Sunday, April 26, 2009

Why I Do This, Reason #5,489

Recently, I've been adding some of my ancestors' tombstone photos to Find-a-Grave. The web site is arranged by cemetery, or search by name. You can add someone to the site by creating a profile and it shows up in the list of burials for the particular cemetery in which the person is located.

Many people visit a cemetery, take pictures, then create profiles for each person. The creator then becomes "owner" of those profiles he or she created. It is not uncommon for people to photograph a whole cemetery (or sections) then record that information. They're not relatives, just folks who are uploading that information for others who might be.

I was the creator of the profile for William W. Williamson, my great-great grandfather. I also created profiles for his three wives and five of his children. Other people had already created profiles for 2 of his children and thus I wasn't able to edit or add any information for them.

Using Find-a-Grave as a message service, I wrote to the two people who owned these profiles and asked to have them transferred to me. Both agreed immediately. People are so dang nice at that site, and in genealogy in general.

I now maintain the memorials for all 7 of WWW's kids, including my great-grandfather. They're not fully complete yet, but the pictures and vital information are up there for everyone online to see.

So now you're probably thinking, ""

While it may sound creepy to document and maintain information related to dead folks, it's really quite rewarding. One is able to tell the stories of those who are no longer around to tell them. One is able to set up a more permanent memorial than the stone and wood ones that are slowly washing away.

When I went to Cameron, Louisiana in search of my own history, I stopped and documented a small cemetery. I didn't know anyone in there, but I felt compelled to record there information and put it online so the people weren't forgotten. Last week, I was reviewing some of the information I had put on Find-a-Grave and I noticed someone had left a message on one of the profiles. It was a daughter commenting on her mother's memorial--the one I set up. It was so rewarding to be able to do that.

So why you may scratch your head and wonder why I do this, sometimes its just nice to help others.


  1. Amy, thank you for sharing this. I post at findagrave periodically, most recently working on some of my Hubbie's family, and requesting transfers, and receiving them quickly. Definitely a nice bunch of people over there.

  2. I didn't realize you could ask the profile owners to transfer ownership on Find-A-Grave. The owner was very good about updating the profile with the info I sent (about three years ago) -- I wonder if the ability to transfer was available then?

  3. Wow.. I clicked on Dr Sam & the page came up that was really neat. How can I look at the other pages you have done?

  4. Great post! I've created about 1000 profiles (the majority being non-family members) so far on Find A Grave and it's great to hear back from their families thanking me for my input - nice feeling!