- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2016

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) - Columbus’ Friendship Cemetery has been around since 1849, and the information on the people buried there has been unknown to families and historians - until now.

WCBI-TV (http://bit.ly/1T95OFL) reports City Facilities Manager Mike Anderson has created a database that now includes the name and location of every person buried in the historic cemetery.

The 65-acre graveyard holds 12,841 occupied graves and a total of 22,687 grave sites.

For the first time, residents can learn the names and location of where their ancestors are buried. Anderson said all the data was found in outdated computer software and written records, and it took over 200 hours to organize.

“What I did was build a Windows based system, compile all the data into a single database, and now it can be researched very easily based on plot number, who’s buried there, who owns it,” Anderson said.

The cemetery history goes beyond the Civil War, from soldiers from the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, to both World War I and World War II.

Anderson wants to put the database onto the city’s website for the public to be able to conduct its own research.

In addition, Anderson said he found that there are spaces in the cemetery available for families to buy plots.

“We’re running about 56 percent occupancy as far as there are a lot of empty grave sites here but they’re not necessarily available for sale, but I did find some that we were unaware of,” he said.

“Approximately 70 to 75 grave sites are available for sale in the old section of the cemetery.”

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