I still seem to have cemeteries on the brain from my research trip to Allegheny Cemetery so it is a good time to share a very useful website I discovered. I came across Web Cemeteries when I was snooping around the Allegheny Cemetery website. From what I gather from their home page they are a company that takes all burial records for a cemetery and creates a database that is put online. The database contains all burial information from that cemetery. You can search by name and if your ancestor is there the location of the grave is also given.
I think this is an excellent idea. It is extremely helpful to both the researcher and cemetery administrators. Most cemeteries do not have the manpower and resources to handle large numbers of genealogical requests. When it is an overworked secretary digging through old records to fill your request the chance for errors and missed information is greater. The greatest benefit I think is that you are accessing official cemetery records, not data supplied by volunteers as with most cemetery burial lists. Meaning you get complete data for the cemetery not partial. Web Cemeteries is the company behind Allegheny Cemetery's genealogy database. When I could not find my 3rd great grandfather, Martin Orth, I contacted the cemetery. I was just so certain he had to be buried there. They said while errors are indeed possible, Web Cemeteries is very thorough and went thru ALL the old hand written records. They felt it would be unlikely for a burial to be omitted.
Some Search Tips
Here are some tips I learned from using the site. From the main page you can search all the cemeteries in their database at once by clicking on the Genealogy and Memorials tab. You can only search by last name with this option. So be sure to use spelling variations of the name. It will return all the cemeteries that have burials with your name. From there you can click on each individual cemetery to view the results.
To view the current cemeteries in the database click the Search Cemeteries tab. Most of the cemeteries seem to be from the state of Pennsylvania but there are quite a few from various other states. A plus for those doing research in Allegheny County, PA is three of the largest cemeteries are included. They are Allegheny Cemetery, Homewood Cemetery, and Jefferson Memorial Cemetery. When you click on a cemetery you are taken to the website for that particular cemetery. You may have to search around for a "Search Records" tab to access the database. But once there you can search on first and last name.
Another helpful feature is the Locate link. If you find a burial there will be a link to locate the grave. This brings up a map. Sometimes when you click on the red dot it will bring up a picture of the tombstone but this seems to be random. However if you keep zooming in you can get a better view of where in the section the grave is located. However from my past experience you are still better off getting a detailed map from the Cemetery Office if you will be visiting the grave.
A feature I would love to see added to the database is a way to view all names of those buried in a specific plot. I have found children and others I did not know existed (so could not search for!) when getting plot information from cemeteries. But overall I think this is a great site and has proved very helpful to my research.