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

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Are you looking for a gravesite in Nebraska? Maybe you wish to visit the grave of a person so you can say your goodbyes or obtain closure. Perhaps you’re researching your family tree and trying to track down information that can be found on a headstone. 

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Regardless of your reason for trying to find a burial site in Nebraska, let us help by providing you with a few resources. Please note that this article will not teach you how to find a grave in a cemetery. Instead, we will give you some ideas on how to find the permanent resting place of your loved one or ancestor.

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

You’ll probably have a pretty easy time trying to find a grave in Nebraska for someone who died within the last 25 years. A simple internet search to find the obituary or funeral notice may uncover the burial details you are seeking. However, tracking down the burial site of a person who died more than 100 years ago may be a bit more challenging.

The more information you have about the deceased, the more likely you will be to find the burial spot. Here’s information that will assist you in your search.

Full name

Of course, the best way to begin your search for a headstone is to find out everything you can about the person’s name, including their full given name, nickname, maiden name, or alternate spellings. 

Finding official records of their death might help. However, death certificates weren’t standard at the state level in Nebraska until 1904.

When your ancestor died, their next of kin chose the name to be engraved on the headstone. This may or may not have been their given name. For example, your great-great-grandfather named Frederick Alfred might be buried under the name Fred, Rick, Al, or another nickname. 

Dates

Knowing the date of death may help you find a grave in Nebraska. In addition, knowing the birth and death dates of the deceased helps you narrow down your search, especially if the deceased had a common name for the area. 

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

Location of death

Another helpful piece of information that may help you find a grave in Nebraska is the location of the death. People tended to be buried near the place of death because moving the body may have been too expensive an undertaking for a typical family. Also, cremation was not a standard option until the last several decades, so it would be doubtful that the body was cremated and then transported back to Nebraska for burial.

So if you find an obituary, death certificate, or newspaper notice that indicates the person died in another area of the state or the country, you might look at the cemetery records near the location of death to find the grave.

Nebraska-Specific Resources to Help You Find a Grave

Once you know the possible names, birth and death dates, and location of death, you can utilize an online resource that will help you find a grave in Nebraska for free. 

Find a Grave

Find a Grave is an excellent source for those wishing to find a grave in Nebraska for free. Find a Grave 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 names to the search, 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 information for the website. 

Billion Graves

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

Interment

You might be able to find the burial site for your ancestor using Interment. This website has a page specifically for Nebraska cemetery records. So if you know the Nebraska county where the deceased was buried, you can search through the available cemetery records. 

Interment also allows you to search through Nebraska newspapers from 1854 to 1983. You can also look through obituaries published since 1996 and Nebraska funeral notices available through Genealogy Bank. Unfortunately, not all of these records are available for free. However, you might be able to access the information you need by signing up for a free trial.

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Ancestry

Since this article aims to tell you how to find a grave in Nebraska, we first recommend websites designed for that specific purpose. However, you might find the burial site of your ancestor on Ancestry.  

Ancestry allows you to connect with people in your extended family tree. Others interested in family history may have provided you with the birth, death, and burial records you seek. 

Even if the burial site isn’t recorded on Ancestry, you might consider reaching out to the person who posted their family tree online. This person may have other information that they didn’t post, which could help you track down the burial site. 

Nationwide Gravesite Locator 

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has created a national gravesite locator for service members buried in a National Cemetery. This database allows you to search using the person’s last name, birth date, and date of death.

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

Nebraska Death Index

The Nebraska Death Index is a searchable database for death records that were recorded between 1956 and 1968. This website also has free digitized images of death records occurring between 1904 and 1955. 

You might also be able to find the obituary for the person (which may list the burial site) from an archived Nebraska newspaper

Reasons You Can’t Find a Gravesite in Nebraska

We’ve given you a lot of resources for finding a grave in Nebraska, but you may not have found any record of the burial. Here are some reasons your search might have been fruitless. 

The person is still living

Could it be that the grave you are searching for does not exist because the person is still alive? Verify the person’s birth date to see if that is feasible, and 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 rely on the work of volunteers. Perhaps no volunteers have visited the cemetery where your loved one is buried. 

The headstone is difficult or impossible to read

The headstone marking the burial site may have crumbled or deteriorated to the point that it is difficult to read. Of course, this would make it hard to find the burial site of your ancestor. 

Your loved one was buried on private land

It was once common for rural Americans to bury their loved ones on private land in a “family cemetery,” but finding those burial sites might be difficult. 

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 at the site. Cemetery records may still show the burial location, but this will only be helpful if you can access those records. 

Steps for Finding a Grave in Nebraska for Free

If you aren’t ready to give up your search for the grave in Nebraska, you might consider seeking the assistance of a genealogical researcher from the area. However, here are some other options for finding a grave in Nebraska for free.

1. Seek help from extended family members

Consider contacting the oldest person in your family to ask for help. They might know where the grave is located or know another person who might help you in your search. If they don’t know the burial site, you might ask to see if they have a box full of obituaries, funeral programs, or other records that you could look through to get more information. 

2. Visit the Nebraska community where your ancestor lived and died 

While you probably already completed online searches for Nebraska burial records, you might also consider visiting the historical societies for the state or county. While more records are becoming available online every year, the documents you need might still be on microfilm, microfiche, or in a bound periodical.

3. Visit the local cemeteries

Even though this suggestion appears last on our list, if you live in Nebraska or are visiting the area, 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 want to spend a few hours walking the grounds and reading headstones. 

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

If you found the gravesite in Nebraska and are considering a visit, you might want to leave a gift at the gravesite to honor your loved one. Visiting gravesites can be an emotional experience—even if you never met the deceased in person. 

If you're a Nebraska 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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