Skip to content
Coalition to Protect Maryland's Burial Sites Guide

The Coalition’s Guide to Burial Site Stewardship

This 133-page guide provides information to assist individuals or groups on how to proceed when faced with a burial ground that is inadequately maintained, neglected, abandoned, or harmed by vandals. The chapters include: getting started; reading  local/state laws governing burial sites before attempting access; access to burial sites on private property; types of cemeteries and their development; documentation and recordation;  what are the next steps; cemetery CPR and maintenance; miscellaneous topics including: symbolism; gravestone rubbings; mapping; and foil impressions; a glossary; appendices; and an index.

The printed and bound Guide was available for $18, but you may download a digital version for FREE. We only ask that you kindly make a donation to CPMBS at the bottom of this page and add a note to the form mentioning that you’ve downloaded the Guide.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction and Audience
Chapter 2: Getting Started (Identify area as a cemetery and then determine ownership)
  • Look for Signage (May be Hidden, Fallen, Partially Buried)
  • Ask Neighbors
  • Look up Listing in Telephone Book or City Directory
  • Search Online
  • Check Maps
  • Look For Published Oral Histories
  • Check Local Libraries
  • Historical/Genealogical Societies
  • Nursing Homes for Oral Histories
  • Land Records/Deed Research
  • Local Funeral Directors
Chapter 3: Read Local/State Laws Governing Burial Grounds before Attempting To Gain Access
Chapter 4: Access to Burial Sites on Private Property:  Obtaining Permission Form Owner(S)
  • Permission Granted
  • Permission Denied
  • Wishes of the Family Members [locate other families associated with the cemetery]
Chapter 5: Conservation (Pre-Preservation)
Chapter 6: Types of Burial Grounds and Their Development
  • Frontier Graves
  • Family or Domestic Burial Grounds
  • Churchyard, Church Burial Grounds, or Graveyards
  • Potter’s Field
  • Town or City Burial Grounds
  • Country Graveyards
  • Rural Cemeteries
  • Lawn-Park Cemeteries
  • Military Cemeteries
  • Memorial Parks
  • Green Cemeteries
Chapter 7: Documentation/Recordation of Burial Sites
  • Scope and Purpose
  • Photographic Documentation and Initial Review of the Site
  • Site Documentation and Evaluation
  • Mapping the Site
  • Documenting Markers and Monuments
  • Record Monument Information
  • Sharing the Information
  • Owners
  • County Offices of Planning And Zoning
  • Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites
  • Local Genealogical and Historical Societies
  • Local Libraries
  • Cemetery Sites on the Internet
Chapter 8: What Are Your Next Steps?
  • Deciding the Scope of Your Project
  • Locating a Single Grave or a Family Plot
  • Seeking Information from the Burial Ground Owner
  • Report Thefts and/or Vandalism to Owner
  • Other Resources
  • Volunteers
  • Civic Organizations
  • Youth Organizations
  • Community Service Volunteers
  • Forming a Friend’s Group
  • Seek Funding
Chapter 9: Burial Ground CPR and Maintenance
  • Introduction
  • Defining CPR
  • Landscape Restoration
  • Landscape Maintenance
  • Hardscape Conservation and Preservation
  • Hardscape Restoration
  • Hardscape Maintenance
  • Site Assessment
  • Cleaning a Gravestone
  • Cleaning Solutions for Biological Growth
    Resetting Gravestones
  • Landscape
  • Maintenance Plan
  • Secure the Site
Chapter 10: Miscellaneous Topics
  • Cemetery Etiquette
  • Heirloom Plantings
  • Gravestone Rubbings
  • Foil Impressions
  • Photographing Markers
  • Symbolism
  • Stone Carvers
  • Mapping Burial Grounds
  • History in Cemeteries [Reserved for future editions.]
  • Cemetery Safety
  • What to Consider When Hiring a Cemetery Expert
  • Glossary
  • A. Permission to Enter Form
  • B. Site Survey and Assessment (Long form acceptable for use with grant applications.)
  • C. Directions for completing the Site Survey and Assessment Form.
  • D. Gravestone Survey Form (Short form acceptable to record information on the marker.)
  • E. Vandalism Report Form
  • F. Heirloom Planting Record
  • G. Maryland Laws and Regulations Regarding Cemeteries
  • H. Grave Marker Abbreviations
  • I. Grave Marker Symbolism
  • J. Websites
  • K. Additional Reading
Back To Top