- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 3, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - People who want easier access to their ancestors’ graves in family cemeteries are facing legal obstacles in Maine.

There are an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 family cemeteries and ancient burial grounds in the state. Ancient burial grounds hold the graves of several families. Descendants retain rights to visit the grave sites, and those rights are usually recorded in the county registry of deeds. But in some cases the deeds have been lost.

The Maine Old Cemetery Association has been lobbying for legislation that would give descendants access to the cemeteries even if the descendants do not have a deed.

The Legislature’s State and Local Government Committee on Wednesday voted to kill the bill, citing concerns that it would violate the rights of property owners.

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