Finding Your Ancestor’s Cemetery

How can I find where my ancestor is buried? I know information I get from knowing the cemetery or location of burial can possibly offer me answers to many questions. But how do I find out?

  1. Death Certificate. The ancestor’s death certificate often includes the place of burial. Contact the county governing body where the ancestor might have died to get a copy. Rules and regulations about who can access this information varies from state to state. Try this site: com to get started.
  1. Mortuary Records. If you have an idea of which mortuary might have taken care of your decease, contact them or find where their records are maintained. In my community, it is common practice for Catholics to use a certain mortuary. You might try a phone book to get started. You can also contact a mortuary or monument builder to find the contact information for the sexton who takes care of the cemetery records.
  1. Obituaries. Finding your ancestor’s obituary would also help identify the cemetery where he/she is buried. Obituaries are a gold mine of information for genealogists! If you can’t find your specific ancestor, look for obituaries of other family members, church members, or neighbors of your relative and try to knock down your brick wall by using those hints.
  1. Find A Grave. No one site offers burial information for every person. Be prepared to try different sites to look for where your ancestor is buried. Find a Grave at com is very popular and memorial pages can be established without a tombstone picture.
  1. Local Library. Local libraries and genealogy libraries are great places to find cemeteries and who may be buried in those cemeteries. I find that even if I know the location of the cemetery, I will still look at the local genealogy society’s library to find out if they any additional information listed on my ancestor. Most recently I was unable to go my ancestor’s cemetery, but the local societies cemetery books revealed where the ancestor was buried and who he was buried next to.
Kim Hanks

Kim has a passion for Genealogy. After retiring from a career as a teacher, administrator and education consultant, she spent the past several years doing extensive family research. She is a newsletter editor for the Illinois State Genealogical Society and the Peoria County Genealogy Society. Kim is also a member of the Peoria Chapter of DAR Daughter of American Revolution and a member of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.