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The acquisition of land for the relocation cemetery is complete, and the remains of the 101 individuals recovered from Avondale Burial Place will be relocated to the Bethel AME Church cemetery in Peach County.  Bethel AME has an established church cemetery located approximately 10 miles from Avondale Burial Place (ABP).  Finding a cemetery with enough space to accommodate the burials was challenging, but we have succeeded in finding one that has sufficient space.  Additionally, negotiations with the Bethel AME Church took longer than expected because details such as access, maintenance, and location within the already established site had to be worked out and agreed upon.


Because the burials within the Avondale Burial Place cemetery were arranged in what appeared to be family clusters, one goal was to be able to reinter all remains together in one place with the cluster arrangement intact.  Now that the site has been purchased, New South Associates is developing the final plan, arranging for development and clearing of the new site, and selecting monuments for the new burial site.  Since the re-internment of 101 people will require more than one day to complete, a memorial service will be held after the burials have been completed.  We will be contacting you with proposed dates for this occasion soon.  It will be held soon after the first of the year.


We also wanted to give you an update on progress being made on the DNA testing.  As you may recall, DNA samples from individuals recovered at the burial site were sent to the University of Oklahoma (OU) some time ago.  In addition, New South identified 11 potential descendants who were sent DNA participation kits.  Five kits were returned to OU and some preliminary results have been shared with us.  Two of the five living potential descendants appear to have some common lineage with four of the deceased recovered from Avondale Burial Place.  Because this relationship looks promising, OU has asked if there are any others who might wish to participate.  Please contact Julie Coco at New South (770-498-4155 ext. 103; if you or someone you know within the family would like to participate in DNA testing.


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