Horry County Cemetery Project creates digital map of more than 800 cemeteries

Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 11:17 PM EST
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CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Uncovering buried history one tombstone at a time.

The Horry County Cemetery Project created a map of all the cemeteries in the county to make sure everyone can be remembered forever.

“I’ve been walking cemeteries since I was a little girl. I’ve always loved them,” said Horry County Preservation Commission Cemetery Project Chairperson Brenda Long.

It’s a good thing Long loves cemeteries because she’s had to spend countless hours in them the past few years.

She’s in charge of the Horry County Cemetery Project, which has been working since 2007 to catalog every burial plot in every cemetery in the county.

The group is geographically tagging every tombstone on a map, also attaching a picture and everything written on each stone so all that information will be available by simply searching a name.

“They can actually see the graves of their ancestors, or friends or whatever,” said Long. “And it’s not just open to us. It’s open to anyone with a computer.”

Brenda says 90% of the known cemeteries in the county have been covered so far, so she’s optimistic they’ll be done in the next couple of years.

She says they only have about a dozen cemeteries left to go, and have catalogued more than 800 already.

And even if there isn’t a headstone, the plot is still marked on the map to show someone is buried there.

The team uses a scanner to help them find unmarked graves.

“You see a change in the ground and you can see where the ground has been disturbed,” said Long.

Preserving history is the main goal, but the project also hopes to protect cemeteries from development by making sure the county is aware of where people are buried.

Long is excited to know that her love for cemeteries as a little girl has led to making sure the memories of countless people in Horry County won’t be forgotten.

“Being able to do this for the county is very fulfilling,” said Long. “It really is. I feel that if we do not acknowledge a tombstone, then that person ceases to exist.”

The Horry County Cemetery Database is available by clicking here.

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