Cemetery, Mortuary & Funeral Home Records


Since statewide registration of births and deaths was not required until around 1906 when a federal law was passed, and since some states took decades to comply with this law cemetery, mortuaries, and funeral homes may have the only death records available.

If you can find an obituary for your ancestor in a newspaper, it may give the name of the funeral home or mortuary. Even if the funeral home or mortuary no longer exists, contact the state regulatory agency for funeral homes in that town as they may be able to tell you if the name has changed or if it has been sold. In that case, the records may have gone along with the sale. If you can’t find an obituary, you might call all the funeral homes in the surrounding areas to see if they have information in their files on your ancestor. Be extremely polite and grateful for any information as cemeteries, mortuaries, and funeral homes are not in the business of supplying genealogists with information.

Other records of this type can be found in church burial registers, cemetery deed and plot registrations, burial permits, and grave opening orders, coroner or police records.

Help Me!  What are the names of the cemeteries in my ancestor’s hometown?

Help Me!  My ancestor died while visiting his daughter in another state, where would I find a funeral home record?

To ask these or similar questions, click on Help Me!, fill out the form that comes up, and submit your questions.