Cemeteries are intended to be places where the dead are honoured and remembered, but when enough time passes, the people buried there can sometimes be forgotten.
In cemeteries that are still operational, the graves are usually tended to and cared for, even when no family members remain for some of the deceased. Sometimes, sadly, cemeteries become abandoned, churches close or population changes mean there's no longer anyone in the area to care for the graves.
If you've found a need for cemetery restoration, it can be a huge task to undertake. Even if you've located just one or two graves of your ancestors and you'd like to bring them back to their former glory, the work typically takes a lot of skill, not to mention specialist equipment.
Here are some ways you might be able to get help with funding so you can hire a professional team to do the work.
Eliminate the obvious
Before you do anything else, find out if there's anyone still legally responsible for the cemetery; they may have simply lapsed in their duties.
If people are still being buried there, older graves should be cared for too, and there may be a fund available for just that. Likewise, if there's a church still in use on the grounds, they should be able to help you out.
Look for special circumstances
If anyone famous is buried in the cemetery, or there's a historical significance to the area or graves, you'll probably find it easier to get financial help. Contacting local media can be a great way to get attention on your cause if you're struggling to get started.
Contact local government
Those in charge of the area might be able to provide direct financial help. If not, they may well know where to direct you and can find out if there's anyone who should be taking care of the cemetery.
Ask religious organisations
For graveyards on the grounds of an abandoned church, check if the organisation moved elsewhere. Even if they're not still legally responsible, they might be happy to help you with funds or fundraising.
Locate local history groups
History buffs are frequently interested in caring for the relics of the past, so you should find some very helpful people. They may also have insider knowledge on who might be responsible or of available funds for restoring monuments.
Hold a fundraiser
If all else fails, put on an event to raise awareness and collect donations. This can be a really effective way to achieve this type of goal, especially if you capture people's imaginations and get them emotionally invested in your cause.