For various reasons, you may one day find yourself searching for a grave in a location in which you’re not familiar. Perhaps you want to visit the grave of an ancestor or distant family member, and you’re not sure where it is precisely. Maybe you just want to find the grave of a historical figure.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What Information Will You Need Before You Try to Find a Grave in Alaska?
- Alaska-Specific Resources to Help You Find a Grave
- Steps for Finding a Grave in Alaska for Free
Don’t worry if you’re not sure where to start. This guide will help.
Be aware, the manner you go about finding someone’s grave may vary depending on the state in which you are searching. For example, maybe you’re trying to find a grave in Alaska. Maybe you also don’t want to spend much money on this task.
The following article will explain various ways of tracking down a grave in Alaska.
What Information Will You Need Before You Try to Find a Grave in Alaska?
Finding a grave is typically easier if you gather certain pieces of information when starting your search. Along with the basics, like the name of the individual whose grave you’re searching for, try to gather such info as:
The cemetery in which they were buried
You may be reading this because you don’t know which cemetery a grave is in. Don’t worry, as this guide will also cover how to find the cemetery that’s home to a particular grave.
However, you may know which cemetery a specific grave is buried in but don't know exactly how to find a grave in a cemetery. If this is the case, it should be fairly easy to find the grave you're looking for. More on that later.
The deceased’s home
Most people choose to bury loved ones close to their homes. Thus, if you know where the deceased spent most of their life, you could narrow down your list of cemeteries where their grave may be.
When they died
It’s sometimes helpful to have a general sense of when a person died if you’re searching for their grave in Alaska. While it’s not always necessary to have this information on hand, it can often make a search a little bit easier.
Whether the deceased belonged to any specific groups
It’s not uncommon for the loved ones of those who belong to certain groups to bury them in cemeteries specific to those groups. For example, if someone was a veteran, their grave might be in a veterans’ cemetery. Or, you might find their grave in a Jewish cemetery if they were passionate about their Jewish faith.
Those are merely two examples. When gathering information before searching for a grave, consider whether the person whose grave you’re trying to track down was a member of any groups that have their cemeteries. This information could potentially reduce the amount of time it will take to find their grave.
Any additional documentation you may have
Depending on whose grave you are trying to find, you may have access to other documents that could theoretically help you find a grave. For example, if you’re attempting to find the grave of a family member, you might be able to find information about their grave’s location in family correspondence.
When preparing to search for a grave in Alaska, you might also want to prepare by thinking about what you’ll do once you visit said grave. For instance, you might want to think about what to leave at a grave.
Alaska-Specific Resources to Help You Find a Grave
Once more, the process for finding a grave in Alaska may not be the same as that of finding a grave in another state. Some Alaska-specific resources you can potentially use when searching for a grave include the following:
Find a Grave
Find a Grave is a website with sections listing the cemeteries in a given state. You can use it to potentially find the cemetery in Alaska that may be home to the grave for which you’re searching. Once you believe you have found the appropriate cemetery, you can then use a search tool to determine if you are correct in your belief that it is the site of a particular grave.
This tool is more helpful if you have some sense of the region in which a person’s grave may be. That’s because the tool narrows down the list of cemeteries by region and municipality. This highlights the importance of conducting some preliminary research and gathering as much information about a grave as you can before you start searching for it.
Family Search is another online resource that allows you to search for cemeteries by location. You can search for a cemetery at the state level, county level, or town/city level. This tool may be helpful if you at least know the overall area in which you may find the cemetery, but you’re not completely sure where a specific grave is.
Alaska historical societies
This isn’t technically a single resource. Instead, it's a collection of multiple resources.
Essentially, if you think you know the region in which a grave may be found, you can search for historical societies in that region online. Once you’ve identified a few, you can contact them asking if they have any records relating to a certain person’s grave.
Keep in mind that the right tactics for finding a grave will vary depending on the type of grave you are trying to locate. For instance, using these resources may be more helpful if you’re trying to find the grave of a historical figure or if you’re attempting to find the grave of someone who lived very long ago.
The VA’s website maintains a list of national veterans’ cemeteries in each state. Naturally, you might use this tool if you’re searching for the grave of a veteran. You can reach out to the owners or managers of the cemeteries on the list and ask whether any of their cemeteries are home to a particular grave.
Steps for Finding a Grave in Alaska for Free
There are several steps you can take to find a grave. Just be aware, you may need to experiment with different methods before successfully finding a grave. The following are often the most effective methods:
1. Search online
Don’t overlook the simple methods when considering how to find a grave in Alaska. Before you start using other tools, it’s a smart idea to Google the name of the individual whose grave you’re trying to find, along with words such as “obituary” and “grave.”
If you find someone’s obituary, it will probably list their burial site. From there, you can proceed to the final step in this process. Or, if you’re looking for the grave of someone who was a noteworthy figure, there might be many sites providing information about their burial location.
2. Use the resources here
If searching for a person’s obituary online doesn’t yield any helpful results, your next option is to use the various tools and resources listed in the previous section of this guide to find the cemetery where a person’s grave is. Again, you’ll be more likely to find the right cemetery fast if you prepare yourself by determining the general area where a person is likely to have been buried.
You might not immediately find the right cemetery when you first start using these resources. That said, there’s a good chance that one of them will help you in your search.
3. Use the cemetery’s website or contact ownership for more information
Once you believe you’ve identified the cemetery in which a grave is located (or once you have a list of a few cemeteries that may be home to a grave), you can first search for the name of the cemetery on Google to find out if it has a website.
If so, this may make finding a grave an easy process. Many cemetery websites have tools that allow users to search for specific graves. These search tools will often provide information about a grave’s specific location, sometimes along with an accompanying map to make finding it even simpler.
That said, not all cemeteries have websites. Even those that do have websites don’t always offer these types of search tools.
You have other options when this is the case. Even if a cemetery doesn’t necessarily have a website, a little Googling should easily help you find the contact information for those who run a particular cemetery. You can call them or email them explaining whose grave you’re looking for and why you want to find it.
They’ll likely accommodate your request. While this method may force you to spend a little more time tracking down a grave in Alaska, it’s an option to consider when all other methods prove ineffective.
How to Find a Grave in Alaska: Numerous Methods to Consider
Again, it might take some time to find a grave in Alaska, but if you’re persistent, you may be able to find exactly what you’re looking for. For more information on a similar topic, check out our blog on how to find out if someone died.
If you're an Alaska resident and ready to start preparing your own end-of-life planning documents, Cake has Advance Care Planning forms you can download. To help ease your planning, we have all the documents you need in one place.