Humans have visited the graves of their ancestors for thousands of years. Finding these graves, whether they’re for someone you know or a relative long past, isn’t always a simple process. While it’s easier to find graves today than it’s ever been before, there is still a lot of guesswork. This is particularly true if you’re not sure where to start your search.
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Visiting the grave of an ancestor is often a powerful experience. It puts your lineage and mortality in perspective, and it’s also an opportunity to respect those who died before you.
If you haven’t taken the time to find the gravesites for your ancestors, you might feel like a piece of your genealogy puzzle is missing. If you’re ready to start your journey of discovery, follow these steps to find a loved one’s grave in a cemetery.
How to Find a Marked Grave in a Cemetery
If your relative is in a marked grave, breathe a sigh of relief. This makes the process of searching for their grave much easier.
Most modern graves are marked and recorded in some way. If you’re searching for a marked grave, follow these steps.
1. Collect information about the deceased
If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’ll never find it. Start your search by collecting important information about the relative. If you’re searching for multiple graves at once, compile as much information as you can. You’ll need information from vital records like:
- Full name (first, middle, last)
- Date of birth
- Date of death
- Location of death
While it’s easy to get caught in the details of a person’s life, it’s their death we’re really concerned about. The location and date of their death are essential to locating their grave quickly and simply.
How do you find this vital information? A great place to search is census records, family religious texts, or other records. Obituary archives in newspapers are also a great resource.
2. Check online resources
Once you’ve collected the information you need to start your search, it’s time to locate the grave. The best place to start is also the simplest — online. It’s no surprise that with our wealth of online tools today that there’s also a way to find graves online. This makes the entire process so much easier.
Two of the best resources for searching graves virtually are:
Volunteers run these websites, and they photograph gravestones and regularly upload these photos. By entering the vital information of your relative, you can quickly see if any photos of their graves are online. It could be this simple to find exactly what you’re looking for.
3. Contact the county or funeral homes
If you don’t have luck with any of the websites above, don’t fret. There are still ways to find this information. Start by contacting any funeral homes that were in business during your relative’s time of death. These are the ones most likely to have records of where ancestors rest. You might have to make several calls, but they will have this information.
If you can’t locate the right funeral home or it’s no longer in business, contact the county clerk’s office where they died. Ask to speak to the Vital Records Department. Sometimes you’ll need to pay a fee or prove your relationship to the relative in order to access this information, but they’ll know where to find the grave in most cases.
4. Visit the cemetery
Once you’ve located your loved one’s grave, it’s time to find their grave. Some cemeteries are large, so this step is often more intimidating than it sounds when you’re faced with rows and rows of graves.
The good news is there’s an easy way to avoid searching endlessly. If this is a modern cemetery, they most likely have a website. There should be a map or search feature that makes it possible to locate your relative’s grave quickly. Even if the cemetery doesn’t have a website, call to ask about the location of the grave.
Graves are typically organized into blocks, lots, and sections. You’ll find the number engraved on the side of the gravestone usually, or there’s some other indicator of the lot and grave number. Using markers, like grave epitaphs are also helpful.
5. Find the grave
When you’ve found the grave in-person, take some time to reflect. This can be a powerful, emotional moment, even if you didn’t know the relative personally. Many people find it soothing to clean the grave, bring flowers, or write a note. However, before taking any action, learn how to clean a headstone properly to prevent damage.
Bringing small grave decorations is often a sign of respect. For graves that have been untouched for decades, flowers, or other mementos are a sign that someone is thinking about this person. Allow yourself to spend time with the grave and reflect on the journey that brought you here.
Finding the grave of a loved one can be challenging, especially when families are more spread out across the US today than ever before. If you’re looking for a grave of a family member overseas, then it will likely require even more patience. But with a few tips, you can get started in the next few minutes.
For starters, it will make your research much easier if you know a person’s first name, last name, date of death, and location of death. From there, there are many free online grave and obituary search resources that can help you make it the rest of the way.
How to Find a Death Record
1. Know the person’s full name.
If you’re looking for someone, it’s important to know their basic information. For starters, knowing a loved one’s full name sounds easy enough but can be a challenge. Many immigrants to the United States recount having changed their names accidentally when processing their immigration paperwork or purposefully to get a better chance at getting hired due to historical biases against certain immigrants. If you think you know a person’s full legal name but aren’t sure, start by asking relatives to confirm the information. Look through birth certificates or relevant documents to confirm a full legal name.
