ou’ve set aside time to research your Civil War ancestor. You’ve checked loads of records. You've found his company and regiment. You know his enlistment dates and the battles he fought. You’ve put together a nifty timeline but there’s one large gapping hole. You have no idea where he’s buried. So what do you do? How do you go about finding the final resting place of your ancestor? Here are some online sites that may help you find the information you’re seeking.
Try the U.S. Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs Gravesite locator. This database includes all veterans burials not just those from the Civil War. Their information includes vets buried in our National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, as well as other military and Dept. of Interior cemeteries. This source also covers veterans buried in private cemeteries when they have a government issued headstone.
Did you know Arlington National Cemetery provides information on service members buried there? They have an app you can download on your mobile device or laptop. Researchers can locate headstones and view both front and back as well as save the information they have found.
Another avenue for research is the Confederate Graves Registry. Run by the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) this graves registry is a searchable database of Confederate veteran grave sites. With more than 137,000 documented grave sites in 17,270 cemeteries, covering 46 states and 15 countries, the information you’re searching for may be found in this database. I also found that the SCV has a grave registry for individual states too. So if you don’t find the info you’re looking for in the main registry try searching the web for Georgia Graves Registry or Alabama Confederate Grave site project. Try substituting the state you think might be your ancestor’s final resting place. These state sites may provide helpful.
The Sons of Union Veterans (SUV) have a similar website. Their site is searchable as well and is dedicated to all Union veterans. This is an ongoing project of the Sons, documenting the burial places of Union soldiers. Launched in 1996, the SUV continues to work on the 4.2 million Union Civil War Veterans final resting places.
Both the Sons of Confederate Veterans and Sons of Union Veterans websites eagerly accept information on the final resting place of a Civil War veteran not listed in their records. Check either home page for instructions on how to submit burial information for a veteran to the appropriate site. You may have information valuable to another family historian.
The Soldiers and Sailors website maintained by the National Park system has a growing database. There are 14 National Cemeteries with thousands of fallen soldiers buried there. You can access their link here. Let me add that I am actively searching for the burial place of one of my own Civil War ancestors. I have called and emailed several National Cemeteries in my continued search. Those responding to my query have always been responsive and helpful. You may want to contact a National Cemetery if you feel it is likely your ancestor is buried in one. Unfortunately I have yet to find the final resting place of my own veteran.
Also FamilySearch has a page dedicated to US Military Cemetery Records. Their information is always valuable providing the researcher with links, lists, books and websites to research.
Then there is always Find-A-Grave and BillionGraves. Both fantastic sites and one can easily get sidetracked searching them with their enormous number of records but of course not all Civil War veteran’s burial sites will be documented.
Remember these online sites are just one step in searching for the final resting place of your Civil War ancestor. You may not find the information you’re looking for with these suggestions but there are tips outside of internet research too. We’ll talk about those next month. Until then good luck as you continue in your Civil War research.