Are you looking for a grave in Idaho?
Visiting a grave is often a cathartic experience. Doing so may give you a chance to say goodbye or to get closure following a death.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What Information Will You Need Before You Try to Find a Grave in Idaho?
- Idaho-Specific Resources to Help You Find a Grave
- Reasons You Can’t Find a Gravesite
- Steps for Finding a Grave in Idaho for Free
However, many of you might be trying to find a grave in Idaho to learn more about your family tree. You may hope to uncover missing details about the deceased or their immediate family. Perhaps you have already discovered those details and wish to visit the grave as a way to honor those who came before you.
Let us help. Please understand that we will not be teaching you how to find a grave within a cemetery. Instead, we wish to help you find the general place of burial.
What Information Will You Need Before You Try to Find a Grave in Idaho?
Are you ready to do some research? Here’s what you should try to find out about the deceased before you search for their grave.
Of course, the most reasonable way to begin your search for a grave in Idaho is to find out everything you can about the person’s name.
First, do you know the official or “given” name of the deceased? The State of Idaho started keeping records of births in 1911. Therefore, if you are trying to find the official name of a person born before 1911, you might have to turn to county or church records (or consult the family Bible).
While knowing the given name of the deceased may help you in your search, it doesn’t guarantee that you will find the grave.
It was common (and still is) for people to use nicknames instead of the names given to them by their parents. Thus, the deceased’s headstone may feature that nickname.
Some people use their middle name instead of their first name, which may cause another layer of confusion when looking through records. Also, the same exact name was often repeated within the same family tree – even within the same generation. Of course, marriage, divorce, and re-marriage may also make it challenging to find the name used on the headstone.
When a person dies, the next of kin can choose the name engraved on the headstone. So if your grandmother went by her middle name, and that name was shortened into a nickname, you might have a difficult time finding the grave in Idaho.
Knowing the birth and death dates of the deceased may help you find their cemetery plot. In particular, knowing the death date is particularly helpful for finding a grave in Idaho.
Knowing those important dates may help you narrow down your search, especially if the deceased had a common name for the region.
Location of death
Knowing the city or county where the death occurred may also help you find the burial site, especially if you are searching for an old grave. People tended to be buried near the place of death because moving a corpse was (and still is) a somewhat expensive process.
Additionally, cremation wasn’t always a standard option in most areas of the country. So if the death occurred 50 years ago or more, it is doubtful that the body was cremated before being brought home for burial.
So, if the obituary of the deceased states that the person died while visiting a family member in another state, you might consider narrowing your search to cemeteries within that region.
Additionally, knowing the faith of the deceased may also be helpful in finding a burial site. Churches often have cemeteries for their members.
Idaho-Specific Resources to Help You Find a Grave
Have you gathered as much information as possible about the person whose grave you are trying to find? You might be moments away from seeing a photograph of the headstone. Here are some resources to use.
Find a Grave is probably the most popular grave-finding website. Here’s how it works.
Volunteers visit cemeteries across the country and photograph headstones. Then, they upload their photos and the information found on the headstone inscription onto the website.
Find a Grave allows you to search for the headstone using the person’s name(s), the year they were born, the year they died, and the location of the death.
Billion Graves is a competitor of Find a Grave, and it works the same way – volunteers take photos at cemeteries and enter the information for this website.
Interment is another website that will help you uncover official records related to the deceased. The Idaho page allows you to search through newspapers, obituaries, and funeral notices. If you know in which Idaho county the person died, you can also narrow your search to cemetery records within that region.
While Interment is undoubtedly helpful, not all of the records are available for free.
Probably your best source for finding information about your family is Ancestry. Although Ancestry isn’t explicitly designed to help you find a grave in Idaho, it links to the national Find a Grave database. We prefer Ancestry’s search page for Find a Grave over the one on the actual website.
Even though Ancestry’s primary purpose isn’t to record burial sites, it may help you in your search. For example, if you connect to someone’s family tree that they made public online, you might be able to find information about a shared ancestor. They may have even uploaded the person’s photographs or birth, marriage, or death certificates.
Even if the burial site isn’t recorded on Ancestry, you might consider reaching out to the extended family members who are interested in genealogy. They may have other information about the person they didn’t post online, which will help you track down the burial site.
If your ancestor served in the U.S. military, they might be buried in a National Cemetery, which is a benefit for veterans. Look through the gravesite locator offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to see if you can find a record of their burial.
You can also search for your soldier’s grave through the American Battle Monuments Commission website.
If the deceased died after 1911, you might be able to locate a death certificate from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
The people working at the state and county-level historical societies in Idaho may also help you with their search. Many of these people, especially those working at the community level, have extensive knowledge about the area’s history.
Reasons You Can’t Find a Gravesite
Unfortunately, some of you may have been unsuccessful in finding the grave in Idaho you are seeking. We know how frustrating this might be. Here are some possible reasons that your search was unsuccessful.
The person is still living
We know it’s a long shot, but could it be that the person you are searching for is still alive? First, verify the person’s date of birth to see if this could be a possibility. Then learn more about how to find out if someone is still alive.
The cemetery records aren’t online
Not all cemetery records are online. Actually, some might not even be digitized and instead found in an old record book. Remember, Find a Grave and Billion Graves rely on volunteers, so perhaps no volunteers have yet visited the cemetery where your loved one is buried.
The headstone is difficult or impossible to read
Headstones weather and deteriorate over time, making them difficult or impossible to read. In addition, older grave markers may have been made with available materials and could have disappeared over time, leaving the grave unmarked.
If the cemetery records are unavailable, you might never know the burial spot of your loved one in Idaho.
Your loved one was buried on private land
If the person died in a rural community in Idaho, they might have been buried on private land. Even if the gravesite is still marked, finding the burial spot may be difficult.
Steps for Finding a Grave in Idaho for Free
We have a few more ideas on how to find a grave in Idaho for free. However, even if our suggestions may be “free,” they might involve a bit of travel.
1. Seek help from extended family members
Reach out to the oldest living relative in your extended family. If everyone from the previous generation is gone, try to connect to the family member interested in genealogy. They might have a box full of documents, including the obituaries and funeral cards. This information, of course, might lead you to the burial site.
2. Visit the Idaho community where your ancestor lived and died
Visit the historical society for the area. If one doesn’t exist, go to the local coffee shop that receives a lot of business from locals and ask for information.
3. Visit the local cemeteries
We know this might not be the most efficient way to find a grave, but if you can’t find the burial location of your loved one or ancestor by doing in-person or online research, you might simply need to walk through cemeteries in Idaho.
Did You Find Your Loved One’s Grave in Idaho?
We hope we were able to help you find a grave in Idaho. If you found it, you might consider leaving a gift at the gravesite to honor your loved one.