROTECT. The RIP Guardian Network helps local volunteers take charge of neglected historic cemeteries across Texas by providing educational materials, training and preservation assistance. Per the Texas Historical Commission: "Rescuing a neglected cemetery involves three important steps: 1.) Research - discovering and interpreting facts about the cemetery.
2.) Survey - identifying, gathering data, mapping and photographing a cemetery. 3.) Designate - working with the local County Historical Commission and the Texas Historical Commission to secure the Historic Texas Cemetery Designation, which involves recording the cemetery in county deed records."
Q: Is there a website where I can do some genealogical research? Posted: July 24, 2012
A: Yes! TXGen Web is a fantastic resource for Austin County based historical and genealogical research. Austin County TXGen Web
Q: I would like to visit an ancestral cemetery in your county that is in the middle of someone's pasture. What is the best way to go about gaining access? Posted: June 26, 2012
A: Section 711.041 of the Health and Safety Code states that any person who wishes to visit a cemetery that has no public ingress or egress shall have the rights for visitation during reasonable hours and for purposes associated with cemetery visits. The owner of the lands surrounding the cemetery may designate the routes for reasonable access.
Many of the older cemeteries in Austin County are located on private property and although the law gives us rights for visitation, it is equally important to respect the rights of the property owner. Always obtain permission prior to entering private property. Unsure of who owns the land? Contact the local Austin County Tax Appraisal District at (979) 865-9124 or do a property search at : Austin County Appraisal District . A friendly phone call to the owner or written letter of explanation is helpful in alerting the property owner of your wishes. Posted: June 26, 2012