A crumbling gravestone hidden under a mass of tangled vines in a country churchyard cemetery can provide a
wealth of genealogical information. Whether you're a devoted taphophile (or lover of cemeteries as cultural
artifacts) or just getting started, the Internet can help you with this fascinating branch of
If you already know
the birth and death dates for your ancestor, what good will a gravestone do? Find out at About.com's Genealogy
Research in the Cemetery. The article
also details how to locate a cemetery and what to expect during a visit.
Genealogy.com features an article about
research involving cemeteries and funeral homes. Check out the library at
"The Mausoleum" for lots of how-to articles.
The Internet has made gravestone research much easier than in the past. Instead of spending hours on the phone
trying to ascertain where an ancestor's remains are located, or traveling thousands of miles to an old gravesite,
you can now search cemetery databases at the click of a mouse.
Cemetery Junction contains indexes and directories of
United States and Australian cemeteries. While some cemeteries simply provide contact information,
many have directories with searching capabilities. Check out
The Cemetery Trail to explore
cemeteries around the country.
Unfortunately, many gravesites are in a precarious situation. Cemeteries are threatened by new development
and lack of maintenance. Even the sturdiest tombstones are subject to the ravages of time. Luckily,
there are organizations devoted to the preservation of cemeteries and the valuable data they contain.
The USGenWeb Tombstone Transcription Project recruits volunteers
to transcribe and archive tombstone inscriptions so that the information will be easily accessible to all.
Increased awareness of the dangers cemeteries face has led to preservation efforts.
CTGravestones.com outlines a few state statutes
that you may find useful to ensure that your own research doesn't threaten the cemeteries in which you work.