When the City of Edmonds took ownership of the Edmonds Memorial Cemetery in 1982, headstones and deeds told the ownership of most gravesites. That information is recorded at the Cemetery office.
Some graves, however, are unoccupied with unidentified owners. Many were purchased over 50 years ago and never used. The Edmonds Cemetery Board believes that these unoccupied cemetery lots with no known owners are potential gravesites. The vacant sites will be made available again to citizens who wish to be buried at the Edmonds Memorial Cemetery.
The seven-member Cemetery Board will now attempt to identify each four-foot by eight-foot unmarked burial site with no owner. A legal process known as "reclamation," which is being done in other Washington cemeteries, determines this process.
A five-year posting period is required to complete the reclamation process. This means that notices were added to all unoccupied lots with no recorded activity between 1891 and 1946. Notices request that anyone with knowledge of ownership contact Cliff Edwards, Cemetery Sexton, at the cemetery office.
The reclamation process is outlined below:
On October 17, 2000, the Edmonds Memorial Cemetery Board approved the motion to declare spaces unoccupied.
A sign was posted on each space declared unoccupied, which began the five-year period when owners and family members can identify and claim the unoccupied space(s).
After the five years—on January 1, 2006—the City will file a petition for abandonment with Snohomish County. The petition will ask for an order adjudging those lots that have had no requests from owners or family members to be declared abandoned.
At that time notices will be sent to the last known owner of the abandoned lot and placed in a Snohomish County newspaper for three consecutive months.
If no known owner is found, the City may file a Motion for Default with the Superior Court of Snohomish County. The court will issue the default order, which is estimated to occur in 2006 or 2007.
Reclaimed lots can be sold and a deed granted with good, clear, and sufficient title in late 2007 or 2008. Proceeds from the sale of reclaimed lots must be used for cemetery maintenance.