2. Find or guess their date of death.
When looking for a death record, it’s important to know a loved one’s date of death. If you don’t know it, start by asking relatives to confirm the information. If they don’t know, consider asking to see any documents they may have that might cite a date of death. It’s useful to know a loved one’s date of birth because it can help you identify a relative range of years in which they lived. If you can guess the relative range of years or decade in which a person passed away, you can try searching national, state, or local city newspaper archives to find an obituary.
3. Find their place of death.
To find where a person resided when they passed away, it’s useful to already have a death certificate. But if you don’t have one handy, you can start by asking relatives to confirm the information. Consider also looking through legal documents, probate records, wills, and trusts. In addition, if you can locate their obituary, the obituary will typically include their place of death.
4. Contact the city or state for a copy of their death certificate.
Once you know the person’s place of death, then you can simply reach out to city or state officials for a copy of their death certificate. If you’re having trouble locating an official or a contact, try searching online for their website – they will usually have a directory for a web page that explains how to request a copy of a death certificate. Keep in mind that you will likely be asked to pay a fee for a copy of the death certificate.
5. Use the internet.
There are many sites that can aide you in your search for someone’s death records. Sites like Ancestry.com or Familysearch.org let you enter in the information you have on hand and will perform a search through their database for you. These sites also have guidance on locating death records for individuals who have passed away a long time ago, so it’s useful if you’re looking for historical information and data.
Now that you’ve discovered the place of death of a loved one and even received a copy of their death certificate, you might be thinking “Hmm, how might I find the cemetery they were buried in?” Or better yet, you might want to find their specific grave so that you can make a visit to pay your respects in person.
How to Find Someone’s Cemetery or Specific Grave
1. Check the cemeteries of family members.
It’s often traditional for families to be buried near each other. If you can’t seem to find the grave of a loved one, it might be easiest to talk to family and figure out where any relatives have been buried. In particular, if you know a loved one’s place of death, this can narrow down your search. If you decide to visit a cemetery, consider speaking to a staff member who can provide you with a map or guided instructions to the family grave site.
2. Contact other funeral homes in the area.
If you know the city of death of a loved one but not much more, try calling local funeral homes to track down where someone may be buried. Funeral homes keep extensive records of the deceased and locations where each are buried. In fact, the funeral home might be listed on the obituary itself, but if not then it may be best to research local funeral homes. Start with the better known funeral homes and work your way down the list. When you chat with the funeral home, you can simply ask them if they happen to know the cemetery or burial location of your loved one. Giving them the full name
3. Ask the cemetery for a map and guided instructions.
Once you’ve identified the cemetery in which a loved one is buried, consider asking the cemetery for a map of the burial plots to track down a loved one. Both cemeteries and funeral homes keep death records and records of their burial plots, so it would be easiest to speak to someone in person on location who can help you. Some cemeteries may have a map of their burial plots available online, so it’s smart to do a quick Google search for their website before visiting.
Do you want to know how to find someone’s grave? Grave stones at cemeteries can be a valuable genealogical tool, and in this post, you’ll find free places to look online for your ancestor’s grave site.
There are hundreds of millions of grave sites documented on online indexes and websites. A large percentage of these graves are photographed, which means that you might even be able to see a photograph of your ancestor’s grave stone.
In fact, during research for this post, I was able to find a photograph of my Dutch great-great-great grandfather’s gravestone. I hope that these resources help you as much as they helped me.
Most of the work done on the online sites listed in this article was done by volunteers, and many of these sites run based on donations. If you find that a site has been helpful to you, don’t forget to consider making a donation to help them continue to provide free access to their records.
How can I find where someone is buried for free
All of the websites listed in this post are free, searchable, online resources where you can look to try to locate information about where your ancestor is buried.
The following three sites are the most popular websites for searching graves online. I’ve described them a bit, and you can find a link to their website to go ahead and begin your search.
This is the most popular website for locating ancestors’ graves. Their United States database is very thorough, as there are large numbers of volunteers covering vast portions of the country.
There are graves and photographs from more than 244 differnet countries around the world, so even if your ancestor passed away outside of the US, you may be able to locate their grave on this site:
This is a large, comprehensive website with cemeteries indexed and photographed from all over the world.
While most of the graves are located in the United States, those with ancestors from other countries will be happy to know that there are hundreds of cemeteries indexed from countries all over the world.
