Saturday, June 5, 2010

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy - Challenge #22

Search 46.6 million cemetery records at by entering a surname and clicking search:

This weeks  GeneaBlogger challenge was to spend some time on Find A Grave.  The idea was not to actually research using it but to spend some time clicking the various links.  Well, that didn't work so well. In no time at all I had found I could actually contribute information and photos to the site and so I spend a couple of hours just adding information to the database.  That led me to several other sites and 6 hours later, I realized that I had *forgotten to make dinner.  It's nights like this that pizza delivery really comes in handy!
I first used Find A Grave about five years ago to help me track down the family of my great grandfather, John Polito.  They have a wonderful forum section and within 12 hours of posting my question on the Colorado board I had made contact with the great grandson of John.  From there I found my grandmother's first cousin and she has since returned a box of great grandpa's documents to me. 
If you use the site, make sure to try different variations of the surname you are researching.  If your ancestor's name was "changed" when arriving to the US then almost certainly they will be buried under their new surname. There are also several wonderful people who will do photo look ups in cemeteries for people and who have transcribed many cemeteries across North America, Canada and some even overseas.  One such member looked up my grandfather, Ernesto Salvati tombstone for me and took several pictures and another created a memorial to him.  Definitely a site worth using over and over again!