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Genealogy Resources: Cemeteries

Information Found in Cemeteries

What can you learn from cemeteries?

Vital Record Dates

Relationship Information

Name Variations

Photographs

Occupation

Affiliations

Popular FREE Websites

Find-A-Grave

This site allows users to search for and upload information about headstones.

Tombstone Transcription Project

This website compiles cemetery inventories from across the Unites States into a single website.

McLennan County Cemetery Interest Group

This volunteer group is organized by the Waco-McLennan County Library's Genealogy Center. Call the Genealogy Center at 254-750-5945 for more information.

Cemetery Research

Learn about the basics of cemetery research in Part VI of our Building and Researching Your Family Tree, a twelve part beginners' series. Click here to see other videos in this series. 

Know the Terms

Cemetery Record Cemetery Inventory

A record is any information created and maintained about burials. Records are often created by the cemetery administrators (church, association, county, or other). Unfortunately, burial records are not available for all cemeteries.

An inventory records information collected from headstones or markers. Only information that is visible at the time of the inventory's creation is recorded. Unfortunately, any burials that do not have a legible marker will not be identified in an inventory.

 

Cemetery Inventories

What is the value of a print cemetery inventory?

A published cemetery inventory captures the information available at the time the work was completed. This means that is a cemetery inventory was completed in the 1980s, the print inventory may contain names from headstones that have since become damaged or buried. A researcher may find a name in a print inventory that will never appear in an online inventory because the headstone is no longer available. Search Tip: more than one inventory may have been completed for a cemetery. Look through all available inventories when possible.

Where do I find a print cemetery inventory?

First, check with the Waco-McLennan County Library's Genealogy Center. Our collection may have published inventories for the location you need. Click here to search our catalog (Search Tip: use the name of the county where the cemetery is located as your keyword. Ex.: Greene County, Alabama). Next, check with regional genealogical or historical societies. These groups are often involved with creating cemetery inventories in their areas. Libraries in the area of interest will often have copies of books published by their local genealogical and historical groups.

Do you have print inventories for local cemeteries?

Yes! Click here for a list of local cemetery inventories available in the Genealogy Center. This includes cemetery inventories for McLennan County and surrounding counties (Falls, Bell, Coryell, Bosque, Hill, and Limestone). We also have vertical files which may contain unpublished material for some local cemeteries. We also have inventories available for many other parts of Texas, the Southeast, the Colonies, and the Mid-West.

Records to Use for Clues

What records might mention an individual's burial location?

Death Certificate

Obituary or Funeral Notice

Funeral Home Records

Church Records

Cemetery Association Records

Cemetery Symbols

Tips for Visiting a Cemetery

Take a camera. Take photos of the headstones. Do not take rubbings because this can damage the stones.

Do not move anything. Many unusual items are used as grave markers. If you see things like rocks, pipes, stakes, or other items, leave them where they are.

Look around for a pavilion or other structure. These will sometimes have a listing of burial locations.