Record of Family Burying Grounds, Accomack County, Virginia

One of the programs initiated by the Roosevelt administration to cope with the Great Depression of the 1930's was the National Youth Administration,  which operated from 1935 to 1943. The program hired young people at low wages to work on local projects.*   One such project was the recording of information on tombstones in Accomack County. The resulting work was the basis of Graven Stones by Jean Merritt Mihalyka and Faye Downing Wilson. In their own words:

During the late 1930's, Sally Kellam Buchanan, Mrs. F. F., served as Director of the National Youth Administration for Accomack County. Keenly interesetd in genealogy and local history, aware that many private grave plots were disappearing, and needing projects for her NYA program, Mrs. Buchanan organized groups of young people to copy data found on the old markers. The resulting compilation was placed in the Accomack County Clerk's Office and is referred to in this work as "1940 record". Coverage of plots and accuracy in copying was not consistent but the undertaking is not to be discredited. Some of the approximately 2,000 stones then recorded have disappeared during the intervening forty or fifty years. It has served as a springboard for our recent work and has proved a valuable guide in many instances. (Mihalyka, Jean Merritt, and Faye Downing Wilson. Graven Stones, Inscriptions from Lower Accomack County, Virginia, including Liberty and Parksley Cemeteries. 3rd ed. Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, Inc., 1992;  v.)

The compilation in the Accomack County Clerk's Office is titled the Record of Family Burying Grounds, Accomack County, Virginia, and is comprised of two handwritten volumes giving names and locations of cemeteries and the names of those buried there together with the inscriptions on the stones. While Graven Stones contains many thousands of entries not recorded by the NYA project, it rarely gives inscriptions, hence the peculiar value of the Record.

Both volumes of the Record have been filmed and are available from the indexes. In general, the order of cemetery names is alphabetical.

* This information was drawn from Wikipedia. See the Wikipedia article here.


Text and photographs © Copyright 2010-2012 by Wayne L. Stith