Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday's Tip - Use Find-A-Grave for Cemetery Records

This week's Tuesday's Tip is to:  Use the Find-A-Grave website (www.findagrave.com) to find information about deceased persons.

This one seems so obvious to many researchers, doesn't it?  The Find-A-Grave site has over 76 million memorials on it now, and is growing at a fast rate - up to a million additions per month.  To search the site, the user has to click on the "Search 76 million grave records" link in the right-hand column.  

The user can search by name (first, middle, last), by location (country, state, county) or by memorial number.  Searches can be filtered by birth date, death date or date added to the database (up to 90 days).

First names can be partial (e.g., "will" finds "william," "willard," "willis," etc) but last names have to be exact.  No wild card characters are permitted.

The list of matches for a name search provides the name, the birth and death dates, the cemetery name (linked) and cemetery location.  There is a gravestone icon if a gravestone photo is attached to the person, and a flower icon if another photo is attached to it.  The actual inscription on the stone is provided in many memorials.  Sometimes there are links to memorials for other family members.  Occasionally, an obituary from a newspaper is provided.

To find all of the persons with the same surname, click on the cemetery name and then search for the surname.  

Find-A-Grave is, in my opinion, the best site for finding birth and death dates for persons born before vital record reporting was required in many states.  

I have been "mining" Seaver persons on Find-A-Grave for my database.  For the "seaver" surname, there are currently 1,652 memorials on Find-A-Grave.  I've gone through the first 400 entries so far (through the first names starting with A through D), but I've been checking each cemetery in the process, so I have collected 50% to 60% of the Seaver entries so far.   

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2012/02/tuesdays-tip-use-find-grave-for.html

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver.


Celia Lewis said...

My fave go-to-place for clues about my ancestors! BUT, don't forget that all photos are copyright by the individual photographers who took the photos. So, it's absolutely not okay to copy images to a public tree or blog, etc., unless you have taken the photo! FindAGrave buries that info in their many detailed information bits - which many people don't even go to. Very nice explanation of how to use FindAGrave, Randy. Thanks for posting.

Unknown said...

It should probably be noted that not all the information found in the memorials is correct as much of it is unsourced. I have found many memorials that have had invalid information. Use Find-A-Grave to find photos of tombstones and their transcriptions, beyond that it is no better than any other unsourced claim.

New York Historian said...

I will be entering the "Seaver" surname in New York City from 1860 to 1900 for those interested.

barbsnow said...

I am becoming concerned about one aspect of Find-A-Grave. Recently I've experienced two situations in which people who created websites with a great number of cemetery readings -- thousands and thousands -- have discovered that a FindAGrave contributer captured all the work and posted the data on FindAGrave, neither asking permission nor giving credit. Can the genealogical community tolerate populating FindAGrave in that manner?