In colonial times, families were required to keep their own cemeteries. Visitors to Ocracoke Island marvel at the close proximity of the living and the dead, with grave markers just outside a front door, in the backyard, or just across the fence. Ocracoke has more than seventy-five small family plots, and since 1950, one big Community Cemetery. While most opt to use the Community Cemetery, state law requires only that the top of the coffin be eighteen inches under ground, and Hyde County has no law regulating burials. Even in the twenty-first century, backyard burial is still an option.