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Soldiers and veterans were often buried in private, public, church, national, and military post cemeteries. Others were buried on the battlefield or in prison or hospital cemeteries. The first national military cemeteries were created in 1862 during the Civil War.
National Cemetery System
The National Cemetery System has a card index that identifies nearly all soldiers who were buried in national cemeteries and other cemeteries under federal jurisdiction from 1861 to the present. The address is:
- National Cemetery System
- Department of Veteran Affairs
- 810 Vermont Avenue, N.W.
- Washington, D.C. 20422
- internet: http://www.cem.va.gov
This web site has administration news; national veterans cemetery addresses; information about burial, headstones, state veterans cemetery grant programs, and links to other sites for locating veterans; and military records.
A Nationwide Gravesite Locator is now available online from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. It has burial records of veterans and their family members from VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, and other veterans cemeteries around the country. The site also provides links to maps of the cemeteries.
The National Archives also has applications for headstones for soldiers and veterans buried in private cemeteries between 1879–1964.
Some states and counties have grave registration records that identify the graves of soldiers buried in local cemeteries. You can usually find these by contacting the state archives or state library or historical society. The Family History Library has statewide veteran grave registrations for the following states:
- Florida Register of deceased veterans, Florida (FHL film 6716)
- Illinois Soldiers burial places in state of Illinois for wars, 1774-1898 (31 FHL films beginning with 1001183)
- Kentucky Index to veterans of American wars from Kentucky (47 FHL film beginning with 471728)
- Maine Cemetery index of veterans (11 FHL films beginning with 1001841), and Veterans cemetery records (15 FHL film beginning with 1001826)
- Ohio Grave registrations of soldiers buried in Ohio (92 FHL films beginning with 182702)
- Rhode Island Rhode Island historical cemeteries master book (FHL film 954938)
- South Dakota South Dakota grave registration project; cemetery information (17 FHL films beginning with 1295750)
- Utah Records of veterans with Federal service buried in Utah, territorial to 1966 (19 FHL films beginning with 485245)
The state military pages may also have more information for cemetery records for their respective states.
American Battle Monuments Commission
The American Battle Monuments Commission was created in 1923 to maintain memorials in the U.S. and foreign countries where American forces have served. They have the names of 124,913 World War I and World War II war dead and the names of 94,093 soldiers listed as missing in action or buried at sea from the World Wars, Korean War, and Vietnam War. For information you can contact:
- American Battle Monuments Commission
- Casimir Pulaski Building
- 20 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
- Washington, D.C. 20314-0300
- Telephone: 202-272-0533; 202-272-0532
- Internet: http://www.abmc.gov/home.php
The web site includes information about the purpose, composition, and history of the commission; details about individual ABMC overseas cemeteries; and the names of persons buried at many of their cemeteries.
See the cemetery pages for each war for more information this and other military cemetery records.
The following publications can help you find overseas cemeteries:
- American Memorials and Overseas Military Cemeteries. Washington, D.C.: American Battle Monuments Commission, 1970. (FHL book 973 Al no. 58; FHL film 928257.) Contains descriptions of cemeteries in Europe where Americans are buried who died in World Wars I and II.
- Nishiura, Elizabeth, ed. American Battle Monuments: A Guide to Military Cemeteries and Monuments Maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission. Detroit: Omnigraphics, Inc., 1989. (FHL book 973 V3am.) Lists the public services offered by the commission plus a directory to their offices. It serves as a guide to cemeteries and memorials for the World Wars.
Cemetery Records by Conflict
- Colonial Wars, 1607 to 1763
- Revolutionary War, 1775 to 1783
- War of 1812, 1812 to 1815
- Mexican War, 1846 to 1848
- Civil War, 1861 to 1865
- Indian Wars, 1780's-1890's
- Spanish-American War, 1898
- Philippine Insurrection, 1899 to 1902
- World War I, 1917 to 1918
- World War II, 1941 to 1945
- Korean War 1950 to 1953
- Vietnam War 1964 to 1972
The following book provides descriptions of national cemeteries, state veterans’ cemeteries, soldiers’ lots, and abandoned military cemeteries:
- Holt, Dean W. American Military Cemeteries: A Comprehensive Illustrated Guide to the Hallowed Grounds of the United States, including Cemeteries Overseas. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., Inc., 1992. (FHL book 973 V3ho.)
Family History Library
To find microfilm numbers of cemetery records in the Family History Library Catalog, look in the Place Search under:
- [STATE] - CEMETERIES [STATE], [COUNTY], [CITY] -CEMETERIES