Cemeteries on Private Land in Tennessee

Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter has word that there is a bill being sponsored in the Tennessee state legislature that would “require property owners to grant access to graveyards on their property to visitors. The visitors are defined as “family members, descendants and close friends of the deceased persons buried there.” Visits would be legal for the purposes of visits the graves, cemetery maintenance, genealogical research, and for possible future burials.”

While I am very sensitive to property rights of landowners, there needs to be some kind of middle ground – as an example -according to Dick Eastman, this bill was inspired by a lady who had a child buried in a cemetery on private property – the property was sold, and the current owners would not allow her acces to her child’s grave.

As more and more cities grow into what were previously rural areas, and more land is bought and sold, this could become a major issue over the coming years.

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