Book on Georgetown Cemetery provides great starting point for those interested in history

By Emily Smith

For The Sun News

While some may consider an interest in cemeteries a macabre hobby, Sharon Freeman Corey understands the importance of the buried past while also enjoying the tranquil beauty of today. Another addition in the growing collection of Images of America series, “Georgetown County’s Historic Cemeteries” is a photographic essay of gravesites and historic markers found around the third oldest city in South Carolina.

Corey has dedicated much of her adult life to studying genealogy, which led her to many museums, archives, classes and tours, but also to cemeteries. The majority of the pictures used in the book came from Corey’s own collection, with credits next to the photos that are not her own.

The pictures are grouped by location, and at the beginning of the book Corey provides a map for those interested in knowing where each cemetery is. Her adventures through the burial grounds of Georgetown brought her as far north as Brookgreen Gardens and farther inland along the Black River. She’s also included pictures from one of the nation’s oldest Jewish cemeteries, Beth Elohim Cemetery.

Gravesites and memorials aren’t the only photographs included in the book. There are pictures of relevant individuals, places, even a few historical documents. Everything Corey gathered into one collection was intended to show local history. Corey even states in her introduction how she hopes readers with family from the area will be inspired to keep ancestral records.

She also mentions the deterioration of gravestones thanks to time and Lowcountry weather, the results of which are evident in the dozens of pictures. This, along with the necessary small size of the pictures, makes it difficult to read a majority of inscriptions. Corey’s descriptions are useful in that regard, though by listing names and dates she wasn’t able to add more interesting historical tidbits in most cases.

Though this book only represents a small part of the history steeped in the Lowcountry, Corey’s compendium of cemeteries in Georgetown County has many varied stories. Unique backgrounds are a part each gravesite, historical marker, and location, the importance of which is not lost on Corey.

Corey also provides a few tips in the book for those considering a tour into their local historic cemetery. This all is just the tip of the iceberg, and the readers interested in genealogy, local history, or perhaps even the spooky, will find “Georgetown County’s Historic Cemeteries” an interesting jumping off point.

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At A Glance

Title | Images of America: Georgetown County’s Historic Cemeteries

Author | Sharon Freeman Corey

Publisher | Arcadia Publishing and The History Press

Length | 127 pages

Cost | $21.99