Researching burial records, also known as interment records, is an important part of researching history and genealogy. The records can illuminate an individual's past and help lead the researcher to new and unexpected discoveries. How easy it is to locate or obtain records will depend on how much you know about the person and what kind of cemetery the person is buried in.
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Find out the name of the cemetery where the person is buried. Death certificates or obituaries may have this information. Visit the county clerk's office to view death records. Many counties and states also have online searchable databases. There are also many websites that compile death records, such as Interment.net and Ancestry.com.
Research newspaper archives to locate archived obituaries. Regional newspaper archives can be found at a public library. The websites Newspaperarchive.com and Newsbank.com also have searchable databases of nationwide newspapers. Funeral homes will also typically keep copies of obituaries for funerals that they handled.
Note whether the cemetery is a privately or publicly owned cemetery. Private cemeteries may be owned by a funeral services company or a church. Municipalities oversee city cemeteries. Information about veteran's cemeteries can be found on the US Department of Veteran's Affairs website. Information about state cemeteries can be found on your state's office of cemetery oversight.
Contact the office that holds the cemetery's records to view and obtain a copy of the interment records. Records that the cemetery has may include plot ownerships, plat burial maps and burial registers. For a public cemetery, records can be found at the clerk's office. Contact the church or funeral service company office to for its records.
Tips and warnings
- Online public records may be linked to the clerk's office's website, the public works department's website or the department of archives' website. Online private records will be on the funeral services company's website. Interment.net and ancestry.com also have databases of nationwide death and burial records.
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