Search historic headstones
The Historic Burying Grounds Initiative offers the public two ways to search for grave makers.
Please note: we do not have burial records for historic burials, only a list of legible grave markers. This information comes from a list created in the 1980s of legible grave markers in the 16 historic burying grounds.
Still have questions? Contact:
Parks and Recreation
1010 Massachusetts Avenue
3rd FloorBoston, MA 02118
Option 1: List of all the legible grave markers
The first option is a list of all the legible grave markers in the burying grounds. Each entry lists the name, date of death, and location number. The location number corresponds to a specific place on the site maps provided on this website.
This list is easily searchable by last name or burying ground. It is possible to view all the gravestones in any selected burying ground.
Option 2: Survey Sheet Search (includes epitaph)
We upgraded our system on Monday, December 9. Here is a brief guide on navigating and searching within the new system.
The second option is a more complicated database which provides more ways to search. The most important feature about this database is that it allows the public to view the survey sheet for most of the grave markers in the historic burying grounds.
The survey sheet contains the epitaph for each stone and the condition, size, and material for each gravestone. A photo of the grave marker is included for about one-third of the stones (we are working on expanding this). This database cannot be used to display all of the grave markers in one burying ground since it will only show 500 search results.
Instructions for Survey Sheet Search
You can search this database by last name, first name, date of death or location number. If you need more help using this database you can click on the “Help” button for further instructions. This database is not intended to be used for broad searches, such as looking for all the names in a burying ground because only the first 500 records will be displayed. You should use the first database for that purpose.
Please note that for location numbers syntax is important. If you use the location number that you found on the first database, you must use the following syntax or else the search will not work: Burying ground code (2 letters)-Section letter (1 letter)-number.
Example: CH-A-113 means Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, Section A, Stone number 113
Two-Letter Burying Ground Codes
- BH - Bunker Hill Burying Ground
- BS - Bennington Street Cemetery
- CE - Central Burying Ground
- CH - Copp’s Hill Burying Ground
- DN - Dorchester North Burying Ground
- DS - Dorchester South Burying Ground
- EL - Eliot Burying Ground
- GR - Granary Burying Ground
- HU - Hawes Burying Ground/Union Cemetery
- KC - King’s Chapel Burying Ground
- MS - Market Street Burying Ground
- PH - Phipps Street Burying Ground
- SE - South End Burying Ground
- WE - Westerly Burying Ground
- WS - Walter Street
The maps listed below correspond to the location numbers listed in the database of legible grave markers. In the location numbers for all the burying grounds except Phipps Street and Walter Street, the letter preceding the slash indicates the name of the burying ground. The letter after the slash indicates the section. For Phipps Street Burying Ground, there are no letters that specify the name of the burying ground. For Walter Street, there is no slash separating the site code from the rest of the number.
The maps are of varying quality. Some maps have typed location numbers, some maps have hand-written location numbers, some maps are only partially legible, and on some maps only sections are fully legible (not individual grave numbers). We are working to improve the maps that have illegible areas, but the maps on-line are the best-quality maps that we have.