Officially, Pioneer Cemeteries are ones that no longer are in use but there are different requirements by region. The Historical Preservation Foundation (HPF) has expanded that definition a little to include active cemeteries that have roots in the 19th century. Since history is not static, the goals for the Pioneer Cemeteries are a constantly moving target .
The HPF has many varied ways to support cemeteries.
- In Pomona, at the Palomares Pioneer Cemetery owned by the Native Daughters of the Golden West, the HPF supported research into the inhabitants of the cemetery.
- The Fairmont Cemetery and San Fernando Valley Pioneer Cemetery, funding was provided for general maintenance at both sites.
- In Auburn there were two fatalities during the construction of a John B. Leonard designed concrete arch bridge. After the collapse in 1911, the two were buried in the Auburn Cemetery in unmarked graves. One hundred years late the HPF along with Auburn Parlor #59 funded the endowment and the placing of granite markers on the gravesite. To finish the rest of story, the Native Sons funeral ceremony was performed at the gravesite.
- The Sloughhouse Pioneer Cemetery had to have many of its gravestones rehabilitated due to vandalism. The HPF matched Elk Grove Parlor #41 for the funding on that.
- The Josephine Mine Cemetery a Pioneer Cemetery which is owned by the NSGW Cemetery Foundation in Georgetown was carved out of the brush in Volcanoville. During this process, Georgetown Parlor #91 started the Native Sons Cemetery and Memorial Park on the surrounding property which is under their management. This site was dedicated in 2015 by the Native Sons.
Pioneer cemeteries come in many different conditions, whether have been abandoned or just maintained, their importance to early California is an important piece of the California story, which the Historical Preservation Foundation of the Native Sons of the Golden West will continue to support.