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How to find a grave?

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Death is an inescapable fate that can take the life of someone you hold dear without adequate warning. After their demise, visiting the grave of the departed is an excellent method to pay respect, get closure, and recover, but how do you find a grave?

On the other hand, you may wish to visit the grave of a historical figure or recently deceased celebrity for a study or project. In either case, it will be impossible to locate the gravesite if you don’t know where the person is buried.

Fortunately, there are ways to break this barrier and find the resting place; all you need is information about the individual. Below are some tips on how to find a grave seamlessly.

An Online Cemetery Search Engine

If you possess enough information about the individual you seek, performing an online cemetery search will quickly reveal where they’re buried. Note that without details on their surname, date of birth & death, ethnicity, and more, you’ll have a hard time finding the grave.

Therefore, take some time and do some research before digging through the online cemetery files. One way to find this information is to locate a death certificate – if available – or find a newspaper that covered the death.

The best websites for this task include Find A Grave and Billion Grave since they have vast records containing millions of people.

Death-Related Records

If your country doesn’t have a record containing every individual’s gravesite that passed away, there are other means of finding them, including:

Newspaper Obituaries

Newspaper obituaries are excellent resources for acquiring an individual’s burial location as they contain enough information for public consumption. 

Unfortunately, this recommendation means you may have to sort through thousands of obituaries that happened that year if you don’t know the precise day the obituary was released.

You can speed up the process with Google’s extensive free newspaper archive, which most likely contains newspapers from 1607 forward.

Death Certificates

Learning how to find a grave is a hassle-free process if you have the individual’s death certificate – especially a family member. One sure-fire way to access a death certificate for free is via an online platform like or at the county clerk’s office.

Note that death certificates became a thing in the 1900s but weren’t mandated until the 1930s; therefore, this might be a dead-end if the person died prior to the 1900s.

Funeral Homes and Churches

Lastly, consider visiting a funeral home, mortuary, or local church that your person of interest may have attended to ask about their death records. These locations are often the best source of information.

On the other hand, if they existed between 1700 – 1900, their mercantile store should have their details as they usually provided the funeral arrangements. Mercantile stores are current funeral homes that were active several centuries ago, offering accessories like caskets.

Hopefully, these places will have their records intact despite them being centuries old.

How do you find a grave at the cemetery

Once you’ve located the cemetery of your desired individual, you need to find their grave. However, this step may be intimidating due to the cemeteries’ size, as you’ll face an endless row of gravestones.

Fortunately, technology has mapped most burial grounds, allowing you to identify the desired grave quickly. However, if the cemetery has no website, you can call to make inquiries.

While the invention of grave maps on cemetery websites makes your search easier, cemeteries put other measures in place to help you locate the site faster. They organize graves into blocks, lots, and sections.

For example, you may locate the grave on block 1, lot 4, section 6 of the cemetery. Typically, you’ll find the grave’s number etched on the side of the gravestone to enable you to locate it quickly.


Feel free to perform your research and pay your respects to the deceased after successfully finding their resting place. You can choose to maintain the headstone by trimming the grass, planting flowers, cleaning with a dry brush, or doing charcoal rubbings.

However, do not use cleaning agents on the gravestone, as these structures are porous and relatively fragile and break faster when exposed to harsh chemicals.

Tell people where you would like to be buried with memorial instructions in your Life Plan.