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Promoting the preservation and protection of the burial sites, cemeteries, and grave yards in Maryland.

Promoting the preservation and protection of the burial sites, cemeteries, and grave yards in Maryland.

27th Maryland Statewide Cemetery Conference and CPMBS Annual Meeting 
Saturday, May 5, 2018
The Conference Center at Sheppard Pratt, Towson, Maryland
Register Today!
Most of us imagine a burial as a respectful and dignified laying to rest of a person who touched our lives and contributed to our culture.

Over time, however, burial sites in Maryland have too often been neglected, not maintained, unprotected, and the victims of expediency and exploitation by persons seeking a short-term economic or personal goal. The Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites (CPMBS) believes that neglect or the willful desecration or destruction of burial sites is unacceptable in a civilized society. Our members appreciate the importance of burial sites as hallowed grounds, irreplaceable cultural resources, and sources of valuable genealogical data often found nowhere else.

CPMBS is a State-wide nonprofit organization of volunteers dedicated to protecting and preserving historic Maryland cemeteries. Membership in the Coalition is open to Marylanders and others who care about their heritage and their ancestors. The Coalition recognizes that many burial sites are established through a purchased right of burial that is protected by the laws of Maryland, with such right passing on to the relatives of the deceased, and which right cannot lawfully be abridged by others at will. These beliefs led individuals in the summer of 1991 to form a group that would address concerns not covered by existing laws and organizations. Learn more by reading About Us.

The Coalition is grateful for financial assistance from Preservation Maryland and the Maryland Historical Trust to enable this website.


Cemetery Preservation Act of 2018 (HB877 and SB1242) — CALL TO ACTION


House Bill 877 received a unanimous vote in the Health & Government Operations Committee (HGO) on Saturday afternoon.  Although there was no public opposition, certain sections of the bill were removed.  The bill will be voted on by the full House of Delegates on Monday.  (You can watch the replay of the February 28 hearing here which starts at the 0:54 minute mark)

Senator Joan Carter Conway of Baltimore City filed Senate Bill 1242, which is identical to HB 877 as amended.  It will be heard by the Finance Committee on Thursday, March 22, at 1 pm in Annapolis.

Your help is needed now and through the first week of April, after which the General Assembly adjourns. 

An outpouring of grass roots support is alerting our legislators about the need to protect Maryland cemeteries and to encourage their caregivers and advocates.  Please phone your senators in the Finance committee with brief messages about why you care and ask them to vote positively on these bills  …in committee, in the full Senate, and in this session.   

This legislation is the most comprehensive burial sites protection to be proposed in Maryland since the early 1990s.  Read the summary of these bills here.  They will correct several unfortunate existing circumstances and provide a better future for many needy burial sites in Maryland.  Let’s take make progress this year!

Contact CPMBS president Eileen McGuckian  (301-468-7331, if you have questions and to say what you are willing to do at home and in Annapolis between now and April 9.



Grant to Stop Stormwater Runoff at Annapolis Historic Cemetery

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has awarded half a million dollars in funding to fix the stormwater runoff problem at an historic Annapolis church cemetery. Asbury Broadneck United Methodist Church is home to a historic cemetery where members of the African American community have been buried for over 150 years, including former slaves and Harriet Tubman’s descendants. The church, located near Whitehall Creek in Annapolis, floods during significant rain events.

Read the full article here.


Neighbor hopes state will restore, maintain cemetery

About 20 years ago, Maureen and Bill Norton were looking at oysters in a tidal creek off of the Potomac River in southern St. Mary’s County. Maureen started walking through the nearby woods and came across an iron fence surrounding a small plot of headstones among the ivy and the trees.

In the ensuing years, the vegetation has continued to grow over the cemetery, some headstones have fallen over as well as part of the fence. The ornate gate of the iron fence has gone missing.

Called the Hencoop cemetery, there are five generations of three families buried there. The land became part of Point Lookout State Park when the Maryland Department of Natural Resources bought 444 acres around Cornfield Harbor Road in 1992.

Read the full article here.

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Preservation Maryland Interview with CPMBS President, Eileen McGuckian

PreserveCast podcast episode is now available online!

When you picture a historic cemetery, you probably imagine a place that’s calm and serene. When you picture cemetery preservation, the fact is that the work done by folks like our guest this week Eileen McGuckian, of the Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites, requires a lively energy and lots of grassroots enthusiasm. Eileen McGuckian is here to fill us in on the ins-and-outs of cemetery preservation in general. This week we’re spreading the preservation love as we welcome guest host Meagan Baco.

Listen here!


Historic Maryland Cemeteries selected as Preservation Priority

On October 13, 2016, Preservation Maryland’s new class of Six-to-Fix projects was revealed to a packed room at the Maryland Zoo’s historic Mansion House in Baltimore. This innovative impact-focused program is designed to help provide real solutions to big preservation challenges. The prestigious statewide organization selected Historic Maryland Cemeteries as one of six strategic projects for 2016-2017. CPMBS views this partnership with PM as a unique opportunity for owners, caretakers, and advocates of historic Maryland cemeteries to take giant steps forward.


Across the state, some of Maryland’s most sacred sites are endangered by environmental factors, lack of clear ownership, and development pressures.


Working closely with the Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites, Preservation Maryland will help call attention to the many cemeteries that are in disrepair, organizing volunteer clean-up days while also providing pro-active information to the greater community about historic cemetery maintenance, repair, and protection.


Applications For Trader Foundation Grants Are Due On July 1, 2018

The Trader Foundation for Maryland Burial Sites provides financial assistance for worthy projects to rejuvenate endangered historic Maryland cemeteries. The Foundation invites applications for grants up to $2,000 to qualified parties. Application deadlines are January 1 and July 1 of each year.

The project or program must benefit a specific burial ground in Maryland, and Trader funds must be matched by the grantee in cash or in kind. Examples of eligible projects include rescue of an endangered site, gravestone conservation or restoration, documentation, protection of burial site from desecration by nature or by man, cemetery clean-up, and planning for restoration. For further information and the application form, click here.

Apply now...

Meetings are open to all members.

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