Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Learning: Plotting Family Cemeteries on Google Maps

Have you ever been looking for an old family cemetery and never been able to find it? It can be a really irritating experience, especially when you discover that the location was written down in a really obscure place the entire time.

Been there. Done that.

If only there were some way for anyone to plot cemeteries on a map that EVERYBODY uses...

Oh wait. There totally is!

All the place markers in Google Maps don't just show up one day. Someone puts them in, using a tool called Google Map Maker. And fortunately, cemeteries are really easy to add!

Check out this video to learn how you can add places to Google Maps. When you get to the place category list, there is a category specifically for Cemeteries. Click on that, fill in the pertinent information, and you're done! Once your changes are approved, they'll be visible on Google Maps for all to see.

If your family cemeteries are WAY out in the sticks like mine are, and the road or path to access the cemetery isn't on Google Maps either, you can add that as well. Here's a video explaining how to do it. If you need help, check out the Map Maker forums and the fun folks over there will help you out.

And as always, don't forget to check out the FindaGrave app and BillionGraves to plot the GPS coordinates of individual graves for your family members. Answer photo requests and add GPS coordinates for the cemeteries in your area to help others out as well. If you want your relatives to be find-able to the generation that Googles, be sure Google knows where your relatives are buried!


  1. Heather,

    I want to let you know that your awesome blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2014/06/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-june-13-2014.html

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. I've got a family cemetery that isn't on Google Maps! I shall have to add it in when I find it one day.

  3. How do u find a grave when the record's have been destroyed

  4. I'm assuming you're referring to records kept by whoever owned the cemetery in question. In which case, I would check to see if their copies are the only ones that exist. There may be copies or indexes of those records on microfilm somewhere. It's also helpful to look for alternative records (such as local histories, newspapers, or death certificates) that can help to reconstruct a cemetery. Obituaries and death certificates are helpful because they usually list the cemetery and undertaker. In which case, there should be records kept by the undertaker that you can search for. I've seen undertakers/funeral homes have some pretty amazing records on local cemeteries.

    Good luck!