I received a query this morning asking why I had posted my most recent message (about the
idea of grazing sheep in Pacheco Cemetery as a method to clearing the grounds) to a
certain county's list. With the thought that others might have the same question, it
occurred to me I should share the following thought.
The genealogy mailing lists provide a good way to communicate what is occurring to our
precious and valuable historic cemeteries in California. California Saving Graves (CSG)
is working very hard to try to bring some respect and protection to these places, many of
which are presently endangered or are to a point where abuse and neglect are threatening
their very removal.
The information contained on gravestones in these cemeteries are invaluable genealogical
research tools. The value of the information that the people now "residing" in
our California cemeteries is priceless and irreplaceable. Many rest within them for which
no marker locates the grave and descendants are left to wonder what happen to them.
It is a strangely unique feeling to go to a cemetery to encounter the gravestone of an
ancestor for the first time. That feeling is akin to tying the knot that binds us with
that ancestor. The gravestone may be the only tangible proof of an ancestor's very
existence. Oftentimes cemeteries are the only true links the past many will acquire.
In including the genealogy mailing lists, CSG is hoping to engender support for others
with cemetery problems. The more people that politicians and lawmakers know are watching
these situations, the better the chances are to get them to make the right moves to assist
those cemeteries in jeopardy.
The Internet and Email gives we, the people, more power to observe and participate in
events that affect us in our daily lives and to let our presence and voice be known. We
hope you will not only agree that knowing what is going on at the historic cemeteries
within California is a valuable service, but will appreciate the chance to be a part of
In closing, the legal title to the vast majority of the historic cemeteries of our
state's earliest communities vested in the public through operation of an 1872 statute
known as Political Code Section 3105; excluding, of course, those belonging to religious
entities and fraternal associations by recorded deeds.
We the people (the public) have the right to defend our title to those places so they do
not become abused by counties which ignore the public's legal interest or allow them
to fall prey to private cemetery corporations which will undoubtedly (as already has
happened many times) take advantage of the fact there are no historic records or maps of
all of the burials, especially the unmarked older graves. In those instances, old used
graves are being resold for current and future use.
We hope you will agree.
Sue Silver, State Coordinator
California Saving Graves
A 4th Generation Californian with roots (and ancestors buried) in:
Alameda (Oakland), Amador (Drytown, Forest Home, Jackson), Contra Costa (Pacheco), El
Dorado (Drytown, Pilot Hill), Imperial (Brawley, Calexico, El Centro) Los Angeles
(Burbank), Riverside (Fontana), Sacramento (Sacramento City), San Bernardino (San
Bernardino City), San Diego (Pt. Loma, Penasquitos, Escondido), San Francisco (City), and
Sutter (Pleasant Grove) counties.