Language Translation
  Close Menu

Cemetery & Burial Registry

Location information and survey data on each cemetery and burial ground in the state is being gathered and entered into the DHPA's Cemetery and Burial Ground Registry. The DHPA has the mandate of recording all Hoosier cemeteries and burial grounds, not just "historic" cemeteries. To manage the vast amount of information being collected, the DHPA has created a searchable database.Cemetery

DHPA staff has created preliminary lists of cemeteries within each county and is visiting cemeteries in order to complete the survey form, gather GPS readings for each site, and photograph the area. Researchers are also using deeds, newspapers, and mortuary records to locate cemeteries that are no longer marked or visible. Archaeological research and evidence can also be used to find sites. 

The survey form records the cemetery's location, the number of grave markers, a general assessment of the cemetery's condition, ethnic and/or religious affiliations, special groups represented (e.g., veterans), and architectural features such as wrought iron fences, statuary, mausoleums, and formal landscape designs. Because there are about 20,000 cemeteries and burial grounds in Indiana, it is not possible at this time to document each grave marker, inscription, and name. The Cemetery and Burial Ground Registry can be found as a dataset within our office's online database SHAARD.

The data is also linked with a geographic information system (GIS) to generate maps showing the location of cemeteries. The map, known as the Indiana Historic Buildings, Bridges, and Cemeteries is a great place to start. Not all cemeteries are mapped. Those where the exact location is unknown might have a SHAARD database entry but not a map point.

This project also assists with the enforcement of state legislation intended to protect cemeteries from development. State law (IC 14-21-1-26.5) requires that any person planning to disturb the ground within 100 feet of a burial ground or cemetery for the purpose of erecting, altering, or repairing a structure must submit a development plan to the DHPA. This law does not prohibit construction near a cemetery (if the development plan is approved by the DHPA), nor does it prohibit moving cemeteries if the proper permits are acquired. This law only requires that developers' plans take into account cemetery locations. The database will be a tool that developers and builders can use to determine if their planned activities will affect a cemetery or burial site in the vicinity of their project.

The Cemetery and Burial Ground Registry Staff conduct a number of public education and outreach programs. Publications, workshops, and presentations are intended to increase the public's understanding of cemeteries, prehistoric burial grounds, and the need to preserve these sacred places. This project will ensure that the cemeteries in use today do not become the lost and forgotten cemeteries of tomorrow. The DHPA encourages and welcomes public involvement in this program to help preserve these important pieces of our cultural heritage.

Other Cemetery Resources

 Upcoming Events

More Events

 Top FAQs