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Cemeteries and Gravestones

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Cemetery Research Cheat Sheet

In this Cheat Sheet, you’ll find guides to popular tombstone symbols, step-by-steps for using tombstone databases and the top records you should be searching for in cemeteries.

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Cemetery and Gravestone Resources from Family Tree

Cemetery Websites and Apps

Cemetery and Gravestone Research Resources

WEBSITES

American Battle Monuments Commission: Search for WWI, WWII and Korean War casualties who are buried in commission cemeteries or listed on the Walls of the Missing.

Ancestors at Rest: Scan the photos and transcriptions of coffin plates, funeral cards, obituaries, wills and other death records for your ancestors’ names.

Cyndi’s List: Cemeteries & Funeral Homes: Links to sites with obituary data, cemetery transcriptions and funeral home records.

Cemetery Junction: This directory of US, Canadian and Australian cemeteries has links to websites and, where available, tombstone transcriptions.

Cemetery Surveys: A simple search of this site — focused mostly on Southeastern states — lets you zoom to potential ancestors’ tombstone transcriptions and photos.

Cemetery Transcriptions From the NEHGS Manuscript Collections: NEHGS members can search this growing database, which covers more than 1,650 cemeteries and burial grounds in New England, New York and eastern Canada.

Farber Gravestone Collection: View more than 13,500 images documenting 9,000 mostly pre-1800 gravestones in the Northeastern United States. Captions list the name of the person buried, year of death and location of the cemetery.

Find a Grave: Get burial information on thousands of well-known people or use the “non-famous” search of 7.5 million records.

Genealogy.com Virtual Cemetery: Site visitors submit the tombstone details in this database. Many entries include photos, so you can see the stones.

Historic Congressional Cemetery: Search 20,000 obituaries and death notices, plus other documents relating to the 60,000 people buried here.

Interment.net: Access nearly 3.9 million cemetery records from 8,000-plus cemeteries around the world.

Kentucky Cemetery Database: This database, an ongoing Kentucky Historical Society project, contains 179,750 gravestone records from 3,170 cemeteries.

Links to Resources on Cemetery History and Preservation: This portal links to cemetery Web sites, records databases, online discussion groups and more.

Los Angeles County Burial Permits, 1870 to 1892: Browse the Southern California Genealogical Society’s alphabetical database of LA burial permits.

Michigan Cemetery Sources: Search a directory of 3,700 cemeteries, then click the links to find transcriptions in books, microfilms and online.

Nationwide Gravesite Locator: This database lists veterans and their dependents buried in Veterans Affairs National Cemeteries and state-run veterans cemeteries.

New Mexico Ancestors: Dig up tombstone photos — along with thousands of record transcriptions — for your forebears from the Land of Enchantment.

Tombstone Art and Symbols: Consult this illustrated glossary of common tombstone carvings to learn their meanings.

USAFuneralHomesOnline.com:Track down your ancestors’ death records with assistance from this comprehensive guide to the nation’s funeral homes.

USGenWeb Tombstone Transcription Project: Ancestors buried far away? This volunteer-run project lists cemeteries by state, along with links to transcriptions. You might even find a kind soul who’ll do a lookup or visit a cemetery for you.

BOOKS AND PUBLICATIONS*

Cemeteries and Gravemarkers: Voices of American Culture edited by Richard Meyer (Umi Research Press)

Ethnicity and the American Cemetery edited by Richard Meyer (Bowling Green University Popular Press)

Graven Images: New England Stone-carving and Its Symbols by Allan I, Ludwig (Wesleyan University Press)

The Last Great Necessity: Cemeteries in American History by David Charles Sloane (Johns Hopkins University Press)

Silent Cities: Cemeteries and Classrooms by Alexia J. Helsley (South Carolina Department of Archives and History)

Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography by Douglas Keister (Gibbs Smith, Publisher)

Tombstones of Your Ancestors by Louis S. Schafer (Heritage Books)

Underfoot: An Everyday Guide to Exploring the American Past by David Weitzman (Encore Editions)

*FamilyTreeMagazine.com is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. It provides a means for this site to earn advertising fees, by advertising and linking to Amazon and affiliated websites.

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