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Identifying Cemeteries

Topographical Map of Crown Hill Cemetery
Topographical Map of Crown Hill Cemetery
Indianapolis, IN

Cemeteries have been a part of our cultural landscape as long as people have lived in Indiana. Whether your interest is finding your family cemetery as you complete your genealogy or you are a developer wanting to identify a cemetery location before construction starts, there are multiple ways to find cemeteries.

The first place to start is your local library. Various groups have done cemetery readings in the past or are currently working on projects. In the 1930s, the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Works Progress Administration surveyed cemeteries throughout Indiana. Current genealogical organizations are re-reading the stones in order to fill in missing information or study cemeteries missed by these two groups. Many times these readings are located in the local library. Also available in many libraries are obituary records, mortician records, historic maps, sexton records, or church records

Other places to look for cemetery information include:

  • County courthouse, where deeds might identify the cemetery being on property, as well as wills and death certificates might talk about a cemetery
  • Aerial Photos – starting in the 1930s, many counties had aerial photos taken. These historic snapshots of our community can give a glimpse of long forgotten cemeteries
  • Internet – the internet has become a wealth of information as people post their family histories, county histories, and cemetery readings
  • Groups like the Indiana Pioneer Cemetery Restoration Project, Indiana Genealogical Society, Saving Graves, and the Association for Gravestone Studies can offer information on preservation, genealogy techniques, and list serves where questions can be posted
  • Maps – not only historic maps, but also those maps produced to help other professions might offer a location
    • The United States Geologic Services (USGS) creates topographic or quadrangle maps (known as topos or quads). Your can also find their information on line at
    • Soil maps are created to describe the soil types in a county, but also have information like cemetery location
    • County maps created by the local highway department often have cemeteries listed. Check with your county to find out

Other Cemetery Resources