In the Spring of 1979, my Grandmother (Naomi Beula Sloan Lyons) and my Mother (Geraldine Lyons) went to South Australia to gather more genealogical research. One of their highlights was the discovery of cemetery records for some of our SLOANs. (Check out our main genealogical research web site for more information by clicking here.)
Cemetery records are good for establishing death dates and even somewhat accurate birth dates. There may also be interesting tidbits of information written on the tombstone or even in records kept by the cemetery. If you know where your ancestors died you should be able to find a cemetery where they are buried. In our case they found a few ancestors in Kapunda, South Australia and in Laura Cemetery in Laura, Clare, Sough Australia.
How to find Cemetery Records
- Locate the place where your ancestor died. If family knowledge doesn't reveal this, then a check of the Social Security Death Index may help if the person died after 1962. If you think your ancestor died prior to 1930, a check of the census every ten years will at least help find the place they were living near the time of death.
- Locate all the cemeteries in the town or area where your ancestor died. To do this, a call to the local library may help you determine where the local cemetery records are kept and addresses. Many times the cemetery records are actually kept at the library. Directory Assistance or the local Chamber of Commerce should be able to help you obtain phone numbers and/or addresses of cemeteries and libraries in the area.
- Write to the most likely cemeteries first. When writing to the office where cemetery records are kept, be sure to state all the information you have on your ancestor. Along with your request for death dates, ask for any biographical or historical information that may be contained in their files.
- You may try searching online at websites such as www.interment.net, www.findagrave.com, and www.usgenweb.com. Usgenweb has an ongoing cemetery project which may be found by accessing the "Projects" menu and then clicking the "Tombstone Project." The local state and county websites found at usgenweb.com may also have cemetery records to view online.
- Do not forget to check the Family History Library Catalog at www.familysearch.org by signing in to your account and then choosing the following: click "Catalog", then click the "Search" dropdown and select "Place-names," then type your town or county, and finally selecting the "Cemetaries" link. If you find a microfilm in this catalog that you wish to view, you may contact you local Family History Center where they will order it for you. The address of a branch Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) Family History Center located close to you is found at www.familysearch.org under the category of "Library" and then "Family History Centers."