Daily Point of Light # 2264 Oct 8, 2002

The Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS), founded in 1977, consists of nearly 1200 volunteer members spread throughout North America, with a scattering of members on other continents. The majority of these volunteers lives east of the Mississippi and are passionately dedicated to the preservation and study of grave markers of all periods and styles.

These fragile, yet, irreplaceable stone markers are often the only remaining record of historical, artistic, and genealogical information for families, individual towns, or entire areas. The markers are slowly deteriorating due to inclement weather, vandalism, or poor cemetery maintenance. AGS volunteers not only aim to preserve these markers but to educate the public of their societal importance.

Each year, AGS conducts a number of free programs for this purpose, including arranging volunteer cemetery clean-up events, disseminating information on stone restoration techniques, and assisting local groups in the preservation of their own cemeteries.

Additionally, the Association is presently involved in the compilation and publication of the first comprehensive record of African-American burial sites and practices. AGS has saved numerous cemeteries and gravestones from the ravages of time and neglect. In the past few years alone, AGS, through its annual conferences, has led restoration projects in Boston, MA, Portland, OR, Providence, RI, Washington, DC, and just this past summer, in Savannah, GA.