Research Process

Plat Research

Plats are a great place to look for documented features of a property.  This may at times include cemeteries or individual graves.  In my case, Virginia Beach provides access to all of its plats online.  In other cases, you may find that you need to travel down to your municipalities courthouse to review those documents.


In many cases, property that is used as a cemetery may have tax exemption.  As such your municipality may have records of those properties or ways to classify them.  In the case of Virginia Beach, the property tax code for a cemetery is 713.  Using the GIS data provided by the city you can find parcels of land that have been categorized as cemeteries and begin investigating those.

Previous Enumerations

Review documentation or publications by your local historical and genealogical societies.  Often times many local cemeteries have been enumerated in the past and by reviewing that data you may be able to rediscover what someone knew about in the past.  Also, these datasources are great as unfortunately sometimes markers are destroyed or lost.


Depending on your area you may find that some cemeteries have been lost to time and development.  Not all developers are honest or reverent to these locations.  Some may not even know they exist or have done the due diligence to check before clearing areas for development.  In other cases, graves may have been uncovered and moved to make way for a new building.  These reinternment records should exist with your local or state municipality and may include details of a grave's originial location.