The Ultimate Guide to Find Out Where Someone is Buried

Sometimes, you get to know of one of your ancestors who had done something special for your family or had some unique contributions. Well, whatever the case, visiting someone’s grave is an amazing way to pay tribute to them and a great way to connect to the past. However, you must know where exactly they were buried.

Well, fortunately, there are some useful ways of finding the gravesites of people if you have some basic details about them. Let’s delve into the best and most effective ways to find where someone is buried.

Let’s get started.

Death Records/Certificates

To gain access to the death records of a person, you must have adequate information on them such as first name, middle name, and last name, if possible. Your job would get much easier if you also have details on their date of birth, where they died, and so on. This info can be obtained if you have access to the person’s family bibles or obituaries. 

Reaching out to the local county clerk’s office can help you obtain the death certificate of the person. However, in the event their death was before 1930, they will not have a death certificate.

Visit the Cemetery

In case you know where the cemetery is located, but aren’t aware of the plot exactly, you can go around the cemetery to find the burial site. Plan and start early on a day as you need to take a complete round of the cemetery and it might take time to locate the burial site. You need to check certain aspects that could help you out in this regard. 

For example, some cemeteries have websites or other online portals. Usually, these websites are supported with a map of the cemetery, which might help you understand how to find a grave in a cemetery, reducing the time that you would otherwise spend walking in the sun. Some maps highlight individual graves while others show only specific family plots. 

In case the cemetery doesn’t have a website, and you don’t have much of an idea about the grave location, you can start from a corner of the cemetery and walk along the pathway. This way you avoid the chances of missing out on any of the graves. Additionally, you may take paper and a pencil and start drawing a rough picture of the cemetery, making a note of the graves you have covered. 

Besides, if the cemetery is too large, a better idea would be to bring along someone so that each one of you can check the gravesites on either side of the cemetery. Yet another suggestion is to get in touch with the sexton of the cemetery who oversees the grounds. In addition to taking care of the maintenance of the cemetery, the sextons have all the records containing the details of the burial sites and can help you how to find a cemetery plot or how to find where someone is buried. 

You may even try asking the clergy who though may not hold the records but might remember something about where a person was buried. While most cemeteries are with the state authorities, some are private-owned. The latter may be owned and managed by the funeral home. 

In such cases, it’s best to reach out to the funeral home’s director who can offer more useful information. Usually, funeral homes are located on the cemetery grounds. In cemeteries, there is something known as family plots. These refer to plots bought by the same family so that all deceased members are laid to rest in one place. 

That said, you may find graves with last names together. These are examples of family plots. In case, the family name of a grave you see matches the name of the person that you are searching for, it’s quite possible that you are coming closer to your goal. 

However, just because the name of the person you are searching for is the same as that on the grave site does not imply it is of the same person that you are looking for. You must look at the text on the headstone to verify the birth and death dates and see if it matches those of the persons you are searching for. In case you don’t know the exact dates of the person, at least you can check if the period they have lived matches with those engraved on the headstone.

Genealogy Websites

Genealogy repositories like offer an effective method to find out where someone is buried. In case you are looking at finding the burial location of one of your ancestors but are wondering how to get started with it, these databases are a powerful tool. They provide a lot of information on the deceased that can help you get some clue on where they were buried. 

In case you aren’t aware of where exactly the grave is, you can still proceed, as the genealogy repositories offer details on where they lived and died. With this basic information, you can further your search. Some of the genealogy databases let you use a free trial by signing up. However, to enjoy the advantages of all its features and functions, you may need to pay a fee.

Search on

Check out the instructions to understand the ways on how to find old cemeteries and gravesites on this website.

  • Visit the website
  • On the home page, enter first name, last name, and city/state.
  • Click the “search” icon.
  • Alternatively, You can click on “Cemeteries” at the top of the page.
  • You will see a page with a list of cemeteries in the United States, with places arranged alphabetically.
  • On the row of any state, you would find “Cemeteries” and “Memorials”.
  • Click on “Cemeteries” or “Memorials” and you can get further details like the address, map, phone number, burial list, and working hours of the cemeteries.

Virtual Cemetery websites

If you know the details of the area where someone is buried, you can take the help of online cemeteries and plan on how to find gravesites. Even headstone repositories could help you out in this regard. These days, most cemeteries have their own websites.

If not, you can check the online cemetery databases which may contain a picture of the headstone and its location in the graveyard. While some databases cover nationwide places, there are also regional repositories, specific to your state available. In most cases, the volunteers take pictures of the burial sites and upload them.

Veteran Websites

If your ancestor whose burial location you are trying to find was in service, you can try checking specific websites created to preserve the locations of ex-servicemen and women who are no more.  

Frequently asked questions

Are burial locations public records?

Yes, there are various government databases and archives that offer information on burial records, cemeteries, and death certificates.

How accurate is is a robust genealogy website that offers substantial information on cemeteries, burials, and more. As the site contains information like death certificates, burial records, memorials of military services, etc. which are vital data and therefore it can be safely assumed that the site offers accurate information.

How do I find someone’s burial plot?

You can visit the cemetery and walk around it checking the gravesites. Prior to that, try looking for the cemetery website, if any. Mostly these websites would include a map of the cemetery that will guide you on how to find gravesites. 

Alternatively, you could speak to the sexton who maintains all the records or clergy who may remember something about where a person was buried. You can also use online websites like to check for burial locations.

Editor | + posts

Kathleen was a freelance writer for about 20 years. For the past several years, she has served as a volunteer public relations and writer for People Legacy. When she isn't writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, doing genealogy research and traveling.

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