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Searching through Cemetery records

For genealogical and historical research purposes, Cemetery records can be an invaluable resource. In instances where there are no legitimate birth, marriage and death documents, Cemetery records may often be the only option available and they often provide a surprising wealth of information.

The term Cemetery records can actually refer to any of several records that documents the details surrounding a person's death and burial. These records can contain information on the deceased person's identity, the buyer of the cemetery plot and the deceased person's relatives. Even a cursory mention of a deceased person's maiden name for example, can lead you off into a tangent that you would never have considered.

Gravestones in particular, which are in fact a form of Cemetery record, can contain details about the deceased person's cause of death, family designation and even position in the military service, in addition to the requisite date of birth and death.

Cemetery records can be found in several places; local churches will often have extensive listings and is a good place to begin your research. The cemeteries themselves will probably have records that are archived by a sexton, caretaker or a town clerk.
Family-owned cemeteries on the other hand often have little or no information readily available on the property and many of these are poorly maintained and oftentimes closed to public access. If this is the case, you might be able to find what you're looking for by browsing through family records and manuscripts.

Due to city expansions and renovations, many cemeteries have been moved to more appropriate locations. This may make it impossible to trace the whereabouts of a particular person's remains. Vandalism, erosion and loss of records may make the task even harder. If the town in question has a library with extensive historical records, you may have better luck looking through their archives. Historical societies can also be of help.

You may also pore through a newspaper's archive of issues released around a person's death to find obituaries, death notices and will announcements to uncover a whole new line of research. In some cases only the funeral home will be listed with no mention of the cemetery where the deceased was laid to rest. In this case your best option would be to contact that particular funeral home and ask to see their records that are sure to contain the name of the cemetery you are looking for.

Original Authors: Doods Pangburn
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