Texas Historic Cemetery Designation
Have you ever thought of applying for a Texas Historical Cemetery marker for your family cemetery, but you just didnít know quite how to get started? Getting started is probably the most difficult part. Once you begin, youíll find that it really isnít that difficult. The Texas Historical Commission provides a guide that clearly states the criterion for designation and tells how to write the application.
Applying for a Texas Historical Cemetery marker for a family cemetery can be a very rewarding and fulfilling experience. It is rewarding, in that it requires some basic research of your family history. In the process, you may make interesting discoveries about your ancestors. Who were your family members who immigrated to this country? Where did they come from? Why and when did they come? What were their occupations? What were their hobbies, interests, educational backgrounds and religions? It is fulfilling, in that once you have reached your goal and received the marker, you realize that you have honored your ancestors in a very special way. Marking their final resting place as a Texas Historic Cemetery acknowledges the role they played in the history of the state of Texas. It acknowledges the sacrifices they made and hardships they endured to ensure a better way of life for themselves and their descendants.
How do you get started? If you are thinking of applying for a marker for a cemetery in the New Berlin area, call Janie Wallace at 420-3771. Janie and her sister, Vivian McKee, recently applied for cemetery marker for their family cemetery, were successful and would be willing and able to walk you through the process. You may also contact Mr. John Gesick, Chairman of the Guadalupe County Historical Commission for information. He may be reached at 830-379-6717. Another resource is the Texas Historical Commission at P.O. Box 12276, Austin, TX 78711-2276. To reach them by phone, call 512-463-6100. They will be happy to send you their packet of materials explaining the process and will answer any questions you might have.
Two basic criterion govern the approval for the Historic Texas Cemetery designation: (1) the cemetery must be at least 50 years old, and (2) deemed worthy of preservation for its historic associations. You will need to write a brief narrative history that relates its significance to the local area and provide documentation to establish its boundaries. Establishment of boundaries can be achieved very simply by obtaining a map from the County Tax Appraisal District Office. You will also have to provide black and white photographs of the cemetery.
In researching your ancestry, many resources and records are available. The Dittlinger Library in New Braunfels has many volumes of passenger shipís lists. They contain the names and ages of all passengers, where they were from, their destinations, their dates of departure and arrival and their dates of departure and arrival and their occupations. That is an interesting place to start. Other sources of information are land records, census records, church records, citizenship papers, will probates, birth and death records, marriage records, funeral home records, obituaries, newspapers and cemeteries,
Cemeteries are among the most valuable of historic resources. Names on grave markers serve as a directory of early residents and provide insight into the unique population of an area. Tombstone marker designs and cemetery landscaping exemplify cultural influences that helped shape the history of Texas.
New Berlin has numerous family cemeteries. We believe the following list is comprehensive, but are always eager for information we may have missed: Hoese, Warncke, Doege, Schultze, Linne, Hoffman, Schmidt, Boecker, Beutnagel, and two unmarked cemeteries on separate properties. Ideally, we hope to obtain a marker for each of these cemeteries. This, of course, requires community involvement. An interested person from each family would have to clear the project with the family, write the narrative and provide the documentation for the application. The New Berlin Historical Society would be happy to assist in any aspect of the project.
Cemeteries help to define the character of a community, and marking them as Texas Historic Cemeteries will give a strong sense of history to the community. People are more likely to protect and maintain these cemeteries when they realize their significance. The Texas Historic Cemetery marker is a positive way to reaffirm the fact that these places are sacred ground and are treasured by the community.
If you would like more information about obtaining a Texas Historic Cemetery marker for a cemetery in the New Berlin area, please contact the New Berlin Historical Society. Call Janie Wallace at 830-420-3771 or Vivian McKee at 830-303-1305.
Contributed by the New Berlin Historical Society.