Finding a burial plot can prove problematic at times. Cemeteries have continually shifted over time and as such finding the exact location of where your relative has been buried can often be incredibly difficult.
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Similarly, if records relating to where your relative was buried have been lost or destroyed then they can prove to make the challenge even more difficult.
This begs the question then – how to find burial plot deeds for your long-lost relatives?
The question as to where you can find them and how to find them might be more obvious than you first thought, however.
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Searching The Web – Generally
One of the things that are often overlooked is searching for your relative’s name plus the term “burial plot deed” or simply “burial plot” into a search engine. It may seem like an obvious thing to do – so obvious, in fact, that you might not think to try it.
But information relating to your relative’s burial location may have already been uploaded by a member of your family and easily accessible. As such it is worth always trying the most apparent method of finding burial plot deeds.
Searching The Web – Specifically
Searching the web generally might of course not help you find the burial plot deeds you are looking for. However, a more specific search will likely turn up the information that you need.
Websites like FindAGrave and DeceasedOnline are perfect for finding where your relatives might be buried, and the deeds related to their burial plots.
It is important when searching these sites that you are certain not only as to the name of your relative but also their date of birth and death.
If your relative has an especially common name or one that is particularly popular in the area, they died then this can make the task difficult without other information.
If your relative had a middle initial this may also help in locating exactly where they are buried and the deeds related to their grave.
Whilst sites like FindAGrave might not give you the specific deed document they will certainly help you ensure you are not mistaken as to where the burial plot is. Without finding the burial itself or at least having an idea as to where it is then it can be difficult to find out more information.
It may also be worth searching other genealogical websites such as Ancestry.com to find more information.
Ancestry’s vast set of records will help you not only determine where exactly your ancestor or relative died and how that might link to a particular cemetery but give you more of an idea of the family situation.
If a family were particularly close and likely to share the same burial plot this may be apparent from the records on Ancestry.
Searching The Local Archives
If you are unsuccessful in finding burial plot deeds online then you might potentially be able to find them by searching through the local archives.
Information on burial plots is often kept in local county offices and or in local cemeteries. By visiting them and asking to see records of burials for the cemetery or area you might be able to find what you are looking for.
It is important to note that certain information may not be entirely accurate. Sometimes when registering a burial, the clerk recording the information may have written the name of the deceased incorrectly. Equally, they may have simply misheard the name and therefore misspelled it.
Checking for name discrepancies can sometimes help come up with the right information. Equally asking to look at entries for particular dates may help find the burial plot.
Once you have located the burial plot it can be easy to look up the burial plot deed for the particular grave.
If you already know where the grave is located and can’t find the deeds online then you will be certain to find the information you are looking for within local archives.
Checking The National Archive
Whilst it is more than not likely that you will be able to find burial grave deeds within the local archives there is always a possibility that there may be information in the National Archive.
Searching the National Archive website or contacting archivists may be worth doing on the off chance that the burial plot deed that you are looking for has been transferred there.
This may happen if the record is of potential noteworthiness.
Funeral homes often prepare and publish obituaries on their websites or provide them to local newspapers for publication, here is a special Guide To Finding Obituaries For Specific Individuals
Understanding The Document
Whilst burial plot deeds aren’t necessarily complex documents it is important to fully understand them when reading them. Therefore, once you have located the document it is important that you check to see if there are any terms that you might not understand or find confusing.
Either searching the internet or asking someone with legal knowledge may be worthwhile.
Why Find A Burial Plot Deed?
Finding the correct burial plot deed may be difficult but it is valuable. Contained within the deed will be not only whole owned or owns the grave but of the people that are contained within it.
If this means a family then you may discover relatives that you did not know exist who otherwise would have been lost forever to you.
Equally, it will help you understand where your relative was in society. The size of the grave, where it was positioned, how long in advance the deed was purchased will allow you to comprehend where your ancestor fitted into society.
Graves say a lot about people – they are the final mark someone leaves on this world departs. They are therefore important not merely as sources of information but examples of how a life was lived.
Finding the burial plot deed of your ancestor or relative can thus not only tell you more about them but about you. It can help you truly reconnect with someone who you may not have fully known but who was a part of you.
They are important parts of our history and as such should be treasured.
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