Wisconsin Historical Society

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Creating a Home Burial Site: What You Should Know

Creating a Home Burial Site: What You Should Know | Wisconsin Historical Society

Has a relative asked to be buried on their farm or homestead? Are you interested in being buried on property that you own? The decisions that you make now can help protect your family's home burials for many years to come.

Check Local Ordinances

Contact your local county, town, or municipality officials before you consider establishing a burial plot on private property. Wisconsin state law does not restrict home burials. However, there may be local ordinances regulating home or private burials, depending upon where you live.

Permanently Protect the Site

It is very important to notify the Wisconsin Historical Society and your local Register of Deeds where a new home burial site is being established. Once you create a home burial site, it falls under the protection of Wisconsin state law. However, as time passes small cemeteries and single graves on private property can be forgotten. Future landowners might accidentally disturb your home burial site. Taking the following steps can help permanently protect your home burial site.

  • Send a map of the burial site to Amy Rosebrough at the Wisconsin Historical Society. A Certified Survey Map is best if you can afford it, and will provide your home burial site with the best protection. If you cannot afford such a map, marking the location as precisely as possible on an aerial photo from Google Maps will work. If the new burial site will be near a marked property corner, measurements north/south and east/west from the corner will also help.
  • Provide information about the site to your local Register of Deeds. When you send a map to the Wisconsin Historical Society, we will contact your Register of Deeds so that information about the site is permanently attached to the property deed. At the same time, the Wisconsin Historical Society will list the burial site in the Wisconsin Burial Sites Catalog. This will ensure that future landowners are aware that human burials are located on the property. You can also send information directly to the Register of Deeds and ask them to contact us.
  • Fill out and mail in a Report a Burial or Archaeological Site Form (PDF, 63 KB). A more detailed record of your home burial will be entered into the Wisconsin Historical Society's Wisconsin Historic Preservation Database. If construction is planned near your home burial site, contractors that consult the database will be made aware that burials are located on the property.
  • Mark individual graves within the burial site with a prominent stone or metal marker.
  • If more than one grave is present, you may wish to mark the boundaries of the burial site with stones or a fence.
  • Protect the graves from disturbances by providing an adequate buffer around the burial site. The Wisconsin Historical Society recommends a minimum of 15 feet on all sides.

File for a Property Tax Exemption

Society staff will help you obtain a property tax exemption for the burial site. See How to Apply for a Human Burial Site Tax Exemption.

Learn More

See more articles about Human Burials, Mounds and Cemeteries

Have Questions?

Call Amy Rosebrough at 608-264-6494 or email her below.