A person's grave may be located by searching for the death certificate of the deceased, which typically provides information about their place of burial or cremation. Some government agencies, such as the Department of Social Security and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, offer databases with search functions for the purpose of locating a grave.
Not every deceased person can be located on an organization's database. The Social Security Death Index only contains information on individuals whose deaths were registered from 1935 onward. Some private organizations, such as the U.S. Find a Grave Index, contain an index and burial details that go as far back the 1600s. Most information on the latter is provided by volunteers, who forward photos of headstones, personal memorials and burial information on the Find a Grave Index site. In order to search for a grave, online grave databases require basic information, such as the name of the deceased, and the dates of birth and death.
Most state-run cemeteries also utilize modern technology to help families locate the graves of their deceased members. The Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia offers the ANC Explorer app, which allows members of the public to locate specific grave sites. Aside from the location of the grave, the app also provides directions to the grave, the front and back view of the headstone, and the ability to save the searched burial records into a mobile device.