Use these sites to find obituaries, cemeteries and other traces of your departed ancestors.
American Battle Monuments Commission
If you have military ancestors buried in US cemeteries abroad, this is the place to find them. The site covers 24 overseas military cemeteries with almost 125,000 American war dead, plus Tablets of the Missing that memorialize more than 94,000 US servicemen and -women.
This collection of nearly 50,000 old family photos also offers family stories and recipes, plus Family Spaces Web pages on which to share them (starting at $29.95 a year).
View nearly 240,000 burial records, many with photos of the actual headstones; the site is richest in coverage for the southeastern United States. You can even import your finds into Google Earth.
A longtime favorite, this genealogy photo archive has helped more than 1,400 people reunite with pictures of their ancestors. It's free to search the archive of more than 92,000 records representing more than 16,000 surnames. Paying members ($19.95 a year) get customization options and enhanced photo posting.
Find a Grave
This simple-yet-powerful cemetery database has grown to more than 31 million grave transcriptions. You can search by name (with options for maiden names and partial surnames), birth date, death date or cemetery location, or browse a cemetery for people you think might be your ancestors. There's also a surname index and the Social Security Death Index.
Though smaller than Find a Grave, Interment.net is likewise worth a look—its user-submitted gravestone records cover cemeteries that no longer exist, along with graveyards beyond the United States. Special collections cover veterans' cemeteries, flooded cemeteries, California mission graveyards and Woodmen of the World burials.
Kentucky Historical Society
In addition to a searchable catalog and digital collections, this handsome site serves up the Kentucky Cemetery Records Database—hundreds of thousands of names transcribed from gravestones across Kentucky, from urban cemeteries to rural plots.
Don't you just hate it when you find an inconsiderate ancestor who died right before the next census? Now you can track him or her with the help of this site: It provides free transcriptions of the 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 census mortality schedules, in which enumerators recorded information on all people who perished within the 12 months preceding the census.
Names in Stone $
Not nearly as data-rich—yet—as more established cemetery sites, this newcomer nonetheless has a great concept: You can search for a grave and get a map showing where it is in the cemetery and whose plots are nearby. Searching is free, and you get not only the information on a tombstone but also the grave's location, the cemetery name, a cemetery map, the address, GPS coordinates and driving directions. Paying members ($7.95 per month, $39.99 per year) can save searches and a "cemeteries of interest" list, get automated- search notifications and receive discounts on "virtual gravestone décor." Only about a dozen states are represented to date, but this one's worth watching.
Nationwide Gravesite Locator
This Department of Veterans Affairs Web site—a domestic counterpart to the aforementioned American Battle Monuments Commission site—searches burial locations of veterans and their family members in VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries and various other military and Department of Interior cemeteries. It also includes veterans buried in private cemeteries where the grave is marked with a government grave marker.