Are you looking for a grave in Mississippi? There are many different reasons why someone might wish to find a grave. Maybe you want to visit the grave so you can say your goodbyes or obtain closure. Perhaps you are researching your family’s history, and you hope to uncover information about the person from the text on the headstone.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What Information Will You Need Before You Try to Find a Grave in Mississippi?
- Mississippi-Specific Resources to Help You Find a Grave
- Reasons You Can’t Find a Gravesite in Mississippi
- Steps for Finding a Grave in Mississippi for Free
Regardless of your reasons for searching for a grave, we would like to help. Please understand that this article will not teach you how to find a grave within a cemetery. You’ll need the help of the cemetery staff for that part of the process. Instead, we will give you some ideas on finding the cemetery where the burial occurred.
What Information Will You Need Before You Try to Find a Grave in Mississippi?
If you’re trying to find the burial site of someone who died within the last few decades, you probably can uncover that information with a simple Google search. Type in the person’s name, the word “obituary,” and the city in Mississippi where the burial took place. With that search, you might uncover a post on Legacy that may list the details regarding the person’s final resting place.
However, if you are trying to find the burial site of a person who died before the online era, you might have to have a bit more patience. That information might be available online, but it may require more skill to find.
Here’s the information you should try to obtain before finding the grave in Mississippi.
The best way to begin your search for a headstone is to find out everything you can about the person’s name. While knowing their given or birth name might be helpful, it’s important to find out if the person used any nicknames as well. If you are searching for the grave of a married woman who took her husband’s last name, it also would be helpful to know her maiden name.
Finding the official record of the person’s death might help. However, death certificates weren’t standard at the state level in Mississippi until 1912. So if the person died previous to that date, there might not be an official document to record the death.
When a person dies, their next of kin decides the name engraved on the headstone. If you aren’t sure what name is used, it will be harder to find the burial site. However, if you have several names to add to the keyword search, you might be more likely to uncover the record you need.
Knowing the date of death may help you find a grave in Mississippi. This information would benefit if the deceased had a common name for the area.
Also, knowing the death date will help you look through newspaper archives or funeral home records to find an obituary (which may include the person’s burial location).
Location of death
It would help if you also tried to find where the person died. You can often find this information on the death certificate. The location of death may help you find the burial spot because it would have been much less expensive to bury the person near where they died instead of transferring the body home for burial.
Also, cremation was not a standard option in the US until the last few decades. So if your ancestor died while visiting a sister in Jackson, you might look at burial sites in that vicinity.
Mississippi-Specific Resources to Help You Find a Grave
Once you know all of the possible names of the deceased, as well as their birth and death dates, and location of death, you can use a website to find their burial location.
Find a Grave is an excellent source for finding a grave in Mississippi for free. This website allows users 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 words and terms to your searches, such as the deceased’s parents, siblings, or children.
Your search may yield an actual photograph of the headstone, taken by volunteers who visit cemeteries to record the website’s database information.
Billion Graves is a competitor of Find a Grave, and it works the same way. Volunteers take photos of the headstones and enter the information about the deceased on this website. Users search for the data using the deceased’s name, the approximate birth, and death years, and the location of death.
Were you not able to find the gravesite using Find a Grave, you might try Interment. This website lists all the counties in the state. Under each county, you can access all the digital cemetery records that are currently available. The documents may be rudimentary and woefully incomplete but you might get lucky and find the information you were trying to find.
Interment also has links to 79 Mississippi newspapers published from 1802 to 1964. You can also search modern Mississippi obituaries and Mississippi funeral notices. Unfortunately, not all of these records are available to you for free. However, you might access the information by signing up for a free trial.
Ancestry is an excellent source for those trying to learn more about your family’s history. The website links you with a lot of genealogical resources. Perhaps the best part about Ancestry is that it allows you to search through the family trees that others have made publicly available. A person with a shared common ancestor may have recorded the gravesite you are trying to find.
Even if there is no record of the burial site on Ancestry, you can send a secure message to the person who posted the genealogical information through the website. They may have information about the burial site that they didn’t put online.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs has created a national gravesite locator of service members buried in one of the National Cemeteries. This database allows you to search using the soldier’s last name, birth date, and date of death.
You can also search for your family member’s grave through the American Battle Monuments Commission website.
The Mississippi Death Index is a searchable database for death records entered between 1904 and 1955. While these documents don’t include the burial information of the deceased, you can find out the person’s name, date of death, and county of death.
You might also be able to find the obituary for the person from a Mississippi newspaper archive, such as the one available through the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
Reasons You Can’t Find a Gravesite in Mississippi
We’ve given you a lot of resources for finding a grave in Mississippi, but you still may not have found any record of the permanent resting place. Here are some possible reasons that you couldn’t find the information.
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The person is still living
Could it be that the burial spot you are searching for does not exist because the person is still alive? Verify the person’s birth date to see if that is a possibility and discover more about finding out if someone is still alive.
The cemetery records aren’t online
Volunteers may not have visited the cemetery where your ancestor is buried for the Find a Grave website. However, if they did visit the site, they might have had difficulty reading the text on the headstone (if one still exists).
Your loved one was buried on private land
It was common for rural Americans to bury their loved ones in private family cemeteries. But, of course, that land may no longer be owned by the same family. So the graves may still be there, but burial records may not be available.
Your loved one’s grave wasn’t marked (or is no longer marked)
Even if your ancestor was buried in a cemetery, the family might not have installed a permanent monument at the site. As a result, cemetery records may still show the burial location, but the gravesite might be unmarked.
Steps for Finding a Grave in Mississippi for Free
If you aren’t ready to give up your search for the grave in Mississippi, you might consider seeking the help of a genealogy expert in that particular region of Mississippi. However, before you make this financial investment to find the grave, here are some other methods of finding a burial spot for free.
1. Talk with extended family members
Consider contacting others in your extended family who are interested in history. They might know the location of the grave, especially if they live in the same area as members of your previous generation.
If they don’t know the burial site, you might ask to look through their family “records,” such as a shoebox full of obituaries, funeral programs, or family Bibles.
2. Visit the Mississippi community where your family member lived and died
Not all historical records are available online. The information you are trying to find might be sitting on a shelf in a library or historical society in Mississippi. This information might only be accessible for in-person visitors.
3. Visit the local cemeteries
Depending on how many cemeteries there are in the area where your ancestor lived, you might want to go to Mississippi cemeteries to try to find the grave you are seeking. This method may not be the most efficient, but at least you can be out enjoying fresh air and exercise while searching.
Did You Find Your Loved One’s Grave in Mississippi?
If you found the gravesite in Mississippi and are considering a visit, you might want to leave a gift at the gravesite to honor the deceased. Bring a silk flower arrangement or some wind chimes. Just be sure you understand the cemetery policies before leaving an item behind.