Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: An Annoyance

No image this week for Tombstone Tuesday, but I do want to talk about a minor annoyance I have in attempting to obtain an image of some ancestral graves.

I've had a lot of positive results seeking assistance from volunteers at RAOGK and FindAGrave. I've also provided assistance at both in return.

However, in one instance, I keep striking out.

Back in July of 2009 I requested from a volunteer at RAOGK a photograph of the tombstones of my great grandparents, Samuel and Helen Deutsch. They are buried at Waldheim Cemetery in Chicago. Waldheim Cemetery is huge, but their website does offer an online request form. So I was able to obtain exact plot locations for their graves, and I included that in my request. I received no response from the volunteer. (And the volunteer is no longer on the site.)

In September I discovered FindAGrave and I repeated my request there. When I submitted it, I was told there were over 300 volunteers within 10 miles of the cemetery. You'd think out of those 300 individuals who have specifically volunteered to photograph graves, one would fulfill my request. But none of them did.

The request was pretty early in the fall too, so weather wasn't the reason.

Recently I noticed RAOGK has some new volunteers in the Cook County area, so come Springtime, I will try again. If that fails, maybe I'll make a trip to Chicago. It's a good five hour drive each way, but I suspect I have at least a dozen relatives, of varying distances, buried there, though I haven't obtained the plot locations for all of them yet.


David said...

John, just wait until we get our high speed train service to Chicago... ;)

Kathryn Doyle said...

I love Find A Grave - I really do - but the one problem I have with the site is they still let anyone add a cemetery. Consequently there are many duplicates - including Waldheim. It is listed three times that I can see so that may be part of the problem.

John said...

I signed up to receive photograph-requests for cemeteries in my area, and I receive in my email all the requests within a certain mile radius.

So those in the radius for Waldheim should be getting the requests, regardless of which entry for the cemetery it was submitted under.

My suspicion is that the cemetery is large enough, that the volunteers essentially ignore all the requests. It may be difficult to find one's way even with the plot information.

However, I've already received an offer from a Chicago resident to help me out when the snow thaws, so I might not have to wait too long.