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Finding your ancestor’s burial location

Finding and visiting the graves of your ancestors can be an essential step in your family history research, whether to pay your respects or to look for further information about your lineage.

So, where do you start when it comes to finding the burial location of an ancestor?

Death certificates

A great place to begin your research is that person’s death certificate, which  should state where the person was buried, or how their remains were otherwise disposed of.

Births, deaths and marriages registries are a fantastic place to start if you need to obtain a death certificate. Each state and territory in Australia has it’s own registry. You should be able to access your local registry’s online family history search, where you can search for death certificates that are older than 30 years.

Newspaper archives

If you are unable to locate the death certificate of your ancestor, or the certificate doesn’t provide information on the burial location. Then your next step could be to look into the local newspaper around the time of your ancestor’s death.

If you are able to find a newspaper from the days following their death, then you may be able to locate their obituary. If you’re lucky, the obituary might list information about the funeral and where the person was buried. 

Burial locations of soldiers

A common bump in the road that you may come across in the research of your ancestors, is locating the burial location of those who fought in either World War I or World War II. Hope isn’t lost, however, as there are a few different resources available that can assist you.

Following World War I, the Imperial War Graves Commission (now known as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission) was established by the Royal Charter. There is a range of resources available on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s website, which could be vital in assisting you to locate the burial location of an ancestor lost at war.

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