A private question was asked about access and maintenance of old cemeteries in Mississippi, and I answered the person, but thought it would also be of  benefit to people who have ancestors buried in old private, village, and church cemeteries no longer maintained, anywhere they are located in Mississippi.

There are laws in Mississippi Code that do not allow “landowners” to descecrate a family cemetery, which is often excepted from a deed when land was  sold “way back when” anyway, and the same laws require Boards of Supervisors to maintain abandoned private or public cemeteries if they are old and/or “historic”.  The laws are MS Code 47-5-441 and MS Code 39-5-19.  There  are others that may also apply.  You can find these under “Mississippi  Code” on the Mississippi Supreme Court home page on line and print them out  (once there, type in such key words as “cemetery”, “restoration”, and  “historic”).

The current owner cannot keep you as a descendant from accessing the cemetery, and you may be able to get a deed from him for some small price, since  he cannot do anything with the cemetery without violating state law and county ordinances.   A trip to the county courthouse and looking at the old  historic deeds on the property may reveal that the cemetery was actually  excepted from the deed when it was sold by the family, which means that new  landowner does not now nor ever has owned the cemetery.   Hinds County  has a number of abandoned family, church, and village cemeteries, as does every  county in this state, and all are subject to being maintained by the counties in  which they are located.  In reality, this seldom happens unless formal  letters specifying the correct information are mailed to the county Board of  Supervisors, and/or to the Mississippi Dept of Archives and History.  Then,  these letters of request need following up on to be sure that action is  taken.  Most of the time, also specified by law, county inmates do the  cleaning and maintenance work. In Jasper County, MS, the Jasper Greys  Civil War organization is doing more family and church historic cemetery  maintenance than their Board of
Supervisors is.

Mary Collins Landin