In this week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? R&B superstar Lionel Richie set off to learn about the “giants” in his family – ancestors whose actions helped him succeed. His journey began when he found his great-grandfather’s name on a Social Security application.

Using marriage records, city directories, a diary and a census record from (shown below), Lionel revealed that his great-grandfather was born into slavery but later led an organization that set the stage for Civil Rights.

Lionel Richie's great grandfather John L Brown on a 1900 US Census Record

Lionel was able to find his great grandfather’s resting place and visited the cemetery. Here are some clues to help you find your ancestors’ resting place –

  • Death certificates: Look for a cemetery or funeral home from which you can request additional details.
  • Military records: Ancestors who served in the military may have been buried in a military cemetery.
  • City directories: Locate a home address and then check the same directory for nearby cemeteries.
  • family trees: Learn where one family member was buried and you may find other relatives in the same cemetery.

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