Are you trying to find a grave in North Dakota, but you don’t know where exactly in the state it may be? You might be attempting to track down someone’s burial location if they were an ancestor, a historical figure, or even a celebrity.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What Information Will You Need Before You Try to Find a Grave in North Dakota?
- North Dakota-Specific Resources to Help You Find a Grave
- Steps for Finding a Grave in North Dakota for Free
Regardless, finding a grave in North Dakota may seem like a daunting task if you don’t know where to start. It doesn’t have to be. This guide offers a list of tools and tips you can leverage to make finding someone’s grave in North Dakota quite painless and easy. Best of all, you probably won’t have to spend any money when conducting your search.
What Information Will You Need Before You Try to Find a Grave in North Dakota?
Finding a grave in North Dakota tends to be easier if you gather certain information before delving into your research. Preparation can greatly simplify the task of finding a grave in any state.
Information you should gather includes the following:
Knowing the full name of the individual whose grave you are searching for is of course very important when seeking their burial site. It’s also helpful if you can at least get a general sense of when they died. If you know the specific year or even date of their death, that’s even better.
You should also try to determine where someone was living at the time of their death, where most of their family was living at the time of their death, or where they spent most of their life. Although this is not always the case, in most instances, a person’s burial location will be close to one of these areas.
Membership in select groups
Although this type of information won’t always make finding a grave in North Dakota easier than it otherwise could be, in some circumstances, knowing whether someone was a member of specific groups can help in your search.
Many cemeteries exclusively serve the needs of individuals and families who are members of certain religious faiths. There are also cemeteries that serve veterans. Additionally, some types of groups, such as fraternal orders and universities, keep records pertaining to the deaths and burials (or cremations) of their members.
Make a list of any such groups the person whose grave you are looking for may have belonged to. This information could be useful when you begin actively conducting more thorough research later.
Correspondence or similar documentation
You might have access to the personal correspondence (or similar forms of documentation and evidence) of someone whose grave you’re searching for. This may be the case if they were an ancestor or a historical figure. Information in personal letters and other such documents could point you in the right direction of their grave.
North Dakota-Specific Resources to Help You Find a Grave
Various resources can be helpful when you are attempting to find someone’s grave in North Dakota. Options to consider using include the following:
Find a Grave: North Dakota section
As the name implies, Find a Grave is an online database and tool that helps users find burial locations throughout the United States. Check the North Dakota section of the site to determine if it will be useful to you. That said, because this tool lets users track down cemeteries and graves by county, it tends to be most helpful when you have a basic idea of which part of the state someone’s grave may be located.
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Family Search: North Dakota section
Family Search is another online tool that can potentially help you find a grave in North Dakota. While Find a Grave allows you to search for a specific grave directly, Family Search instead offers a list of resources and tools that you may find helpful. Take a look at its North Dakota section for more information.
Historical societies and libraries
Another option to consider when you have a general sense of the part of North Dakota where a grave may be involves searching for historical societies in that area. Naturally, this is an option worth keeping in mind if you’re attempting to find the grave of someone who was a historical figure or someone who otherwise died a relatively long time ago. A historical society’s archives may provide the information you need to find their burial spot.
Sometimes, libraries also store such archives. Check with the libraries in and near the region where you believe someone may have been buried to see if they keep these types of records.
County, city, and town websites and departments
Do you think you know which county or municipality is home to the cemetery where you might find the grave you’re tracking down? If so, check their websites. They sometimes offer cemetery search tools that could help you find a specific grave.
Even if a website doesn’t offer this tool, you may contact the town hall or county seat. Sometimes, counties, towns, and cities have resources to assist people like you, even when they don’t necessarily offer these resources online.
North Dakota Gravestones
North Dakota Gravestones is an online project that allows users to submit photos of gravestones throughout the state. Its main purpose is to preserve the text of gravestones that may otherwise fade over time. However, some researchers also use this tool to find the location of specific graves.
Steps for Finding a Grave in North Dakota for Free
The manner in which you might find someone’s grave in North Dakota can vary somewhat depending on the circumstances. Luckily, in most cases, finding a grave won’t cost you any money. All you’ll have to invest is some of your time.
Steps that the process of finding a grave in North Dakota may involve include:
1. Search for their obituary
You might not need to conduct particularly in-depth research to find a grave in North Dakota. These days, a simple Google search can make finding a grave an extremely easy task.
Search for the obituary or death notice of the individual whose burial spot you are attempting to track down. If you find it, odds are good it will also include information regarding the cemetery where you may find their grave.
Tip: This method can also be useful if you’re not sure how to find out if someone died.
Once you know the name of the cemetery where you can find the grave you’re looking for, check to determine if the cemetery has a website. Many cemetery websites offer search tools that allow users to find the precise locations of graves.
You can reach out to the operators of a cemetery if it doesn’t have a website or its website doesn’t offer such a tool. Even when a cemetery has no website, a basic Google search will usually provide you with contact information for those who operate it. They will probably be willing to help you in your search.
This is also a tip worth keeping in mind if you already know the name of the cemetery where someone’s grave is located, but you simply don’t know exactly which spot in the cemetery their grave happens to be. For more information on this topic, check our guide on how to find a grave in a cemetery.
2. Use the resources covered here
Not all obituaries are available online. If a Google search doesn’t provide the information you need, you can then begin using the various resources the above section of this blog lists. They may help you narrow down your list of potential burial locations.
Just remember that finding a grave in North Dakota can take some time. You shouldn’t abandon your search if you don’t find the results you’re seeking immediately. Finding a grave when you don’t know its location may require some patience and persistence, but it’s by no means an impossible task.
3. Find the grave
You might now have a list of cemeteries where you believe the grave you’re seeking can be found. Once you do, you can follow the steps described earlier. See if these cemeteries have websites and if those websites have grave location search tools. If they don’t, reach out to those who own or manage these cemeteries and explain your request. They will probably be glad to help.
You’re likely attempting to determine the location of a grave in North Dakota because you plan on visiting it. Thus, you might now start thinking about what you will do to ensure your visit is appropriately meaningful to you. For example, you might consider leaving a special item at a grave when you visit. Our guide on what to leave at a grave can help if you’re struggling to come up with ideas on your own.
Finding a Grave in North Dakota: A Potentially Easy Process
Sometimes, finding a grave in North Dakota is as easy as conducting a basic Google search. Sometimes, it may require a little more research. If it does, the tips and tools this blog offers will prove quite useful.
If you're a North Dakota 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.