How to Locate a Grave of a Family Member

Updated March 23, 2017

When a family member passes away, the pain can be difficult to bear, and even if you attended the funeral, you may not remember the grave's location. For a family member who passed away years before, or when you are doing a genealogical study, the grave might be difficult to find. Fortunately, there are methods of finding family grave locations. Once you locate the grave, you will be able to visit it and pay respects to your family members.

Go to the Find a Grave website (see Resources). According to the website's frequently asked questions, Find a Grave is designed for grave registration, remembrance, and genealogy purposes.

Join the website. The website is free to join. Select the "Join Now" button at the top right side of the page and fill in the information. It requires an e-mail, password, name and public name to join. While it is possible to do some basic searching in the website without joining, making full use of the website, such as using the public members pages or adding any content to the website, requires you to join.

Go to the search page of the website. The search page is designed to search for graves. Make sure the page is not the "add" page, which is designed to put information into the website.

Fill in the information about the individual you are seeking. The information requires a first and last name, birth and death years, and any other information related to the individual that you know. Only the last name is required, but the results must have fewer than 10,000 hits to show up, so a first is helpful in narrowing the number of hits. Set the setting to "Names" for the search options and then choose "Search."

Look through the results. The website will provide information about the grave and the location of the grave. For each grave, Find a Grave provides information such as genealogy data and the grave's location.

Go to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs website and go to its Nationwide Gravesite Locator page (see Resources).

Type in the name of your family member and any known information. The website provides information about the grave locations of any military veterans, regardless of whether they are buried in military cemeteries or private cemeteries. According to the website, the information is gathered from a variety of sources and information from government grave markers. Those from private cemeteries are only available for deaths from 1997 and later.

Enter the data and press "Go." If the Veterans Affairs has listing of your family member, it will come up in the results.

Go to the website (see Resources). has a free searchable database of records from cemeteries around the world.

Select the country and state or region of the grave site. If you do not know the state or region, it is still possible to search through the entire country, but it will take longer. From state or region, the website breaks down the data into counties as well, so if you know the county, select it.

Type in the full name of the individual. The minimum necessary data to do a search is the person's last name, but a first and last name are better to gain accurate information. Browse the available results and look for the individual. Match up birth and death dates if you know them to be sure this is the person you are looking for.

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