I’ve mentioned before about using Find-a-Grave for tracking down your Civil War ancestor. You can read that post here. There are other sites, if you don’t have any luck with that source.
Try the Billion Graves site. It functions quite a bit like Find-a-Grave with volunteers submitting photographs of the gravestones in the cemeteries across the U.S. and around the world. Put in your ancestor’s name and if you have it, the year for birth and death.
There’s an advanced search where you can narrow the search down by state and county. If you already have an idea of where the grave is, this works fine. If not, the site recommends not searching too specifically. The ancestor may surprise you by being buried some distance from where you expect them to be.
Did the ancestor you’re researching die during the Civil War or after the war? If you have the pension records, it will tell you when the person died. That makes it easier to check for an obituary in a newspaper in the area where they died. Luckily my mother had a copy of the newspaper clipping from her Aunt Vina.
You can also search for cemetery records. Find-A-Grave may give you additional details about the person’s life such as who their spouse was. In the case of my great-great grandfather, the information on Find-A-Grave contained a mistaken birth year. The gravestone shows the same error.
The photo of the gravestone wasn’t as clear as I would like, so last fall I traveled to Tyro, KS to get my photo. I found out that my effort wasn’t any better than the volunteer’s who posted it to the web site. A tree-shaded the grave and mildew or lichen contributed to the difficulty in getting a clear photo.
The large cemetery seemed rather daunting when we arrived, but knowing what the gravestone looked like facilitated our search. We looked in the oldest part of the cemetery first.
An older, much-weathered stone next to his was for his wife, Nancy Angeline (Long) Tower who died 21 years before him. Also buried next to him was one of his daughters, Viola Matilda (Tower) McGhee who died 34 years after her father.