One of the best free resources for finding burial records, obituaries, and more is FindAGrave.com. The entries come from predominantly North American cemeteries, but there are a handful of records from around the world: over 132 million total records are currently available.
The site allows you to search by name, with the option to include maiden names as well, or by cemetery. You can also choose to do a partial name search using the last name. For instance, if you know that the person you’re researching had a last name that was something like “Johanson”, you can look for names that contain all or part of that spelling.
One of the truly remarkable resources available through FindAGrave.com is the ability to request the help of a researcher located near a cemetery that interests you – at no cost to you. Some of the entries on the site are text-only, so you can request that a local volunteer take a photo of the headstone or other memorial at the actual location of the burial site. You will need to register for a free account in order to make the request, but the sign-up process is very simple.
Many of the entries are submitted by volunteers as well; they may enter obituaries from their local newspapers as part of the record, leaving you with a wealth of information that goes far beyond a birthdate, death date, and cemetery location.
Who knows? You could even decide you want to become a volunteer yourself!
If you do receive requests for photographs of a cemetery in your area, you are always welcome to decline. In our experience, however, most of the requests received have been “claimed” by another volunteer before having a chance to read the email!
However you choose to use it, FindAGrave.comcould become the next valuable tool in your research toolbox.