GUIDE TO USING BURIAL RECORDS IN YOUR GENEALOGY RESEARCH
Burial Records can be of tremendous value to you in your Genealogy Research. They have the ability of opening your genealogy research wide open with new family details and new leads to explore.
Sometimes you will discover that a family plot or a plot belonging to a relative may not have a
tombstone. Another scenario includes the possibility that not all names of individuals buried
in a family plot are recorded on the tombstone - these are situations where burial records can be of
great assistance to you.
If you already know the cemeteries in which your ancestors, family or relatives are buried, you are already
on your way for tapping into the helpful information which burial records may yield. If you do not know
the cemeteries where your family is buried, the first thing to do is start asking your family and relatives
if they may have any information in regard to where the family cemeteries and plots are located.
Other ways of finding where your family plots are located can be accomplished by searching through newspaper obituaries and
obtaining death certificates. In most circumstances, both newspaper obituaries and death certificates will
provide information in regard to where individuals are buried.
In regard to a good online database in which you
can browse and search newspaper obituaries including newspaper archives, I highly recommend using the service provided by GenealogyBank.com - Search Obituaries
and Genealogy Search
Once you discover the cemetery where your ancestor or relative is buried, the next step is to get in
contact with the Cemetery Office and put in your request for burial records.
You can send your burial records request to the Cemetery Office via regular postal mail, or if you like, you can also do this
by phone or in person. If the Cemetery has an online web site, perhaps they might also be able to handle burial records requests via email as well.
In a nutshell you will be asking for a price quote for a copy of the burial records for
the family plot in which your ancestor or relative rests in. I also ask in my burial records request the following
questions which are: what is the plot number? and how many individuals are resting in the plot?
Be sure to provide the Cemetery Office with the full name of your ancestor or relative and their date of death or
approximate date of death. The Cemetery Office should be able to look in their database and then
provide you the plot number, number of individuals resting in the plot and the cost of sending you a copy
of the burial records. If you are sending the request to the Cemetery Office via regular postal mail, I would also
recommend including a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope with your burial records request in which the office can send their reply.
Once you receive a reply and price quote from Cemetery Office for the burial records, be sure to send
payment for a copy of the burial records. From there it all depends on the Cemetery in terms of how long it will be before you receive a copy of the burial
records. Generally speaking, at most it may take a few weeks before you receive a reply. It probably
depends on just how busy the Cemetery Office is.
The Burial Records in most cases will list the name of each individual resting in the family plot, date of
burial and should also list an address of where the death occurred, and perhaps a place of birth, names of parents and cause of death.
Some very interesting things can occur once you receive the burial records. You may discover names of
unknown individuals resting in your family plot that you may not even be aware of, especially if their names
were not listed on a tombstone (I say this from my own personal experience when working with burial records).
In all likelihood these unknown individuals have some sort of connection to your family. Since the burial
record usually includes a date of death or date of burial, you could then send away for their death certificates as well.
Once you receive these death certificates, you can usually start to figure out how these unknown individuals relate to your family.
From my own personal experience, I have been able to discover whole new branches of the family who were
currently unknown to me, and in many cases I was able to get in touch with living cousins from these branches
and in turn these living cousins were able to provide me with a whole wealth of new information about their
own family branches.
It is also very exciting when these new found cousins provide you with photographs from their own
family photo collection. Sometimes these new found cousins may even be able to provide with you new details about
your family that you may not even be aware of. These new tid bits of information may even yield further clues and exploration
for your genealogy research.
Another possibility exists as well. From personal experience, I have sometimes discovered ancestors and relatives
whose names are not listed on the family tombstone, and whose date of death was unknown to me. The burial record
should give you either a date of death or approximate date of death. From there I was able to search out and acquire
death certificates for these ancestors relatives and these death certificates in turn yielded new information.
Without a doubt, Burial Records have great potential for your genealogy research. They have the ability of creating new branches for your family tree and may assist you in tracking down living cousins.
As always, if you need help with your family genealogy research, please be sure to (Contact me).