Beginning a graveyard restoration, regardless of how run-down, should begin with documenting the yard. Documentation of the yard in its present state is essential. This would include photographic and textual recording, as well as mapping the site.
Making changes to the graveyard from its present condition is a serious undertaking, even if it is in a bad state of deterioration. It is imperative that a record of its present status in time be documented and also any subsequent changes. We have chosen to do this by videotaping our activities. This could also be done via slides or black and white prints.
In order to save some time and to aid in accuracy, determine if any records of the graveyard already exist, such as a map, registry, or epitaph transcription. These might be located at an associated church, city or county records, or the local historical society. Often, small historical societies take on as a project the recording of city or county cemeteries and the inscriptions on the stones. This work may have been done years ago or was not exhaustive, particularly if the graveyard was in bad shape, but the records can save time and serve as a cross reference for your own work.
Earlier transcriptions may help to decipher some very worn and hard to read ones, although be careful of mistakes made earlier. These should get extra attention and any mistakes corrected. Early maps might indicate markers that are no longer visible or are missing. Sometimes markers are relocated to the wrong place.



 The Yard

 Photographic Record

 Textual Record