Roots and Branches – genealogy | TheUnion.com
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Roots and Branches – genealogy

Question: How can I find out what cemetery my ancestor is buried in? He died in 1880, before death certificates were mandatory.

Answer: If you know the town or city your ancestors died in, it is getting easier to locate the graves. The interest in genealogy and history has sparked the urge to preserve such records. Researchers are going to the cemeteries and copying the information on tombstones and in records, if records can be found.

There have been many books published on this subject, generally as fund-raisers for genealogical or historical groups. Many individuals have also published books. In Nevada County, we are fortunate to have copies of the early mortuary records from Hooper and Weaver, which have been indexed and are located at the Doris Foley Library in Nevada City. Some mortuaries will help you with the records; others will not.



If the date and place of death are known, be sure to look for an obituary in the local newspaper. Generally, the obituary or death notice will tell where the burial is. Ask family members for prayer and memorial cards they may have tucked away.

If you know the name of the cemetery but not the location, check with the local historical society, genealogy society or mortuaries. For Nevada County, the information is at the Doris Foley Library.




Don’t forget that people were not always buried where they died. For example, someone may have been visiting in another state, but was buried in the family plot at home. The hometown paper may refer to the move back home and the paper where the person died may also mention where the burial will be. Sometimes families will move their loved ones from one place to another, but the cemetery should have that on record. Now, permits are required.

Josie Plescia Vaughn is the librarian of the Nevada County Genealogy Society. Send questions to NCGS, P.O. Box 176, Cedar Ridge 95924


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