'Save A Cemetery' Project Works To Digitize Gravestones

Saturday, November 16th 2019, 7:25 pm
By: Storme Jones

Volunteers gathered at cemeteries across the state Saturday as part of an interfaith project to digitize gravestones.

The "Save A Cemetery" project has volunteers upload photos and information from graves, to an online digital database at billiongraves.com.

Andre Head with the Coltrane Group, with the mission of documenting historically black towns, said recording the graves is only the first step.

“We know when they were born, and when they passed, but we don’t know some of the history,” he said.

Volunteers with the Coltrane Group, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Oklahoma Interfaith Alliance gathered at cemeteries in El Reno, Bethany, Moore and Northeast Oklahoma City.

One of those, the Trice Hill Cemetery, is the final resting place for more than 16,000 African Americans.

“We need to learn more about African American history. We need to learn more about American history, Oklahoma history,” Head said. “There is so much history in this state.”

Documenting graves across the metro began as an Eagle Scout project for Grant Lyon.

“This can help you get the full picture of who they were, where they lived, maybe who their family was,” Lyon said.

Lyons said he got interested in genealogy through his church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.