Many older German graves have been replaced with recently deceased persons and new tombstones. However, copies of some old tombstone inscriptions are available, especially for private or church cemeteries and crypts. Parish register burials, funeral sermons, bell tolling accounts, and civil registration death records are easier to find than tombstones. Cemetery records may include the deceased's name, age, death or burial date, birth year or date, and marriage information. They may also provide clues about military service, religion, occupation, place of residence at time of death, or membership in an organization. The LDS Family History Library has a copy of a few German cemetery records.
It was also the custom of the wealthy to have their caskets embedded within the outer and inner walls of the churches or under their floors. The inscriptions and arms of the deceased can still be seen in the older German churches.
The fortresses (Burgen) and castles (Schlösser) of Germany are also family monuments. The history of the structures is linked to the families that owned them. The houses of patricians and burghers in the towns of Germany also have an ancient history. Frequently the surname or nickname of the first owner was given to the house, and the name remained long after his death. (Smith, Clifford. Encyclopedia of German-American Genealogical Research).