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Using the Cemetery for Genealogical Research

Using the cemetery for your genealogical research is something most researchers are familiar with. The information you can get can often be the key to breaking down that brick wall. Here are some tips to help you in this endeavor.

If you have to travel to the cemetery, review the supplies you may need to take at
Genealogy Travel Kit

Once a tombstone is found, write exactly what you see on the stone. This includes abbreviations and “wrong” information. Do not overlook the back of the stone. There are some problems you may encounter as you try to read the tombstones. Some obstacles you may find are

Difference in name spelling
Assuming relationship based on proximity of stones
Moved or misplaced stones
Broken stones
No stone there at all
Worn out stones that are not readable
Leaning stones
Materials used that did not last
“Cleaned-Up” cemetery where markers have been removed
Stone written in foreign language or characters
Numbers easily confused

There are many internet sites that can assist you. The web page for your county or genealogical society may have a cemetery list.

Other sites for your consideration:

USGen Web Cemetery

Tombstones Abbreviations & Symbols

Grave Markers Acronym Page of the International Black Sheep Society of Genealogist



US Geological Survey Database of Map Features

Association for Gravestone Studies

Cemetery Junction

Cyndi’s List of Cemeteries



Worldwide Cemeteries

Symbols & Words

Directory of US Funeral Homes, Obit Search & Cemetery Index

Tomb With A View

International Jewish Cemetery Project

Catholic Cemeteries of St. Louis

I Dream of Genealogy Cemetery Records

Genealogy.com Virtual Cemetery

Obit Central

Civil War Cemeteries






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