Finding a Grave

Picture of a tombstone in the rain with a butterflyAnd now for a time appropriate post!

A fellow came in wanting burial records, to find out where someone was buried. I checked the local history collection (read: a stash of town records) but didn’t find anything. A general Google search was less than helpful because all the sites that came back required registration, and most of the time, money. So here’s a possible solution. I say possible, because right now he’s still looking.

Logging into the library’s subscription should give you the birth and death cities. Take note  of both. Most commonly in the form of obituaries. It will not, however, give you the full obituary. There is, however, a site that I stumbled upon. That’s your next step.

  1. Go to
  2. Click the Locate a Grave by Name link.
  3. Scroll down and click the view link to the right of the birth city you found in the obituary on
  4. Click the Deceased- Last Name drop down and search for the name from the obituary.
  5. If you don’t find the last name, go back to the table listing and click the view link to the right of the death city.
  6. If you still don’t find anything, have the patron think of other possible cities and try those.

If you don’t see this new cemetery’s name in the table, that means they’ve not digitized their internment database yet, or at least haven’t done so with In that case, you’ll need to resort to lower tech solutions. But first, Google!

Do a search for the city, state, and the word cemetery. This will give you the main number for that city’s cemetery department. Because some cities have multiple cemeteries, this is a better starting point than just picking one at random.

The Telephone

Call the number listed next under the cemetery name and ask after the deceased.

And that’s the process this fellow went away with.

I’ve not heard back from him, nor have I seen him again. So I don’t know if the poor guy actually found the grave or not. If you have another process for finding a grave, please leave a comment.


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