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San Fernando Historical Society seeks detectives to ID graves

March 5, 2012 |  8:43 am

The San Fernando Historical Society is appealing to local sleuths to help identify more than 200 buried bodies at Sylmar's Pioneer Cemetery.

With more than 200 unmarked plots in the Valley's second-oldest graveyard, the society's Pioneer Cemetery Committee needs volunteers to dig through old records, file through family photographs and look for any other clues that could help identify the dead and buried.

But the work is not for amateurs.

"We need volunteer expert researchers who are very knowledgeable about genealogy," Jacky Walker, co-chair of the Pioneer Cemetery Committee, told the Los Angeles Daily News.  

"With the help of these volunteers, we hope to confirm burials and start restoring grave markers."

Years of vandalism and theft have wiped the graveyard clean of all but 13 markers, the Daily News reported. And though the society has inherited a list of the names of the buried, the accuracy of the list is in question. Last year, a geophysicist determined that Pioneer Cemetery holds at least 214 graves. Historical Society officials said they want researchers to try to match the plots with the listed names.

The group was given ownership of the cemetery -– located near the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Bledsoe Street -– in 2002.

The organization gives tours of the cemetery on the third Saturday of each month. Interested volunteers can reach Walker at 818-970-1286.


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