Recently I joined findagrave.com, a website dedicated to cemeteries and the people who inhabit them.
It started with a google search for David Thompson, an ancestor, and soldier of the revolution; my current brick wall. The search brought up a historical cemetery in Belknap, NH. FindAGrave lets you request photos of grave sites, and volunteers take photos and post them.
I put in a request, and within 3 days I had this!
Volunteers being the generous people they are, I also got a photo of his wife’s grave!
There are many things one can learn from a burial, including dates, names, and who is buried nearby.
I have since volunteered, and have contributed half a dozen photos for people. Sometimes it’s for genealogical purposes, but it’s just as often for people who just want to see the gravestones of remote loved ones. On Saturday mornings I stroll through a grassy cemetery looking for names, clearing leaves, untangling chimes, and righting pots. Not a bad way to spend a morning actually.
I have since gotten a couple more requests fulfilled, including one for my mother-in-law’s father and one for an ancestor, Daniel H Thompson of Marshfield, MA.
With a name like Find a Grave, you would probably expect to find nothing but celebrities. But that is not the case. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, soldiers…they are all among over twelve million names listed from all over the world, although a majority of the names do come from the United States. The people who enter names are called contributors and stroll through cemeteries around their cities and counties, writing down names and taking pictures of the headstones. They later enter this information in the Find a Grave database and upload photos of the headstones.