Burial card

The burial card file was a primary source of information in the 1900s and early 2000s about burials in the cemetery. It currently contains more than 36,000 cards. Each burial card measures approximately 4"×6", and lists the name of an individual, their death and burial dates, and location in the cemetery. It may also contain other cemetery or personal information.

The earliest burial cards were created as part of a Works Progress Administration project in 1936-1940, then added to and amended by cemetery superintendents and volunteers in the years following. The burial card file was housed in the cemetery's unused Mortuary Chapel, which served as the research center for cemetery archive volunteers until 2014. The file was then relocated to the City of Sacramento's Center for Sacramento History where visitors may inquire about seeing individual burial cards.

Information on individual burial cards may be viewable online via the The Marsh Index.

Burial index (The Marsh Index)

The Marsh Index to the Burials of the Sacramento City Cemetery: Years 1849-2000 was compiled by Virginia Marsh and a team of volunteers over many years, starting in 1985. The browsable and searchable version of this burial index can be accessed through The Marsh Index. The printed copy is more than 850 pages long, but can also be downloaded as a PDF file from the website of the Old City Cemetery Committee, Inc.

California Digital Newspaper Collection

The California Digital Newspaper Collection (CDNC) contains over 1,500,000 pages of significant historical California newspapers published from 1846-present, including the first California newspaper, the Californian, and the first daily California newspaper, the Daily Alta California. It also contains issues of several current California newspapers that are part of a project to preserve and provide access to contemporary papers.

CDNC is a project of the Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research (CBSR) at the University of California, Riverside and is supported in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.


A numbered subdivision within a plat, usually sold in whole or in part to an individual or group. Those buried in a lot (or fraction thereof) are often related, or were members of the same organization or military unit.

The most common lot size in the cemetery is a 20'×20' square, though there are many smaller lots in a variety of shapes and sizes. Lots are usually separated from one another by walkways about 4 feet wide.


Plat numbers serve as the cemetery's primary organizational structure. The name comes from the hand-drawn maps used to record exact burial locations. These maps are collected in two large “plat books,” with each page covering a small portion of the cemetery. There are more than 160 plats in all (though some are for parcels that have been sold to other cemeteries).

The plats are numbered sequentially, but it is common convention to prefix the number with a letter ‘A’ or ‘B’ (e.g., A6 or B108). The letter simply indicates in which of the two volumes the plat can be found: pages 1–82 are in Book A, while pages 83–164 are in Book B.

The original plat books are now housed at the City of Sacramento's Center for Sacramento History. A photocopy is kept in the Cemetery Office.


Two or more adjacent lots that were combined to form a single burial location. Examples include the State Plot (A51), Old Masonic Plot (B115), Firemen's Plot (B136), and Grand Army Plot (A18).


A row of graves where the individuals buried side-by-side are not typically related. Tiers are commonly found in military plots, and plots owned by organizations.

The cemetery has several long tiers that span multiple plats:

  • PTE (Private Tier East) — Located along the cemetery's eastern boundary, spanning plats A9-A10 and A13-A15.
  • NPT (New Private Tier) — Located between Cedar and Olive avenues, spanning nine plats.
  • PTN (Private Tier North) — Located along the north part of the cemetery's western boundary.
  • Union Terraces — Collection of tiers running along the middle portion of the cemetery's western boundary.