Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Tuesday's Tip: Use the "Find A Grave" Web Site to Find Burial Records

The record collection for the "Find A Grave" is one of my favorite collections.  This collection is available on:

*   Find A Grave (Free) - there is no count available on the web site.  Has memorial information with photos, relatives, notes.

*  Ancestry.com ($$) - Find A Grave Index, 1300 to Current - 148,768,351 indexed memorials with links to Find A Grave pages.  

*  FamilySearch (Free) - Find A Grave Index - 180,099,516 entries, with links to Find A Grave pages.

The description of the collection on the Find A Grave About page says:
Find A Grave is the best place on the internet to look for burial and other final disposition information for your family, friends and famous people. The site provides tools that let people from all over the world work together, share information and build an online, virtual cemetery experience.
At Find A Grave you’ll find details about cemeteries and individual memorials for many people buried in those cemeteries. Memorials generally include birth, death and burial information and may include pictures, biographies, family information and more. Members can contribute what they know and can leave remembrances via 'virtual flowers' on the memorials they visit, completing the virtual cemetery experience.
It is important to understand what this collection at Find A Grave represents and includes.  It is memorials - not just gravestones - and some information may be obtained from vital records, books, newspapers, and other records.  The site has a search engine that recently was improved but still requires a last name (can be a partial name).  Each memorial has a link for a source citation at the bottom of the memorial page.

The indexes at Find A Grave on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch have more search options, and are more tolerant of different name spellings, year ranges, places, etc.  
Find A Grave does not have memorials or photographs for every person who ever lived.  Almot all of these memorials were created by volunteers, and a very small percentage are wrong in some way - the stones are not always easy to read, the records may be for the wrong person, or the links to family members may be wrong.

I don't know why Find A Grave doesn't provide the number of memorials on their site - there are memorials with an ID number over 205 million, but, apparently, some memorials have been deleted due to duplication or removal requests.

I entered several exact surnames in the "Last Name" search field in Ancestry, FamilySearch and Find A Grave (20 per page) and found:

*  3,659 for "Seaver" (on Ancestry)    4,546  (on FamilySearch)     over 3,900     (on Find A Grave)
*  675 for "Seavers"                                   855                                       over   740                                                                                                                 
*  449 for "Seever"                                    562                                         over   460
*  1,265 for "Seevers"                            1,597                                         over 1,320
*  1,230 for "Sever"                               1,590                                         over 1,380
*  1,232  for "Severs"                             1,781                                         over 1,500

*  493 for "Carringer"                               607                                         over    500
*    59 for "Caringer"                                  77                                         over      60                       

*  490 for "Vaux"                                     879                                           over   800                   

*  706 for "Auble"                                   869                                           over    720

*  1,562,916 for "Smith"               2,131,491                                         over 10,000 (limit)

I don't know why the numbers are so different between the three sites.  Perhaps the Ancestry numbers do not include non-USA memorials?  Perhaps Ancestry has not updated the number of records in their Card Catalog.

Here is an example of a record summary from this collection on Find A Grave (two screens, no overlap):

The user can Save the images to his computer.  Clicking on the image provides a larger image.  

On Find A Grave, a researcher can request a photograph be taken in a specific cemetery for a specific person if the person is buried there. 

These records are all Derivative Sources, with Secondary Information and Direct Evidence.  

I use these databases extensively to find my ancestors, my relatives, and other persons in my family tree.  The RootsMagic program I use accesses Ancestry WebHints that include the Find A Grave database, but I still have to click on the Find A Grave link on Ancestry to see the photos, notes, and links to family members. 

For those interested in mining this record collection for Hints of persons in their Ancestry Member Tree, the Ancestry.com database number is 60525.  Currently, I have over 7,400 Hints for persons in my Ancestry Member Tree who are indexed in this record collection.  I work on them occasionally, adding content and source citations to profiles in my RootsMagic family tree.  Of course, I have many more accepted Hints from this collection already in my RootsMagic family tree and my Ancestry Member Tree.


NOTE:  Tuesday's Tips is a genealogy blog meme intended to provide information about a resource helpful to genealogists and family historians, especially in the online genea-world.

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