Thursday, September 17, 2009

Find A Grave

Approximately two months ago I discovered the joys of FindAGrave.com.

The website has “over 36 million” recorded memorials. Some entries have just name, dates (if available on the tombstone), and the name of the cemetery. Other entries have photographs of the tombstones, and/or of the people, as well as biographies. It depends upon what has been entered - by family members, or often by volunteers who take the time to record entire cemeteries methodically, section by section.

I conducted some searches on some of my surnames, and made some connections with a few distant relatives who had uploaded photographs. Then it occurred to me that if I added memorials for family members not already on there, others could find me.

While some bloggers take great pains to be anonymous -- geneabloggers often have the opposite desire. We want to be found. It's always easier when distant cousins end up finding us.

Two months later, I have added 85 memorials. (A link to my profile, which also appears on the sidebar to the left.)

As I mentioned above, many of the volunteers creating memorials are creating them in bulk for cemeteries, and aren’t related to the deceased. FindAGrave has set up a system where a family member can request that the individual who created the memorial transfer its management. If you are closely related (The deceased is your sibling, parent, grandparent, or great grandparent), they can’t reject you. (Unless they too fall within that range.) Outside of that range, it is their choice, though I have found most I have asked to be more than willing to transfer management to a family member. I am currently managing 103 memorials.

Below is the memorial I am currently maintaining for my second great grandfather, Samuel Van Every.
It is one that I didn’t personally create, but I had transferred. I have added all the “Family Links” which link the memorials to each other, creating an effect similar to a family website. Samuel had 22 children, though I currently only know the burial location of 10 of them. I also haven't figured out the location of his first wife, Cordelia Hitchcock, who died in Brant County, Ontario in 1846.

When you indicate on X’s page that Y is their parent, on Y’s page X is automatically listed as a child, with an asterisk indicating that the relationship wasn’t added directly to the page but inferred. The same thing happens with spouses.

I have linked as many memorials as I can, so by providing a link here to the memorials for both of my grandmothers -- Myrtle Van Every Deutsch and Belle Feinstein Newmark -- those interested can find almost all of the memorials of my relatives that I have so far found, or added, simply by following the links.

5 comments:

Thomas MacEntee said...

John - you've provided a great intro to Find-A-Grave. Every time I make a trip back home to New York and take photos of cemeteries I always make sure to upload them on Find-A-Grave.

Elizabeth said...

Welcome to the joy (and obsession) of Find A Grave, John! I've been a member for over 5 years, and still have lots of photos to add.

Apple said...

I always take extra pics at cemeteries and upload them to find-a-grave. I'll have to check into "they can't reject you." I have requested that a couple be transferred to me and have been ignored. In those cases I use the comment box to leave additional information. I also always leave a note on the page of anyone that I am related to in hopes that others find me that way.

John said...

To quote from the FAQ to which I link from the post:

If the memorial in question is a direct relative (within four generations) to you, and the original submitter is not family, then your wishes supersede theirs under our "Family First" policy. If they refuse to transfer your relative to you, contact the administration and we will work on it for you.

John said...

I did run into one individual who for health reasons had ceased much of their FindAGrave work, and didn't know how to transfer the memorial. They suggested I create my own memorial, and they would just delete theirs after. Which they did.