You can access BillionGraves by clicking the link below:
This is another great site that has many thousands of cemeteries indexed and millions of grave sites:
How to locate United States Military Personnel grave sites
If you know that your ancestor was in the United States military, you might have success searching the National Gravesite Locator, which is a site managed by the Veterans Administration.
You can find records pertaining to veterans of the United States military who are buried in National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, and other government cemeteries.
Plus, you will find records of those service members buried in private cemeteries if the grave has a government-issued grave marker.
You can access this gravesite locator by the following link:
If your ancestor was in the military, but they were buried or their death was commemorated at a monument or memorial, you might have luck searching the American Battle Monument Commission Memorials and Burials index.
Records on this site include those service members who were buried or memorialized overseas or in Mexico:
How to locate cemetery grave sites in other countries
While many of the resources that I listed above do have cemeteries indexed that are located outside of the United States, you might find that the place where your ancestors were buried has not been indexed yet.
Additionally, many countries either do not have a culture of preserving graves for hundreds of years in community cemeteries or have found that their cemeteries and grave sites have been destroyed due to war or natural disaster.
It takes a lot of financial resources to maintain cemeteries, and even more to create online databases for people in other countries to search through.
For these reasons, we may never be able to locate where all of our ancestors were buried.
Even so, you may still want to try to locate individual cemetery records for the locality where your ancestor was buried. To do so, you can do a Google search, perhaps in the target language.
Some countries also have organizations dedicated to creating indexes of cemeteries in their country (just like with our popular US sites).
Below, I have listed a few websites for select countries where you may be able to locate your ancestors’ grave sites in those locations.
Netherlands grave sites:
I have had great luck finding my Dutch ancestors on the following site. It contains a lot of information about grave plots and the location of the cemetery, as well as photographs, when available:
Ireland grave sites:
With many graveyards across Ireland surveyed and indexed, and many more scheduled for such, the following website is a great resource for those with Irish ancestry.
You might be able to find where your Irish ancestor was buried.
Belarus grave sites:
This site is in development, and so has a relatively small database. However, I love the mission.
If you have ancestors in Belarus, you may want to check out this site:
Canada grave search
If your ancestor was buried in Canada, and you can’t find them on the websites that I listed at the beginning of this post, the following index is a great place to start:
China grave site search:
Chinese grave stones often contain a treasure of genealogical information. You can search the following index, which is hosted by Family Search, to look for Chinese grave stones belonging to your ancestors:
I hope that this post has helped you get ideas about where you might be able to look for cemetery and grave site records pertaining to your ancestor. In addition, I hope that you found a few photographs during your search.
If you have any questions about something that you read in this post, or if you would like to share your favorite resource for finding graves not mentioned in this post, please feel free to post it in the discussion below.
You can find out where someone is buried for free by running names searches on various cemetery records databases. There are several that free with millions of records from across the world. These databases show where is someone is buried, their pertinent dates of birth and death, and often times their plot location.
Using Cemetery Records Websites
Over the past 20 years, several online websites have specialized in gathering burial records from a variety of sources. These include cemeteries, government agencies, churches, historical societies, and volunteer genealogists.
These websites allow free, unlimited name searches to find out where someone is buried. Some of these websites are crowd-sourced, using website visitors to submit family history information. Others are based on acquring records straight from primary sources, like cemeteries, government agencies, and churches. There are also many volunteer projects that visit cemeteries and record tombstone inscriptions.
Where Can I Find These Websites?
This website you are reading is one of the largest websites that acquire cemetery records straight from primary sources. To run a search, visit our, "Cemetery Records Search Page".
Crowd-sourced websites like Find-A-Grave and BillionGraves rely on the general public to contribute records gathered from a wide-variety of sources like obituaries, tombstone inscriptions, or old books and manuscripts.
There are also specialty search engines that index cemetery records from specific regions. Try visiting sites like "New York Cemetery Records", "Ireland Cemetery Records", and "Missouri Cemetery Records".
If You Know Where This Person Died
If you happen to know what city or local region this person died, you can try cold-calling every funeral home in that area. Every person who dies has to have their remains disposed of through some kind of proper means. That is, the body must either be buried or cremated. That means, there is almost always a funeral home or mortuary that handles that disposition. Some cemeteries have their own on-site funeral home.
Contact the Public Administrator or Coroner
In the United States, every county or large city has a "Public Administrator" that handles the affairs of deceased persons who have no other relatives to handle their estates. The Public Administrator is the one who arranges for that deceased person’s burial or cremation. Often times, the Public Administrator falls under the jurisdiction of the Coroner’s Office.
