Providing Education and Support to Municipal and Nonprofit Cemeteries in Georgia
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The Georgia Municipal Cemetery Association is a recognized resource for cemetery professionals, historians and preservationists interested in cemetery preservation, advocacy and education. Our cemeteries, whether large or small, reveal the richness and historic fabric of Georgia's history. Through innovative workshops and conferences, GMCA's goal is to be a key resource to preserve our treasured cemeteries and burial grounds.
Laurel Grove Cemetery - Savannah, GA
Conference and Workshops
Registration is now open for the 2019 GMCA Conference in Savannah, GA. Register now!
Click here for the conference agenda.
Cemetery professionals, historians and preservationists have enjoyed workshops that have been held in Savannah, Social Circle, Brunswick and Vienna. Our workshops offer unique, in-depth approaches to a variety of topics that have included cemetery rapid assessment, disaster preparedness, stone restoration, ground penetrating radar and using aerial videography (drones) to map and record cemeteries.
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If you have a topic that you would like to hear at an upcoming workshop or conference, we encourage you to contact your Region Director. We will do our best to accommodate your requests. If you have a location that you feel would make a great place for a workshop or a conference, please let us know.
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Henry Milhollin of Douglas, GA and Stan Rogers of Rome, GA demonstrate how to clean a soiled monument using D/2 at a workshop in Vienna, GA.
DEVELOPER TO PETITION TO MOVE FAMILY CEMETERY
On June 6th, 2019, the Savannah City Council voted to approve the relocation of the Densler Family Cemetery. Potential petitioners have thirty days to object to the move, otherwise the graves will be moved to the city-owned Laurel Grove North Cemetery, where the Densler family has relatives buried.
The situation began when a development firm began construction of an auto parts store on recently purchased land. A former neighbor spotted the construction and contacted city officials, stating that there was a cemetery on that location. Construction was halted and an investigation revealed that a former land owner had moved the headstones to Gravel Hill Cemetery, but had not moved any human remains. The gravestones show the names of four individuals, Michael and Ann Densler, and two of their sons, David and John.
The firm hired New South Associates, a cultural re-sources management firm with extensive experience in locating and relocating cemeteries. Mechanical stripping of the topsoil with a backhoe revealed four potential graves. When the soil was troweled smooth and moistened, the darker soil of the filled grave contrasted sharply with the surrounding yellow-brown sand.
The excavation stopped short of uncovering any human remains. However, plastic was laid and large metal objects were placed over the graves so they could be easily relocated with metal detection after the excavation area was refilled.
Georgia’s Abandoned Cemetery Law requires a search for living descendants, but the search does not have to be exhaustive. The search for descendants of the Denslers consisted of a report prepared by a genealogist as well as public announcements in the local newspaper and media. No one came forward, with the exception of Dr. James Densler of Atlanta. Densler’s ancestors were slaves on the Densler plantation, and it is not known if he is genetically related to the Denslers buried there. He had no objections to the family being relocated.
Should no objections arise, the graves will be relocated to the Frederick Densler lot in Laurel Grove North Cemetery. Frederick was the brother of Michael Densler. In a nearby lot is Sophia Densler, daughter of Michael and Ann, who was buried in 1857 in the lot of family friends. Sophia never married, and was responsible for placing the large ledger stone for Michael and Ann. On it reads:
THIS MONUMENT IS ERECTED BY A BEREAVED CHILD
TO THE MEMORY OF HER DEPARTED PARENTS
This incident has reinvigorated a push for the City of Savannah to develop an archaeological ordinance. Back in 2016, a petition on change.org titled “Pass an Archaeological Ordinance in Savannah, Georgia” received over 1200 supporters.
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