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Family Finder
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* Finding an age with cemeteries and cemetery records

Cemeteries and cemetery records are excellent places to look for an individual's age. In addition to looking at gravestones themselves, you can also check the cemetery records, if they exist. The records usually include at least names and death dates. While actually visiting the grave site is the best thing to do, you may also find a death date by searching the gravestone inscriptions that some organizations have transcribed. These transcriptions are described below.

To locate the burial site, first ask other family members if they know where any old family plots are. Where one family member is buried, it is likely that there are a few others. If you know to which church the individual belonged, you may want to ask the church if there was a particular cemetery where many church members of the era were buried. You can also check your local public and genealogy libraries for the American Blue Book of Funeral Directors, published in New York by the National Funeral Directors Association. This book lists cemeteries by location, and will at least give you a target list of cemeteries to search.

Once you have a target list of cemeteries, try calling before you visit. This may save you a fruitless trip because staff members may be able to search their records for you. If your ancestor is buried in the cemetery and you plan to visit the grave site, you should find out when the cemetery office is open so that you can stop in and find out exactly where the plot is. If there doesn't seem to be an office at the cemetery, try calling churches and funeral directors in the area. They may know where any cemetery records are located, if they exist

Finally, check with public libraries, genealogy libraries, and genealogy societies in the area where your ancestor may be buried. They may have or know about transcriptions from local cemeteries. In addition, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Works Project Administration, and the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers have all transcribed selected gravestone inscriptions from throughout the United States. Contact the Library of the Daughters of the American Revolution or your local Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for more information about their collections of gravestone transcriptions.

If you are unable to locate any cemetery records, you will have to visit your target cemeteries in person and walk up and down among the gravestones. Bring the family -- several pairs of legs and eyes are better than one pair.

When looking for cemetery records, many people use computerized cemetery records indexes to help them find the record that they need. Some libraries have computerized cemetery records indexes and you can also purchase selected cemetery records on CD-ROM from, Inc.

The FamilyFinder Index, a feature of Family Tree Maker software and also available for searching at, is an index of over 220 million names from census records, marriage records, Social Security death records, actual family trees, and more. This feature can help you by telling you if your ancestor's name is actually listed on one of the cemetery CDs sells. Using the FamilyFinder Index couldn't be easier -- all you need to do is enter the names of your ancestors right into your own computer. If the FamilyFinder Index tells you that your ancestors are listed, then it's simple to locate your ancestor's record. For more information about FamilyFinder, or for information about purchasing CD-ROM indexes, see the topic All about FamilyFinder.

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