How do you find a cemetery plot for someone who never had a grave marker?

+4 votes
I am looking for my grandmother's gravesite.  Mary C. Eaton  dob 5/18/1918 (PA)  dod 5/6/1969 (CA)  she is buried somewhere in Los Angeles, CA.  My mom's best friend in high school said she was buried in an old cemetery in downtown area.  We have been racking our brains, but cannot find her.  My mother passed in 2004 and her family history died with her, she was an only child.  She lost both her parents in May of 1969, but because they had willed all things to each other, she had to go through a lawyer.  I am at a standstill with this.  I would love to put a headstone on her grave, if I only knew where she was.  My grandfather is buried in Illinois, his family insisted on it.  Apparently, the trustee for the estate handled both burials, but they did not finish paying on my grandmother's or refused to pay for a headstone.  I am just in awe of how someone could do this.

Although, I never got to meet either one of them, my mom said I was alot like my grandmom, which is kind of weird since I was born on her death date, years later.  My father is still alive, but they died before he met my mom.


I am just hoping someone could help me.


Email me if you need more information.



Brandy Ann Uber
in Genealogy Help by
edited by Chris Whitten

6 Answers

+5 votes
You know her death date, go to the county recorder's office and ask for help there. If they dont' have the information, they should direct you as to where to go.
by Tom Bredehoft G2G6 Pilot (211k points)
+6 votes
If you can obtain a copy of your grandmother's death registration from the county recorder's office, it will likely state what and where her final disposition was. If you contact the courthouse for where she lived before her death, you may be able to get a copy of her will. Different jurisdictions have different rules on who can access these records, so be prepared to prove that your grandmother is your ancestor. If you have your birth certificate, and your mother's, you'd be set, but there are plenty of other ways to have proof.

Good luck!
by Erin Breen G2G6 Pilot (348k points)
+4 votes
You will need to be clever about discovering the cemetery in question. You need to put your brain into that time and place to think like a local. Her obit may state burial place, or the county recorder's office. You may have to check news articles from the time and place of her death to see if a story covered the event - not just an obit. Pay close attention to what Church she attended. If she was ill when she died, look into any hospital records that may have attended her spiritual needs. As a last resort, you can phone all of the cemeteries in the downtown area (which isn't that many, even if it means 50 phone calls). In 1969, records were relatively thorough. Even if your ancestor has no marker, there may be a record of the plot, which was the case with my own grandfather burried in Los Angeles in 1936. If it was a small or a familiy cemetery without an office, check with area Churches that may have used the grounds around that time (this is why you need to know her spiritual needs), because they will have a record of the service. Remember that because cemeteries are hallowed ground and only one person is placed per plot, burial land is a non-renewable resource, which makes people make more records and put more detail in the records. You just have to track down the right record.
by Steven Dumpert G2G Crew (410 points)
+3 votes
Maybe the trustees for your Grandparents' account ran out of money to buy the headstones ??

If she is buried with other relatives in LA , maybe you can find her gravesite by looking for them ?? I have always found " missing " graves without stones by looking for others , sometimes by accident .
by Maggie N. G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
+4 votes
I found one because the funeral home was still in business even though it had been through several management changes and they kept a map of plots. I dont know if that would work for you or not.
by Linda James G2G6 (8.4k points)
+2 votes
I know I'm very late to this conversation, but I just saw your question. LA is a large area which can make it a tedious process to find the cemetery or funeral home. What everyone else has said is very helpful.

In my case, I was trying to find several relatives buried in NJ about 100 years ago in unmarked graves. In one case I found an obituary which listed a funeral home. They gave me the cemetery info. In anoother case I found records of several other relatives buried in several cemeteries. I called the cemeteries and found my missing relatives.

It may take you longer without hints. If you make enough calls you will find them.
by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.7m points)

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