5 Places to Look for Your Ancestor's Burial Location
October 29, 2021
Sure, you know the BIG cemetery websites. Chances are, you use them all the time. You may have even uploaded gravestone photos to those websites. But what are the websites with cemetery and burial information that you don't use? Below are 5 to consider as you research your ancestors.
GENUKI "provides a virtual reference library of genealogical information of particular relevance to the UK and Ireland." Volunteer supported, this website provides all kinds of links and information you need to research the UK or Ireland. Once you locate the place you are researching, you can choose a Cemeteries link, or you can search using the name of the location and the word "cemeteries." This will provide you with links and information about cemeteries in the area, steering you towards cemetery transcription projects.
2. US GenWeb Tombstone Transcription Project
I think old books and websites are sometimes forgotten or discarded because they don't have all the bells and whistles. The US GenWeb Tombstone Transcription project was once one of the few free websites providing researchers with genealogical content. When they began, they had a novel idea. "We need to record these tombstone inscriptions now---before they are lost forever to the winds and the rains. However, many cemeteries have already been recorded by various Genealogical Societies, just as many have not. And, of those recorded, how accessible is that data to the world? If we join together and do this recording, we will guarantee that our ancestors are not forgotten----that their memorials will live on so that future generations may remember then as well as we do."
Today, some of what they provided in terms of indexes can be found elsewhere as digitized materials. However, it still worth checking. The USGenWeb Tombstone Transcription Project can easily be regarded as something you wouldn't need considering what cemetery content is available online. Still, as a volunteer project, you never know what they captured vs. what was perhaps captured afterward. It's still a place to exhaust before giving up on finding a burial. Transcriptions and some photos can be found on the website. It's a pretty basic search and browse but is a must for exhausting US online cemetery information.
3. CanadaGenWeb's Cemetery Project
CanadaGenWeb's Cemetery Project "currently offers a free and searchable listing of over 18,000 known Canadian cemeteries. We are continuously adding new information provided by volunteers." You can search the website by a person or a cemetery. Currently, the website is undergoing some maintenance. Those interested in the website should also join their Facebook page. Joining the Facebook group will help you receive information about updates to the site.
Interment.net boasts 25+ million "cemetery records, transcripts, and burial registers, from tens of thousands of cemeteries across the world, all contributed by genealogists, cemeteries, government agencies, and private organizations." You can search and browse by region or special collections (including U.S. veterans burials and mining disasters). This collection is a single-source worldwide collection, which is different than similar websites. They define single-source as "Each transcription we publish comes from a single-source, be it the cemetery office, government office, church office, archived document, a tombstone transcriber. Other websites already do an excellent job of crowd-sourcing a single cemetery together. But genealogists also need to see the original records from a single source. That's what we offer." However, there is something else it lacks that the other big cemetery websites have, photographs. Keep in mind that as you browse, you will need to scroll down the page to find various links to places and cemeteries. For those searching for U.S. ancestors, you may want to read a previous Interment.net blog post, WPA Historical Records Survey about the WPA and its role in the cemetery indexes we use today.
5. Genealogy Society Websites
Obviously, this isn't one website. This is a reminder to check the local genealogical society where your ancestor lived and died (because they could have died in a different location). Genealogy societies conduct cemetery transcription projects that they publish online and in book form. In some cases, they may have this information behind a member paywall. Joining the society and having access to members-only content can be worthwhile. In addition, they are the experts on that location. So even if they haven't conducted a cemetery project, they may have information that can help you in your search. Don't forget they may also research for a fee.
Where is Your Ancestor Buried?
There's nothing wrong with using the BIG cemetery websites but don't forget that they all rely on volunteers, so they may not have what you need. Other volunteer projects might be focused on the history of that locale, have access to historical materials, or conducted transcriptions earlier before destruction to a gravestone made it impossible to read or view. If you don't initially find what you need, remember to check older websites to exhaust your online search.
Gena Philibert-Ortega is an author, instructor, and researcher. She blogs at Gena's Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. You can find her presentations on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.
Thanks for sharing this. Great info!
Posted by: Maureen | November 08, 2021 at 09:06 AM
Thank you this info. I have tried any of these.
Posted by: David T Andrews | November 08, 2021 at 11:15 AM
This article is fine for those who are looking for ancestors within USA, UK Ireland etc.
Similar sites exist in continental Europe. Especially in The Netherlands we have 2 websites where you can find burial places.
(related to https://www.online-familieberichten.nl)
begraafplaats = burial place, graftombe = tomb, familieberichten = birth, marriage and death announcements in newspapers
Posted by: MJ Biekart | November 08, 2021 at 01:50 PM
I cannot get anywhere with searching on Canada Gen Web. I do not know the cemetery so left it blank but after I entered all the other info and hit my Enter Key nothing happens. Can you help?
Posted by: Jean White | November 08, 2021 at 04:16 PM
Hi I have been trying so hard to find information on my great grandfather. He was the father of James Myers, Born in Morristown, Greene. Ten. I have a copy of my Grandfather James and the only thing it has on there shows a part of the name. It could be Mort or Mart. Is there anyone out there that let me where I can look now?
SM (Myers) Kell.
Posted by: Sylvia M Kell | November 11, 2021 at 10:12 PM