Tips to preserve historic cemeteries

February 17, 2003

The Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites gives the following tips for preserving historic cemeteries:

  • Contact the genealogical society for the county in which the cemetery is located. The society may have recorded the cemetery and have useful information about its size, age, the people buried there and possibly the names of living descendants.

  • Contact the historical society for the county in which the cemetery is located for additional information about those buried in the cemetery and living descendants.

  • Contact the Maryland Veterans Commission if there are soldiers' graves present. The commission maintains a permanent registry of graves of all persons who served in the U.S. military or naval forces and who are buried in Maryland.

  • Contact the Maryland Historical Trust, which can provide information about the process for an archaeological site survey of the cemetery and about the requirements for listing the cemetery on either the Maryland Register of Historic Places or the National Register.

  • Visit the county tax assessments and land records offices. Try to locate on the tax maps the property on which the cemetery is situated to determine the present owner. Then check the deed of sale to the present owner, as well as previous deeds of sale of the same property, to determine if a protective covenant "saving and excepting" the cemetery was ever recorded in the land records.

  • Contact the Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites for more information about burial site laws and guidance in the restoration of an historic cemetery.

  • Contact nonprofit, civic and patriotic organizations for assistance in cemetery cleanup and maintenance.


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