The Public Administrator has contracts with local cemeteries and funeral homes to handle the final disposition.
Hence, if you believe the person you are looking for had no family to claim their body, then most likely the Public Administrator or Coroner was involved. They should have records on which funeral home or cemetery handled the remains.
What If You Don’t Know Where This Person Died?
If you don’t know this person’s residence of place of death, then it’s going to be more difficult to find out where they are buried.
In this case, you’re going to have to ask other poeple who knew this person for any information. If you can at least get the place of death, or the local area where they lived, you can then try calling the Public Administrator, Coroner, or just cold-calling every funeral home in that area.
Some cemeteries, especially those in bigger cities find a grave, may have been moved to other areas so it’s necessary to do thorough analysis previous to attempting to visit your ancestor’s grave. Observe: The knowledge generated by Find a Grave varies primarily based on the information provided by contributors.
Alternatively, if you want findagrave instructions or GPS coordinates emailed to you, fill out this type. View details such as the deceased’s identity, date of death and burial date and location on an excessive-resolution map, along with your current find a grave search location.
Begin by contacting any funeral homes that were in business during your relative’s time of loss of life. Funeral grave finder keep extensive data of the deceased and places the place where they are buried. We are making it possible for burial and cremation authorities across the nation to convert their register information, maps and photographs into find a grave name search form and produce them together right into a central searchable collection.
This database accommodates an index to find a grave cemetery search and burial particulars posted on Find A Grave. Discover current find a grave cemetery tackle, cell phone numbers, e-mail addresses and recognized family. Many current day funeral houses which have been in existence for over one hundred years, began out in a mercantile store providing caskets and different funeral-associated equipment.
If you do not cemetery search, you will have a hard time figuring out which entry matches your ancestor due to the restricted info sometimes obtainable. We have now offered a page gravestone right here where you’ll be able to see easily whose knowledge was added and when, and what data is on the market in every case. Even if the mount olivet cemetery doesn’t have a website, call to ask about the placement of the grave.
Luckily, there are numerous sources available oakwood cemetery that can assist you in discovering how your ancestor died, the place they had been buried and to find their headstone and related data. 5 grave finder stock photographs, vectors, and illustrations can be found royalty-free. There should be a map or search national cemetery that makes it doable to find your relative’s grave shortly.
You may as well use a cemeteries locator to confirm if someone has passed away. A surname is required, however you possibly can leave off the primary and center names. It would be a bit quicker grave finder search free to repeat the memorial quantity and paste it into the search type than to copy the first title, last name, birth 12 months, and demise year into the kind.
Quite than two households united, they’re torn further apart. Despite the fact that there’s a marker for Bradstreet in a previous burial floor find agrave in city, it was put up about two many years ago and isn’t her gravesite. Nonetheless, no one has been finda grave of locate the headstone or marker and the cemetery is simply too overgrown now to find one, if it is there.
Enter any additional information hills ferry cemetery newman ca find a grave, if identified, reminiscent of year of birth and the place your ancestor may be buried. An incredible place to look is census records, family religious texts, or other records. Begin finish-of-life planning to make these choices in the present day on behalf of your pals and family. You could find obituaries and links to other members of the family included as well.
The allure to go to the graves of your ancestors is an innate part of what makes you a human being. People have visited the tahoma national cemetery of their ancestors for hundreds of years. You may have to make several calls, but they may have this information. Make an observation of the find grave number, square number, the register you obtained the knowledge from, and all the main points written within the register, or a duplicate of the image.
Graves are usually organized into blocks, tons, and sections. Particular find-a-grave preferences of contributing authorities may imply that further restrictions are in place for a few of the newer data from some authorities. Nevertheless, on condition that they are a small operation, and the huge bulk of their information reside in the United States, it’s at the moment only attainable to go looking by Nation, or in the case of the United States, State and County.
Easiest way to find someone’s burial place is to use a locator system or download app which is available in the same cemeteries. This system is used by many cemeteries in the United States and is a great tool to look for tomb of someone you lost or. With this system, you can search a tomb ia two ways.
1 way is to look for a grave search by name, and the second is to look for a tomb by location. You will have to find a grave in cemetery by name in the search field and then click on search.
2 way is not so easy because it is not a good idea to look for a find grave by index or location. If you don’t know where the burial place is. This is because there are a lot of united states cemeteries and if you don’t know where the graveyard is located, you might not know where to start looking.
