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Old 01-19-2013, 10:12 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
222 posts, read 361,312 times
Reputation: 70

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I'm so frustrated...Volunteers through my church were able to find burial records for my ancestors, but when I called up the cemetery they tell me they can't find them. Now this is going back to the early 1890's and early 1900's. What would be the reason for them to not have these records?
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:27 PM
 
1,097 posts, read 1,663,921 times
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Lots of stuff -- I had one tell me they didn't have it, and called again in a few months and not only did the guy find it, but walked to the grave, wrote down the stuff on the stone and called me back. But - in another instance was told to try the funeral home, as they kept better records.

Cemeteries were just not that great at keeping records long-term. It seems to depend on the area, size. importance etc.
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:43 PM
 
Location: Canada
3,678 posts, read 2,500,517 times
Reputation: 4748
You may be able to find the record online, complete with a picture of the gravestone:

Find A Grave - Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials

I check the above site regularly as new records/pictures are added by volunteers on an ongoing basis.
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:13 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
8,240 posts, read 12,868,719 times
Reputation: 10464
I agree with nj, it really depends on the cemetery but some have lost records or just didn't keep them. There could be any number of reasons why.

I was recently at church cemetery because I found a death record for my ancestors saying they were buried there but the church had no records of any the buries or gravestones. Apparently they were all lost at some point, probably when the church was going through a period of neglect and then was eventually rebuilt. Lots of records were probably lost. But they said I was welcome to explore the graveyard and look for my ancestors and sure enough, I found their gravestones.

Go back far enough in history and you may find burial grounds that never even kept records to begin with. Some of my colonial ancestors were apparently buried in a family cemetery - basically, it was located on the family properly and only family and friends were buried there. So I don't think there were any records kept to begin with.

Where did the volunteers find the burial records? Don't forget to judge the reliability of the records.
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:54 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
222 posts, read 361,312 times
Reputation: 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by PA2UK View Post
I agree with nj, it really depends on the cemetery but some have lost records or just didn't keep them. There could be any number of reasons why.

I was recently at church cemetery because I found a death record for my ancestors saying they were buried there but the church had no records of any the buries or gravestones. Apparently they were all lost at some point, probably when the church was going through a period of neglect and then was eventually rebuilt. Lots of records were probably lost. But they said I was welcome to explore the graveyard and look for my ancestors and sure enough, I found their gravestones.

Go back far enough in history and you may find burial grounds that never even kept records to begin with. Some of my colonial ancestors were apparently buried in a family cemetery - basically, it was located on the family properly and only family and friends were buried there. So I don't think there were any records kept to begin with.

Where did the volunteers find the burial records? Don't forget to judge the reliability of the records.
Records were found at my local Catholic Diocese. They copied the records for me from the microfilm, but it's hard to judge if they are real or not. They are just names of the deceased and the parents. I can't just go and look for myself, because the records are kept private from the public.
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:14 PM
 
1,097 posts, read 1,663,921 times
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Where is this? State?

Here is a link to when and how states complied with vital records regulations & where/how some are available.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:33 PM
 
Location: 2016 Clown Car...fka: Wisconsin
738 posts, read 774,055 times
Reputation: 1190
A lot depends on who owns and/or manages the cemetery. I have a similar situation with my husband's ancestors:

I was able to obtain death certificates for (who would have been) his aunt and uncle on his mother's side. Both of their death certificates only indicate the city that they were buried in (New Berlin). Visiting one of the oldest cemeteries in that city for the timeframe, revealed that many of this particular family's relatives were buried throughout this specific cemetery which was evidenced by the number of ornate headstones with the family named clearly noted. But no headstones were found for either the aunt or uncle.

So off to the office for a quick look-up; but nothing to be found. As we were leaving, I asked how far back the records went. She explained that the original records, as well as the original church had perished in a fire sometime back in the 1970's and that these records were only a recording of the headstones that were located post-fire. I then asked were the original church stood and she pointed to the blacktopped parking lot, just about 4 feet away from where the main family plot was located.

Knowing what I do about the family during that time, I suspect that they probably had little money for headstones and simply placed a memorial cross at the grave sites. 65 years later, after the fire had ravaged the church and the surrounding area, the final cleanup did not reveal the presence of graves in that location. So without benefit of burial records, and with no granite headstones in place, there are no records that the burials ever took place at this location.

Definitely sad, but this one's out of everyone's control.

RVcook
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
222 posts, read 361,312 times
Reputation: 70
I live in western PA near New Castle. The Pittsburgh Catholic diocese handles all records for catholic churches in the region. It's funny, they were able to find them with no problem through church registries, but I'm having a heck of time finding any records on the the Pennsylvania state website. It's like they never existed. I have records of their birth certificates from Italy and their ship records from Ellis Island. I guess it's possible they didn't have any type of headstone or marker, and maybe some of the records were lost or not recorded. I even went through the cemetery where all the old stones were, but had no luck in finding my ancestors.
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:24 PM
 
Location: Little Rock AR USA
2,457 posts, read 6,109,410 times
Reputation: 1863
I will add to what PA2UK posted. In many rural areas, what at first was a family cemetery with no church affiliation, evolved into a community cemetery. As a hobby I locate and document "lost" and abandoned cemeteries as archeology sites and can tell lots of stories, but will pass on only this one. I was mapping one of those and the family patriarch was telling me who was in the unmarked graves. He showed me one grave site that he said was being excavated for a new burial and they hit a casket. No one remembered there was a burial in that spot.
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:47 AM
 
4,135 posts, read 9,143,979 times
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We found unmarked family graves ( all died in war or Depression) . It was a location for 4 graves, nowadays it would only have 3 burials ( crypt size). Lo and behold, there were4 small stones to mark the grave location, with initials, all of 2" above the grass. The burial map had it as 3 people. I knew the date of the 4th person we were looking for> and that was in the burial book, just not on the map. Problem solved; all 4 people were there, before they needed crypts.. Other cemeteries? No marking of the location makes the use of close to 8-9 graves in plots from about 1800 to 1900 unusable. The cemetery defaulted, the town had to take it over; you can't be buried in any of the older section --- no matter if plots have graves. Very annoying, knowing they are all there empty.
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