To carry out its mission in the Tennessee Valley, TVA had to alter the landscape.
The agency’s major construction projects required relocating roads and utility lines, as well as inundating many acres of countryside. As an extension of these construction projects, TVA undertook the difficult and delicate task of relocating thousands of graves.
Surveys were conducted of all cemeteries in the project areas. Beginning in 1933, more than 69,000 graves were investigated, and over 20,000 graves were relocated. TVA moved the graves from areas that were to be flooded and from isolated sites to comparable burial places nearby.
The removal was done in accordance with state law and the wishes of the next of kin. In addition to relocating the graves, TVA cleaned, repaired and reset monuments and headstones at the reinterment sites.
TVA's Cemetery Relocation Database
After completing removal operations, TVA mapped the reinterment cemeteries, assigning each cemetery and grave a number. It is from these records that the cemetery relocation database was created.
The database contains the following information for each individual, if known:
- First and last names
- Birth and death dates
- TVA project name
- State and county
- Original cemetery and grave number
- Year the grave was relocated
- New cemetery name, number and grave number.
View the cemetery database in two formats:
All original records relating to TVA’s Cemetery Relocation Program, including permits, removal orders, grave inventory sheets, maps and field notes are now housed at the National Archives, Southeast Region. To view this documentation, please contact:
5780 Jonesboro Rd.
Morrow, Ga. 30260
Fax: (770) 968-2547
Be a Citizen Archivist!
Want a glimpse of life in bygone Appalachia while helping genealogists and other researchers? The National Archives and Records Administration needs volunteers to help transcribe its vast historical records, including those on families impacted by the construction of TVA dams. Learn how to join the effort.