Cemetery Preservation

Help Save an Important Historical Asset

Cemeteries are important historical assets that tell about a community’s past; they are monuments to the people who once lived in our communities. In this rapidly changing world of increased development and land purchases it is more important than ever for Kentuckians to research, find, document, photograph, map and protect family and local cemeteries.

KHS offers these programs and educational resources to help individuals and organizations in their efforts to document and preserve cemeteries:

Kentucky Cemetery Census

KHS encourages local history groups to conduct a comprehensive survey of all cemetery and burial sites in the state. To take part, call 502-564-1792 and ask for the cemetery preservation program or send an email to mandy.higgins@ky.gov. Our census is a continuation of the work started by the Attorney General’s Office in 2000.

Pioneer Cemetery Marker

Families and communities can apply to designate a cemetery for early Kentucky settlers as a “pioneer” cemetery. Pioneer cemeteries receive a marker to designate their status. Application Packet (opens as PDF).


Kentucky cemeteries need ongoing care. Some, abandoned over time, need major rehabilitation. Others need only light maintenance. Kentuckians can care for the cemeteries in their communities through the Adopt-a-Cemetery program. Learn how (opens as PDF).

Cemetery Preservation Education

KHS provides resources to individuals and organizations that are interested in the protection and preservation of our historic cemeteries and grave sites, including educational materials about appropriate cleaning and repairing techniques for old gravestones. Learn more: call 502-564-1792 (ask for the cemetery preservation program) or send an email to mandy.higgins@ky.gov.