Men of the Georgia Division and friends,
One of the items which I promised to deliver to our Division if I was elected commander at our Reunion last month was the online grave registry on which former Commander Jack Bridwell and many of you have already done so much work over the last few years in cataloging the graves of our Confederate heroes. I am happy to announce that the grave registry is now up and online for your use and for you to download if you wish. You will find the Registry in the menu on our Division website. Here is the link.
Many thanks to Chief of Staff Pete Giddens and the men of the 9th Brigade for providing approximately 1,500 of the graves included so far. They have set the bar high and challenged each of our brigades to likewise catalogue the graves in the counties where you serve. I urge you to make this a priority between now and next Confederate Memorial Day to have your counties properly catalogued; it would make a great project in which to involve our families. Many of you have already done a great deal of the work over the past several years in anticipation of the day that our registry would be online; it is now here.
The initial data which is online in the grave registry includes 1,574 of our Georgia men who served Dixie in the struggle for freedom. There are reportedly as many as nearly 100,000 Georgians who served the Cause of the South during the War; so, as you can see, we are still a long way from having them all listed in the registry. It will be up to each of our camps in the Division to provide the information about the graves of our Confederate ancestors in each county. On the registry page of our Division website, you will also find a blank spreadsheet which already has the different "fields" to fill in for each grave; you need not feel like you must fill in every field. It will be up to each camp to determine how much information they wish to include for the graves that they report. PLEASE USE THE SPREADSHEET TEMPLATE WHICH IS PROVIDED IF AT ALL POSSIBLE. It can be downloaded from the grave registry page on our website. This will make the process much faster for getting your grave information included in the database. If however, you already have grave information in some other format, please email it to your brigade commander; and the Division will take care of having it converted. The most important thing is to get the data collected and sent in for it to be put online in the registry.
Finally, while I understand that this initial version of the online grave registry may not be as aesthetically appealing as we might wish, just having it brought to fruition after so much planning for the last few years makes it beautiful, nevertheless. I am also happy to report that this initial version has been created at no cost to our Division, which I'm sure you will agree makes it even more attractive! Nevertheless, we will still plan to look for an alternative which is more pleasing to the eyes and perhaps even more functional; now that we have the data in an online form, it can be made to work with other database programs which may be purchased. For now, though, our emphasis should be on collecting the data to make it as exhaustive as it can be of our Georgia heroes.
While you certainly may wish to catalogue the graves of Confederate veterans from our sister states as you work, our grave registry for the Georgia Division will only include our own Georgia veterans, both regular service and militia. Please do not send information concerning veterans from our sister states to be added to the registry. Once we have diligently attempted to record every grave of our Georgia men who are buried in Georgia, we can then begin the more tedious work of locating our men buried abroad outside of the state; but that is for a later time, for there is plenty of work to be done here at home first.
Again, I thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Division commander.
For Georgia First,
Ray McBerry, Division Commander
Georgia Sons of Confederate Veterans