The Chatham County Funeral Programs exhibit documents the lives and deaths of several generations of Chatham County residents. The collection was established with the donation of nearly 800 programs to the Chatham County Historical Association by Ms. Annie Ruth Burnette in 2011. Major contributions to the collection subsequently have been made by Ollie Crutchfield Burnette, Bertha Dowdy, Phyllis Fearrington, Arzalia Nettles Taylor, and Delphine Goldston Womack. Today over 1,000 programs are available online.
Covering funerals held between 1957 and 2021, the programs typically contain an obituary, a list of surviving relatives, and the order of service. Many also contain a photograph of the deceased. The programs are an excellent source of genealogical information, often including birth and death dates, maiden names, names of relatives, past residences, and place of burial. Collectively, the obituaries provide a rich source of local history about African Americans in Chatham County and neighboring communities.