Not long ago I attended a genealogy conference in Mesa, Arizona. An overwhelming number of courses were offered at the same time, and it was a challenge to decide which to attend. I ended up asking one of the volunteers to determine my fate. That he did, and I headed off to room 201, “Find A Grave.”
There was standing room only as presenter Shirley Nance took her place at the head of the classroom. While the basics were being covered, I couldn’t help but wonder how much harder it was going to be to convince millennials that genealogy is a youthful activity when I’m sitting in a course titled, “Find A Grave.” The thought was short-lived, however, as I quickly became consumed by interest in this fascinating program.
FindAGrave.com is an online database, where you are able to visit virtually a loved one’s final resting place from almost anywhere and at any time. It also can provide a trove of useful information about your ancestors. For example, the photo of a headstone is a terrific resource to confirm the spelling of an ancestor’s name and what years the ancestor lived. Another useful tip provided by Shirley Nance was that family members are often buried close together. After locating the gravestone of an ancestor, look around! There’s a solid chance you’ll discover family members nearby that you never knew existed.
FindAGrave.com also provides a wonderful community experience. If there is an ancestor buried in a cemetery far from where you live, simply put in a request for a photo to be taken. I gave this feature a try, and my request was filled in less than one week. Since this resource is a two-way street, I am able to look for any requests in my area and take a photo for someone else. This activity may be one of the greatest service projects that can be done by taking a picture with your phone.
There’s one more item I want to address, mainly because it’s hard to ignore. FindAGrave.com looks like a dated website, but for a good reason. Think of it like the California gold rush. At first, who had time to set up better equipment with all that gold pouring in? FindAGrave.com is a family history gold mine, experiencing a rush of its own.
Now it’s time for you to find some family gold by exploring this groundbreaking program. This Memorial Day, download the Find A Grave mobile app, and add a photo of the grave of an ancestor or fill a request for someone else. FindAGrave.com will leave you feeling connected to your family line in a thrilling new way.