How Do I Find Where Someone is Buried?
Losing a loved one is an emotional journey, and visiting their final resting place can bring solace and closure to many. However, locating where someone is buried is not always straightforward, especially if you do not have prior knowledge or access to relevant records. Whether it’s a distant ancestor or recently departed family member, discovering where someone is laid to rest can involve a combination of research, technology, and persistence.
Here’s where to begin:
1. Start with Family Knowledge
Ask family members, especially older relatives who may have been present for the funeral or burial. They may recall details about the cemetery, town, funeral home, or church in which the memorial services took place. Those places may then be called to verify the information you have received from your relative. Gather such information as: date of birth, date of death, places the deceased lived, where the deceased died, and immediate family members (spouse, parents, or siblings). Knowing where a parent or spouse is buried may help you find the person you are looking for.
2. Check Online Databases
There are two major websites dedicated to recording burial locations: Find a Grave and BillionGraves. Someone may have already entered your ancestor into one of these online databases and created a memorial for them. If your person does not come up in search results, try looking for their closest relatives – they may be buried in the same cemetery.
Another great online resource is obituaries. Many obituaries are listed on websites like Legacy.com and Dignity Memorial.com. Check your local newspaper publications and find older obituaries on Newspapers.com. An obituary may either explicitly state where someone is buried (for example, “Interment Resurrection Cemetery”) or give you important clues or information: funeral home, next of kin, date of death, church. You can always call the funeral home or church directly to ask where someone is buried.
3. Visit or Contact Cemeteries Directly
If you have an idea of where someone is buried, you can always call a cemetery directly to confirm their burial there. Some cemeteries will have an online lookup on their website, some cemeteries will only have physical records. Here at The Catholic Cemeteries we have an online form you can fill out for a Burial Location Request.
Finding where someone is buried can be a poignant and meaningful journey, offering closure and a deeper connection to your family’s history. This process may require patience and persistence. Some ancestor’s burial locations might remain a mystery, however the journey to uncovering this information can be incredibly rewarding. The experience will allow you to honor and remember those who have passed on.
This Christmas, take the opportunity to ask the elders in your family about where their parents and grandparents are buried. You may learn new stories and details about your family history.