What's the Difference Between Find a Grave and Burial Search?

Imagine this. Doug is trying to find his great-great-grandmother’s grave. Doug’s mom says she may be buried nearby, but she isn’t sure where.

With limited information about his great-great grandmother’s burial, Doug isn’t sure where to start. So Doug does what most people do when they need answers. He Googles it.

Cemeteries near me.

Finding old cemetery records.

How to find gravesites online.

For most people, this is how the search begins. In fact, thousands of searchers try to find burial information on the Internet each month.

Here’s the problem: Not all cemetery records are available online. Plus, not all online burial information is accurate.

These shortfalls make it difficult on searchers. They also represent a huge missed opportunity for cemeteries. Sharing verified cemetery records online gives cemeteries another opportunity to connect with potential customers and serve their communities.

In this post, we explain how cemetery managers can help customers find graves online with two digital burial record systems: Find a Grave and Burial Search. We outline how each platform works before diving into the differences between Find a Grave and Burial Search.




Comparing two online grave locators: Find a Grave and Burial Search


Find a Grave and Burial Search are both online databases for cemetery records. However, the two solutions have key differences. Here’s an overview of how each of these online grave locators works.


Find a Grave


Find a Grave is a free online database of cemetery records populated by volunteers, genealogists, and cemetery associations. It contains hundreds of millions of entries from cemeteries across the world. Entries on Find a Grave may contain photos of headstones and information about the deceased and their family members.

Find a Grave can be a vital resource for anyone who needs to find burial information for an ancestor or loved one. However, not all records on Find a Grave are verified. Since the site relies on users to populate its database, it’s important to check sourcing information to confirm the validity of each memorial.

The bottom line: Find a Grave is a valuable starting point when searching for burial information. Even if users find what they’re looking for on the site, they should then determine if that information is reliably sourced.




Burial Search


Burial Search is an online grave locator created for CIMS cemetery software users. With Burial Search, cemeteries can create their own custom grave search sites and share vital cemetery information with the public. The backbone of a Burial Search website is the participating cemetery’s CIMS database. Because Burial Search is linked to a cemetery’s CIMS account, no double entry is required. When a staff member updates records in CIMS, the changes will be reflected on the cemetery’s Burial Search website.

By accessing a cemetery’s Burial Search site, anyone can:

  • Search cemetery burials by first or last name
  • View images saved in CIMS
  • Find burials by browsing cemetery maps*
  • Explore availability*
  • Print cemetery maps*
  • Access walk-to-grave navigation*

Anyone browsing for cemetery information on Burial Search can quickly find verified cemetery records online. Plus, if the cemetery uses cemetery mapping software from CIMS, users can view digital maps of cemetery grounds to explore availability and existing burials. Burial Search provides block, lot, and space numbers, as well as GPS coordinates for each gravesite.



The differences between Find a Grave and Burial Search


The main differences between Find a Grave and Burial Search come down to three things: the audiences they serve, how they’re sourced and maintained, and how much control cemeteries have over them.

Find a Grave and Burial Search are designed for slightly different audiences. While Find a Grave is a great resource for searchers who don’t know where to find burials, Burial Search helps users who want to find burials in your cemetery. Find a Grave allows visitors to search uploaded cemetery records from around the world. Your cemetery’s Burial Search site allows users to search your cemetery information.

Find a Grave and Burial Search rely on different sources. The information on Find a Grave is sourced by volunteers, genealogists, and cemetery associations. Burial Search, on the other hand, is linked to your CIMS cemetery software database. Your Burial Search site is controlled and managed by your staff. Users can trust that any records on your cemetery’s Burial Search site are correct.


burial search 1


By aligning with your cemetery’s operations, Burial Search reduces the burden on your staff and allows you to serve customers in new ways. When customers can’t locate burial records online, they call your cemetery. Burial Search solves this problem by making important cemetery information readily available. The best part? Your Burial Search site is linked to your CIMS database. No double entry required. As a result, your staff can spend less time responding to inquiries about burial locations and more time supporting families in need.


Find cemetery records online with Burial Search


With Burial Search, cemeteries using CIMS can share verified information with the families they serve. Ready to find new ways to reach customers and level up your cemetery marketing? Request a Burial Search quote for your cemetery. 



*Mapping features are available for cemeteries using CIMS Gold and CIMS Platinum.