How to Find a Grave in Kansas for Free: Step-by-Step

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Are you looking for a grave in Kansas? Perhaps you wish to visit the grave of a loved one so you can say your goodbyes. Maybe you are researching your family tree and trying to track down information that can be found at the burial site.

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Regardless of your reason, we will provide you with a few resources to help you find a grave in Kansas for free. Please understand that the focus of this article is not how to find a grave in a cemetery. Instead, we wish to give you some broad ideas on finding the burial spot of someone who passed.

What Information Will You Need Before You Try to Find a Grave in Kansas?

Tracking down the burial site of a person who died before 1900 will not be easy. Even if the person died within the last 100 years, you still might struggle to find their burial place because not all cemetery records are available online.

Here’s the information that would help you find a headstone in Kansas. Please understand that having all this information does not guarantee you will find the burial spot. 

Name

Of course, the most reasonable way to begin your search for a headstone is to find out everything you can about the person’s name. 

The State of Kansas started keeping records of births in 1911. Therefore, if your family member was born before 1911, there might not be an official record of their birth. However, you might be able to find information in a family Bible or church christening records.

Even if you know (or uncover) a person’s name given to them at birth, you may still struggle to find information regarding their death. 

It was common (and still is) for people to use nicknames instead of the names given to them by their parents. Some people use their middle name instead of their first name. Names were often repeated in the same family tree – even within the same generation. Of course, marriage, divorce, and re-marriage may also complicate matters.

People who immigrated to Kansas may have also anglicized their names to make interacting with an English-speaking audience easier. 

When your ancestor died, their next of kin chose the name to be engraved on the headstone. This may or may not be the name you are using in your search.

So if your grandmother chose to go by her middle name, and that name was shortened into a nickname, you might have a difficult time finding her headstone.

Dates

Knowing the birth and death dates of the person may help you find their burial site. In particular, knowing the death date is particularly helpful for finding a grave in Kansas.

Knowing the birth and death dates may help you narrow down your search, especially if the deceased had a common name. 

Also, knowing the date of death may help you if you need to look through newspaper archives to find an obituary (which may include the person’s burial information.) 

If the person died after 1911 in Kansas, there is a greater likelihood that there is an official death certificate. 

Location of Death

Another helpful piece of information that may help you find a grave in Kansas is the location of the death. For the most part, people tended to be buried where they died because moving the body may have been too expensive an undertaking for a typical family. Remember – cremation was not a common option until the last several decades, so it would be doubtful that the body was cremated and then transported for burial.

So, if the obituary of the deceased states that the person died while visiting their daughter in another state, you might need to look through the cemetery records near the daughter’s home to find a record of the burial.

Kansas-Specific Resources to Help You Find a Grave

Now that you are armed with information about the person of interest, it’s time to search online. Here are some websites that may help you find a grave in Kansas. 

Find A Grave

Find a Grave is probably the first website that pops up if you do a general search about your loved one’s death records. Volunteers submit the information found on this website. These individuals visit cemeteries, photograph the headstones, and record the vital information they uncover on this 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. You can also add other names connected to the deceased, such as the names of their parents, siblings, or children.

If that particular cemetery has been visited by a Find A Grave volunteer, a photograph of the headstone might be available. 

Billion Graves

Billion Graves is a competitor of Find a Grave. It works the same way – volunteers take photos and enter the information for this website.

Like Find a Grave, Billion Graves allows you to search using the deceased’s name, the approximate birth and death years, and the place of death. 

Interment

Interment has a page specifically for Kansas cemetery searches. From there, you can search Kansas newspapers, obituaries, and funeral notices. Some cemetery records are also available on the website. 

The only drawback of using this website is that some of the records are not available for free. However, you might be able to access one piece of information if you sign up for a free trial.

Ancestry

Since the purpose of this article is to tell you how to find a grave in Kansas, we choose to give you websites designed for that specific purpose first. First, however, you might find the information you seek from people in your extended family.

Those interested in genealogy may choose to make their family tree on Ancestry public, which means that you can look at the information they posted about your common ancestors. This information may include burial information.

Ancestry also links to the Find a Grave index. So even if you didn’t find the grave you were looking for when you searched directly from the Find a Grave website, it would be worth trying again through Ancestry. 

Even if the burial site isn’t recorded on Ancestry, you might consider reaching out to the person who posted the family tree. They may have other information that they didn’t post online, which will help you track down the burial site. Plus – you’ll be able to form a relationship with your second cousin (twice removed). 

Nationwide Gravesite Locator (provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)

If your ancestor served in the U.S. military, you could also look through a database offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. This database allows you to search using the person’s last name, date of birth, and date of death. However, it seems only to provide information if your family member was buried in a National Cemetery. 

You can also search for your soldier’s grave through the American Battle Monuments Commission website. 

Kansas Vital Records

Visit this page from the Kansas Historical Society to find more information on finding birth and death records registered with the State of Kansas. 

Unfortunately, the burial place can’t be found on a Kansas death certificate, but you might be able to uncover the place of death, which will help you in your search.

Reasons You Can’t Find a Gravesite

Even after using all of these resources, however, you still might not be able to find the grave of your family member or loved one. We know how frustrating this can be. Here are some possible reasons that your search yielded a dead end.

The person is still living

Could it be that the person you are searching for is still alive? First, verify the birth date of the person to see if that is a feasible assumption. Then learn more about how to find out if someone is still alive.

The cemetery records aren’t online

Find a Grave and Billion Graves relies on volunteers. Perhaps no volunteers have yet visited the cemetery where your loved one is buried. 

The headstone is difficult or impossible to read

Headstones deteriorate over time, making them difficult or impossible to read. The volunteer recording the gravestones for the website may have to guess on the spelling of names, which would make finding your loved one’s burial site difficult.

Unfortunately, some headstones are destroyed over time, leaving an unmarked grave.

Your loved one’s grave wasn’t marked

Even if your loved one was buried in a cemetery, the family might not have installed a permanent monument on their resting place. You might be able to find the burial location if you can access the cemetery records, but some of those records may not be online. 

Your loved one was buried on private land

It was common for rural Americans to bury their loved ones on private land, but finding those burial sites would be extremely difficult.

Steps for Finding a Grave in Kansas for Free

If you aren’t ready to give up your search, you might consider seeking the assistance of a researcher whose expertise is genealogy. However, here are some other options for finding a grave in Kansas for free.

1. Seek help from extended family members

Are you still searching for information on the burial site of a family member? It might be time to contact your great aunt or second cousin. Most families have an unofficial record keeper, who was given the family photos and documents when the older generation passed. 

Within those documents, you might find a box of obituaries or funeral cards that tell the burial spot of the deceased. This information may also be recorded in the family Bible, or you might find actual photographs of the coffin.

2. Search through online newspapers, census records, and vital statistics records

Search through the vital records available from the Kansas Historical Society. Finding this biographical information may help you narrow down your search for your ancestor’s burial site.

3. Visit the Kansas community where your ancestor lived and died

The Kansas Historical Society is located in Topeka, but many small towns and larger cities throughout the state store their own records. Narrow your search by visiting the county seat for the appropriate Kansas county. 

4. Visit the local cemeteries

Even though this suggestion appears last on the list, you might want to simply visit the cemetery closest to where your family member lived and died. The cemetery may have records to help you find the grave, or you might need to spend a few hours wandering the grounds and reading headstones. 

Did You Find Your Loved One’s Grave in Kansas?

Were you able to find the grave you were seeking? Consider leaving a gift at the gravesite to honor your loved one.

If you're a Kansas 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.

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