There are two major types of cemetery records in Mexico:
- Information recorded on gravestones.
- Information recorded by cemetery officials or caretakers, included in parish and cemetery records recorded by the civil authority.
Cemetery records sometimes give more information than parish burial registers or civil death certificates. They may include the name of the deceased person, his/her age, date of death, birth year or date of birth, and marriage information. These records may also provide clues about the deceased person’s military service, religion, occupation, or place of residence at the time of death.
Few of the inscriptions on gravestones and monuments have been transcribed. Also, because many persons could not afford a gravestone or monument, you should search other types of cemetery records such as burial books, parish records, and civil records. Because relatives may be buried in adjoining plots, it is best to examine the original records if available or visit the cemetery.
To find tombstone or sexton records, you need to know where an individual was buried. The person may have been buried in a church, community, or private cemetery, usually near the place where he or she lived or died. You can find clues to burial places in funeral notices, church records, and death certificates.
The law of 31 July 1859 gave the Mexican civil government the right to inspect the dead and control burials. At the present time the civil government is responsible for cemeteries. Some municipio archives have information on private burial grounds and cemeteries. If you know the specific area where your ancestors lived, you may want to ask local societies or archives if any burial plots exist on nearby private land.
Other sources of cemetery records include
- The current priest who has the burial registers and may have the records of the burial plots.
- A local library, historical society, or historian who may have the records or can help you locate obscure family plots or relocated cemeteries.
The Family History Library has very few cemetery records for Mexico, and none for Zacatecas. However, you will find defunciones (deaths) and entierros (burials) recorded in the Catholic Church parish records. The records it has are listed in the Place Search (just search for the town in which your ancestors lived) of the FamilySearch Catalog under:
DEFUNCIONES or ENTIERROS or MUERTES
To search for a specific cemetery, you can also search BillionGraves using the filter to search only cemeteries from Mexico. For now the site only has cemetery names and addresses, but later it will include the actual records of the individuals buried in those cemeteries.