facebook icon email icon copy icon

How to Find a Grave, Cemetery or Death Record

Finding the grave of a loved one can be challenging, especially when families are more spread out across the US today than ever before. If you’re looking for a grave of a family member overseas, then it will likely require even more patience. But with a few tips, you can get started in the next few minutes.

For starters, it will make your research much easier if you know a person’s first name, last name, date of death, and location of death. From there, there are many free online grave and obituary search resources that can help you make it the rest of the way.

How to Find a Death Record

1. Know the person’s full name.

If you’re looking for someone, it’s important to know their basic information. For starters, knowing a loved one’s full name sounds easy enough but can be a challenge. Many immigrants to the United States recount having changed their names accidentally when processing their immigration paperwork or purposefully to get a better chance at getting hired due to historical biases against certain immigrants. If you think you know a person’s full legal name but aren’t sure, start by asking relatives to confirm the information. Look through birth certificates or relevant documents to confirm a full legal name.

2. Find or guess their date of death.

When looking for a death record, it’s important to know a loved one’s date of death. If you don’t know it, start by asking relatives to confirm the information. If they don’t know, consider asking to see any documents they may have that might cite a date of death. It’s useful to know a loved one’s date of birth because it can help you identify a relative range of years in which they lived. If you can guess the relative range of years or decade in which a person passed away, you can try searching national, state, or local city newspaper archives to find an obituary.

3. Find their place of death.

To find where a person resided when they passed away, it’s useful to already have a death certificate. But if you don’t have one handy, you can start by asking relatives to confirm the information. Consider also looking through legal documents, probate records, wills, and trusts. In addition, if you can locate their obituary, the obituary will typically include their place of death.

4. Contact the city or state for a copy of their death certificate.

Once you know the person’s place of death, then you can simply reach out to city or state officials for a copy of their death certificate. If you’re having trouble locating an official or a contact, try searching online for their website – they will usually have a directory for a web page that explains how to request a copy of a death certificate. Keep in mind that you will likely be asked to pay a fee for a copy of the death certificate.

5. Use the internet.

There are many sites that can aide you in your search for someone's death records. Sites like Ancestry.com or Familysearch.org let you enter in the information you have on hand and will perform a search through their database for you. These sites also have guidance on locating death records for individuals who have passed away a long time ago, so it's useful if you're looking for historical information and data.

Now that you’ve discovered the place of death of a loved one and even received a copy of their death certificate, you might be thinking “Hmm, how might I find the cemetery they were buried in?” Or better yet, you might want to find their specific grave so that you can make a visit to pay your respects in person.

How to Find Someone's Cemetery or Specific Grave

1. Check the cemeteries of family members.

It’s often traditional for families to be buried near each other. If you can’t seem to find the grave of a loved one, it might be easiest to talk to family and figure out where any relatives have been buried. In particular, if you know a loved one’s place of death, this can narrow down your search. If you decide to visit a cemetery, consider speaking to a staff member who can provide you with a map or guided instructions to the family grave site.

2. Contact other funeral homes in the area.

If you know the city of death of a loved one but not much more, try calling local funeral homes to track down where someone may be buried. Funeral homes keep extensive records of the deceased and locations where each are buried. In fact, the funeral home might be listed on the obituary itself, but if not then it may be best to research local funeral homes. Start with the better known funeral homes and work your way down the list. When you chat with the funeral home, you can simply ask them if they happen to know the cemetery or burial location of your loved one. Giving them the full name

3. Ask the cemetery for a map and guided instructions.

Once you’ve identified the cemetery in which a loved one is buried, consider asking the cemetery for a map of the burial plots to track down a loved one. Both cemeteries and funeral homes keep death records and records of their burial plots, so it would be easiest to speak to someone in person on location who can help you. Some cemeteries may have a map of their burial plots available online, so it's smart to do a quick Google search for their website before visiting.

Want to see more articles like this? Like us on Facebook:
Last updated March 2, 2021
Rate this article
Average rating: 2.8 (6 votes)
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
user profile icon inside a circle
Dahami Jayawardana "Hi, I am from sri lanka.I am 14 years old my father died when I was small so I can't remember his face or anything about him. The only thing I know is his name and his occupation. Are there any tips to find him? Please help me!!"
user profile icon inside a circle
Lizzie B Art "My dad passed in 2012 after taking care of him my dads 2nd wife and his family disowned me and my sisters didn’t invite us to his celebration of life party and he was supposedly cremated at least I remember picking out the urn but about a year ago my cousin sandy had told me he was buried and yep I found a head stone he wanted to be cremated with his ashes spread over my moms grave and to find he had been buried and we didn’t know still don’t even know hurts and every time I ask I get blocked so idk what else to tried calling the cemetery and funeral but I’m guessing my aunt paid them off cause they said they can’t tell me nothing"
user profile icon inside a circle
Ivonne Sahagun "I have all this information, but the cemetery listed on his DC doesn't have him. They think "he was just cremated there". He had no family except us and we were not in the country when he passed away. Is he lost forever?"
user profile icon inside a circle
Chelsea S. "I have been searching for my deceased friends grave site for almost a year now. The funeral home refuses to disclose the cemetery name/location due to the mother labeling it a “private burial.”
Please help! I am out of ideas and wish to pay my respect."
user profile icon inside a circle
Christina La Grand "How do i go about finding out if my grandma was buried or cremated? I'm having no luck."
user profile icon inside a circle
Gregory Keck "Oops jan24,2021"
user profile icon inside a circle
Gregory Keck "I'm looking to get my father's death certificate since Jan 25th 2021!"
user profile icon inside a circle
Rosie Sandoval "hello im looking for my great grandfather his name was Lucas Gutierrez I was told that he died in Los Angles in either 1918 or 1919 ive done allot of research with no luck I have his Dated of birth and place of birth I tried to get a copy of his death Certificate from the Los Angeles Corners office but no luck please help"
user profile icon inside a circle
Rawn Davis "I’m trying to find my little sister’s burial site or remains. I have been told her remains were moved. Her name is Renee Ann Davis, New Orleans, LA, Date of death between 1950 - 53(?)"
user profile icon inside a circle
Shaquatana Martin "Hello I'm trying to find funeral services for Virginia McDow she lived in Dallas, but will be buried in Schulenberg, Tx"
user profile icon inside a circle
Linda Cowens "Hi can you please contact me I'm looking to make some money atleast 5,000 for a burial for my father he was a veteran an the va ismt paying for him to be buried because he was dishonorable discharge I need to find a cheap funeral that can pick him up and bring him to get buried i need just a place for a dig up plot single individual call me 347-579-8382 his body is in CT and we are in Westchester NY please help thanks"
user profile icon inside a circle
lashondra faithful "hi my name is lashondra faithful and im in search to finding my brother kelvin faithful april 9,1983 and he passed away april 9, 2003 please give me a call at 2254072673. thank you so much i really need to find my brother he is very important to me and my family and i need some type of closure."