Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Above and Beyond at Find A Grave

I talked about Find A Grave before in my post on Burials.  I  know there have been issues with people who are less kindly-volunteers and more on-a-mission-rack-up-the-numbers types.  But today I have to tell you about a true volunteer who went above and beyond for me.

This volunteer does not live in the town in England where I requested a gravestone photo.  He is retired and likes to roam around the country visiting cemeteries and takes a lot of photos, especially of war graves. He was passing through my ancestors town and claimed my request so he could fulfill it.
This is what he found there.  

It was so overgrown! He said that over the winter this vegetation would all die off and in the spring he would go back, as it would be easier to clear and take photos.

Well, today I got another email from him and he said he is not as patient as I.  He was taking photos at another cemetery and took a route home that would pass this cemetery.  With "vegetation removal tools" in hand, he cleared all around the gravesite.

Now he was able to take close-up photos from every angle, as suggested by the Family Tree Blog that I mentioned in my High Fives post last Friday. He even took a photo of the side that is blank, just to show that it was.  

That is above and beyond and I am ever grateful, as I am for all the volunteers who take the time to help out people like me that live in a different city, a different country, a different continent!!  

It is sad that some cemeteries are left to go to seed, the inhabitants long forgotten. Perhaps now, with more people researching their ancestors and looking for their final resting place, some of these cemeteries will get spruced up for the occasion.



  1. Wow, this volunteer was really dedicated. And I hope you're right that with so many people tracing their roots, more cemeteries will be cleaned up and stones preserved for the sake of future generations.

    1. It was a nice surprise, I was prepared to wait until spring.

  2. I was able to find an entire branch of my family thanks to a wonderful woman in Oregon who, after I contacted her on Find a Grave to thank her for posting my gg grandparents site, went down to the County Courthouse and got a copy of my gg grandmother's will- which listed all of her surviving siblings and their addresses.

    1. That is Truly above and beyond! What a special person. I wish I had ancestors in her area hahaha!

  3. I had a similar experience several years ago. My brother and I were making the rounds of cemeteries taking photos. A man came up to us in one of the cemeteries and asked which family we were searching for. After we told him he asked if we could wait for a few minutes. He went home and came back with a notebook filled with handwritten family group sheets for most of the tombstones in the cemetery. unfortunately he didn't have any new information. He said that he goes to all of the cemeteries in the township and records the information as a hobby. I asked him if he had ever come across a tombstone for one set of my great-great grandparents which I had not been able to find. He had not but several weeks later he sent me an email saying that he had found the tombstone in a very obscure part of a cemetery. He had to return to the cemetery with garden clippers because the pine branches were blocking the stone. He did not send a photo but gave me a general description of where to find the tombstone. When I returned to the area about a year later I looked for the stone. It was completely surrounded by 2 pine trees. This was an old stone. Apparently someone had planted 2 shrubs next to the stone (It seemed like a good idea at the time) and by now they completely surrounded the 6 ft stone and towered over it. I had to crawl inside the trees and hold my camera out to take pictures of it. Luckily I had a digital camera so that I could immediately see if I got anything or not.

    1. Wow. Lucky it was found!
      One cemetery in England where I have ancestors, they took all the gravestones off the grounds and embedded them in a wall surrounding the churchyard. It was to make it easy to keep the grounds neat, as it is a small cemetery and there are over 3000 burials there.

  4. That's wonderful. It is great to find people who want to help others this way.


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