Cemetery Records

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Guide to locating cemetery records for ancestry, family history, and genealogy research.

What are cemetery records?[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries are regarded as the location where people are buried after they die. They are often known by various terms such as graveyards, burying grounds, burial grounds, burial plots, 'churchyards', and several other terms. A cemetery may be operated by a municipality, or it may be operated by a church or religion, a funeral home or other private company, or a fraternal order.

Headstone inscriptions are information recorded on headstones (also known as tombstones or gravestones). Sometimes, multiple family members are buried in the same vault and the inscription will give information on all that are buried there. Often, this information has been transcribed, indexed, and published and is found online and in manuscripts and books in libraries and archives.

Written records are information recorded by cemetery officials or caretakers, included in parish and cemetery records recorded by the civil authority. Written records include:

  • Cemetery sextons' records
  • Municipal cemetery records
  • Church yard records
  • Grave books
  • Plot books
  • Maps

What can you find in cemetery records?[edit | edit source]

Cemetery records may provide information such as:

  • the deceased’s name
  • date and place of birth and death
  • age of the deceased at death
  • place of origin
  • names of other persons related to the deceased
  • maiden surname
  • sometimes marriage information.
  • clues about military service, religion, occupation
  • place of residence at time of death
  • membership in an organization.

How do you find cemetery records?[edit | edit source]

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Many cemetery records are online. You should consult the Wiki article on cemetery records for each country to understand how to find and search its cemetery records

Major Cemetery Record Collections[edit | edit source]






Sidebar Links to Wiki Articles for Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

See the links to cemetery records in the right sidebar in this typical Wiki main page.

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U.S. County Cemetery Links Charts[edit | edit source]

Each county in the United States has a Wiki article which can be reached from a county list found on the state main page.

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Each county article has a "Cemeteries" chart with links to collections of transcribed cemetery records.

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Online Genealogical Records Pages[edit | edit source]

On the main page for each U.S. State page and country page, a blue button leads to a listing of online record collections.

Look for the blue button on each state and country
main page to link to the Online Genealogy Records page.

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A typical Online Genealogy Records page.

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FamilySearch Catalog[edit | edit source]

  • Cemetery Records collected by FamilySearch, usually digitized and online, are listed in the FamilySearch catalog. Enter the name of the country in the "Place Field" and click "Search". A list of record categories will be provided. Select "Cemeteries".

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Cemeteries Not Transcribed or Published[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries are often located next to a church. If you know where your ancestor attended church check that place first. If your ancestor died in another part of the country he or she may have been brought to the home parish for burial. Your ancestor may have been buried in a church or a civil (local authority) cemetery - usually near the place where he or she lived or died. You can find clues to burial places in church records, newspaper announcements, or family histories. There are a number of ways to find cemeteries:

  • Look in phone books or other directories for a location. Notice in the illustration in the above section that the FamilySearch collection has a category Cemetery - Directories,
  • Look in atlases, gazetteers, or other maps to see if cemeteries are shown.
  • Search for them on Google, which has many listed, but not all. Google Maps has a large number shown on them in English-speaking areas, coverage is incomplete in most other languages.
  • Some cemeteries will maintain a website which will often list operating hours, and some will post burial lists online for those sites. Type the cemetery name in a search engine to see if the cemetery you want to find has a website.
  • Notice in the illustration in the above section that the FamilySearch collection has a category Cemetery - Directories,