Cemetery Census FAQ's
If the cemetery if on private property, get permission to enter the property. Even is the cemetery appears to be on public property, check the tax maps available at the county courthouse.
Check the Tuscaloosa Public Library or Hoole Library at the University of Alabama for any census work done on the cemetery. Many of the older cemeteries have sandstone markers that have eroded away since the earlier census work. Check also with the affiliated church or cemetery office for records or maps.
The cemetery census work available is in the books by Alton Lambert (6 volume set), Beasey Hendrix, Jr. and the notes of Pauline Jones Gandrud. This site holds the latest census collection and the most comprehensive listing of cemeteries in the county.
Once you determine the above facts, bring the appropriate supplies to do a cemetery census.
Very soft scrub brush
Large spray bottle of water
Pencil & papers
Record data on the stones exactly as it was inscribed. Don't correct the errors made on the stones even if you know the data is wrong. Make an footnote about any errors you see.
Once you have completed the cemetery census, place the data in the following format:
City, County, State
Township Range Section
Directions to the cemetery, landmarks
Separate genealogical information on those interred.
Row # _______
Marker: Unmarked or marked
Marker Type - Headtone, footstone, tombstone, tablet, table
Marker Material - Sandstone, marble, wood, bronze, other
Marker Faces - N S E W NE NW SE SW
Marker Design -
Marker Condition - Good, broken, missing
Marker Design - Flat, Round, Obelisk, other
Inscription condition - good, worn, chipped, other
Read the following legistation about cemeteries in Alabama before you do any census work. Is is important to follow these laws. Remember never to move any stone or other fixture in a cemetery in order to complete a census.
To amend Section 13A-7-23.1 Code of Alabama 1975, as amended by Act No. 93-770, H 367,1993 Regular
Session, to provide further for procedures for the lawful preservation, restoration, or relocation of any tomb, monument,
structure, or human remains.
Be it Enacted by the Legislature of Alabama:
Section 1. Section 13A-7-23.1 of the code of Alabama 1975 as last amended, is amended
to read as follows:
(a) Any person who willfully or maliciously injures, defaces, removes or destroys any tomb,
monument, gravestone or other memorial of the dead, or any fence or any inclosure about any tomb,
monument, gravestone or memorial, or who willfully and wrongfully destroys, removes, cuts, breaks
or injures any tree, shrub, plant, flower, decoration, or other real or personal property within any
cemetery or graveyard shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
(b) Any person who willfully or maliciously desecrates, injures, defaces, removes, or
destroys any tomb, monument, structure, or container of human remains, and invades or mutilates
the human corpse or remains shall be guilty of a class C felony and upon conviction the person shall
be punished as provided by law. Any person who maliciously desecrates an American Indian place
of burial or funerary objects on property not owned by the person shall be guilty of a class C felony
and upon conviction the person shall be punished as provided by law.
(c) The provisions of Sections 1(a) and 1(b) of this Act shall not apply to any person holding
a permit issued by the Alabama Historical Commission pursuant to Section 1(d) of this Act.
(d) The Alabama Historical Commission to provide for the lawful preservation,
investigation, restoration, or relocation of human burial remains, human skeletal remains, or funerary
object, shall promulgate rules and regulations for the issuance of a permit and may issue a permit to
persons or companies who seek to restore, preserve or relocate human burial remains, human skeletal
remains, funerary objects, or therwise disturb a place of burial.
Section 2. This act shall become effective immediately upon its passage and approval
by the Governor, or upon its otherwise becoming a law.