Genealogy – Find a Grave

Find A Grave (findagrave.com) is the world’s largest repository of grave site information. The site is free and easy to use.

The site’s records are primarily from individuals uploading information. As a result, there may be different kinds of information available in different records.

Furthermore, any search that you run in FamilySearch.org will also check if that information is available on Find A Grave, thereby saving you the second step of searching in a second website. See bleow for a screenshot showing how a record from Find A Grave may appear in your search results in FamilySearch.org:

The Find A Grave Website

Nonetheless, the search function within the actual findagrave.com website is pretty thorough and gives a lot of different options for different ways to search for a record. Therefore, you may decide to try using the website itself.

For example, as you see in the findagrave.com search function below, you can even choose to search by burial plot information. That might seem like an obscure bit of information, but many records will identify the specific plot or cemetery section. Based on that information, you can search for relatives by looking for grave sites next to the first one, or for grave sites within the same section of the cemetery, possibly filtered for people with the same last name.

Below you see an example of the kinds of information that might be available in a particular record.

Your record may not always have identified family members, memorials, or photos, but you can generally count on four pieces of information being available:

1 – Name

2 – Date of Birth (and maybe location)

3 – Date of Death (and maybe location)

4 – The cemetery where they were buried

The first 3 pieces of information are very valuable because they provide unique details about a person that can help you find more records about them in different data sources. Maybe before you were searching for James Richard in familysearch.org but there were too many results. With this new information you can return to familysearch.org and filter your results to look for the James Richard that was born on June 19th, 1930.

The Cemetery Itself

The next step is to take the fourth piece of information (the cemetery) and go to the source. You want to go to the source of the information because there is often a bit more information there. You can either look the cemetery up online or consider contacting them to ask if they have additional records about the specific burial you are researching.

In one example, (see below) we see the name of the cemtery and a link to another page within Find A Grave that gives additional details about the cemetery.

The individual was buried at the Long Island National Cemetery and by clicking on the link for the cemetery, we are brought to this page below. In this case, the descriptor explains that the cemetery is for veterans and is run by the UD Department of Veterans Affairs. Notice that the description page provides a website for the cemetery, where we can find more information.

In this case, clicking on the cemetery’s website brings us to the VA’s National Cemeteries Administration, which has a “grave locator” function. See below:

In this case, looking up the record for the same burial site yielded new information, specifically the burial plot location, a link to a map of the graveyard revealing the location of the burial plot, and the rank and branch of the military where the individual served.

That’s all, good luck!

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