One of the things you may want to take a look at in your genealogy research is cemetery records. These are different than death certificates. These are the actual records of a cemetery where one or more of your ancestors are known to be (or believed to be) buried. You can get a variety of useful information from cemetery records. In fact, these records can often help you fill in some blank spaces on your family tree, and even open up spaces that you didn’t know were blank.
You will most often find cemetery records at the cemetery office, though there are exceptions depending on the town or city, and how old the cemetery is. This is some of the information you will typically find in cemetery records.
Who Bought the Plot: This is useful to know, because it tells you who was in charge of making those decisions in your family at the time the plot was purchased. It may also give you an idea of why the plot was purchased. It also gives you a line of descent to trace to who may own (or be able to claim legal ownership through descent) the plots today, especially if there are still open spaces that current family members may want to use.
The Date the Plot Was Purchased: Knowing when the plot was purchased can let you compare that date to other dates in your family tree for that family line, to give you an idea of why the plots may have been purchased when they were. When a death happened in a family, it was common to buy one or more plots, often more than one so loved ones could be buried with the initial person who was placed there. Births and marriages also sometimes occasioned the purchasing of cemetery plots, so all of the needs of the family in the future could be taken care of before those things needed to be thought of. It made things easier later on when those plots were needed.
The Current Owner of the Plot: If the family has owned the plot for a while, such as for many generations, and has kept track of updating the cemetery office each time a new person inherits the plots, you may find a new relative, or a new line of your family to trace. It will also give you an idea of family dynamics in the past and present.
Who is in the Plot: A plot can include one or more spaces within the plot. Cemetery records tell you who is in each space in the plot, and usually the date they were placed there. This information can alert you to the presence of unused spaces in the plot. It can also let you know if there are people in any of the spaces who do not have headstones. This can let you know where certain ancestors are buried, if you did not previously know, and can also let you know of certain children born to a family who crossed over young, who you never knew about in the first place.