If burial place you are looking for is over 50 years old, for example memorial, veteran or famous people graves, burial place may not have any records of burials. You may want to contact the local historical or genealogical society in your area. Many societies have indexes to cemetery records.
If you do not find a grave online you are looking for within service, please check online listings of burials at a local cemetery. Phone directories for most cities contain a listing of all of the cemeteries within city limits. If a person is buried at a national cemetery such as Arlington or Beaufort, you may want to contact the graveyard directly. You may also want to contact the local genealogical society. Many genealogical societies have either indexes or books of burial place listings. If burial place is privately owned, you will want to contact the owners of property.
Methods to Find Someone’s Grave
First method to look for your friend’s burial place location is to find gravesite of a person with the same name. For example, if you have a relative whose name is John Smith and you know where he is buried, you can search location of other people. If there are people with the same name buried, same cemetery.
Second method to find a grave in a virtual map of a person buried at the same cemetery, you can look for the location of that cemetery online. For example, if you know where your relatives are buried, you can look online for the graveyard location and see if there are other people buried.
Another way to find location of your loved ones is to find people living at the same address. You can search people who live at the same address as your relatives. This method of searching for the location of someone is not very popular, but still, it is worth trying.
- How to find a grave for free?
Simplest way to search tomb of a person is to use free grave locators on the cemetery website.
- How to look for online out if the cemetery has a burial place?
Select “Information” section, then select “Map” tab.
- How to find a grave free search with a photo?
Select “Photo” in search form, then upload an image and choose some burial place .
The results of Find a Grave search will be delivered as a list of names registered. Each one leads to the page that displays all the information about the burial place. It may lack information, but it’s up to you to fix it (a bit on this later).
The search has a large database. If you’re searching for a grave you’ve been told is on Oakwood Cemetery, the site will show you four Oakwood Cemeteries in the U.S. and one in Canada. Hardly is there a national cemetery not covered by the site. Now it operates mostly in the U.S. and Canada.
As you find the grave of your ancestor, friend, or another close person, you can save it to your private virtual cemetery or ancestry list. The page can easily be shared. If you have something to add, the standard form lets you do it even easier than on Wikipedia.
When it comes to celebrities, the geography of Find a Grave cemetery search is even wider. But if you search for even a famous cemetery beyond North America (like Cimetière du Père Lachaise in Paris), the search fails. Nevertheless, when you search for Jim Morrison or Oscar Wilde, the site shows you just that Père Lachaise. Let’s hope that Find a Grave cemetery coverage will grow.
On signing up, you can become a photo volunteer. This allows you to upload photos of gravestones, memorials, and stuff. On the other hand, you can contact local volunteers if you know the cemetery the grave is on, but not its exact location. This Grave Finder search free option makes gathering and providing data simpler, so the memory lives on.
Last but not least: the memorial page on Grave Finder lets you send flowers to it. Even if you’re far away on a memorial date and can’t visit the grave in person, you can send virtual flowers to show you care and remember. It’s easy and available for free, though it takes registration.
You can send your flowers from yourself, from someone else you mention, or anonymously. For some pages, though, this option is turned off. Sometimes it’s reasonable (in case of, say, Columbine High School murderers or Charles Manson). But it’s strange to see that you can send a virtual flower to Jack “Dr. Death” Kevorkian but cannot do this to Tupac Shakur. It can be explained only by the will of the family.
Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.
Find a Grave Options (Beginner)
There is a specific feature I want to point out because a lot of people seem to miss it. On the main Ribbon go to Search > Find a Grave. Notice that there is a little down arrow thingie (technical term) at the bottom right of the Find a Grave icon. Click that down arrow thingie and you get an enhanced menu.
These are very useful options but unless you know where they are they will be no of use to you. There is one more feature I want to show you. On the Individual's Information screen you will see a field to record the person's Find a Grave memorial number. Notice that the label Find a Grave ID is underlined. That means it is a clickable hot link. If there is a Find a Grave memorial number entered, you will be taken to that person's memorial page. If there is no number entered, you will be taken to the Find a Grave search screen.
Happy grave hunting!
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Michele Simmons Lewis, CG ® is part of the Legacy Family Tree team at MyHeritage. She handles the enhancement suggestions that come in from our users as well as writing for Legacy News. You can usually find her hanging out on the Legacy User Group Facebook page answering questions and posting tips.