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Find A Grave is a free resource for finding burial places and headstones around the world. Users upload photos of headstones and memorials, transcriptions of engravings, biographical information and links to family members. The site stores over 120 million grave records, providing plenty of material.
Whether you’re looking for an ancestor or a celebrity, Find a Grave has built a community-based project around grave records. The idea is that its members visit graves around the world, taking photos and making notes on them. This then builds into a collaborative effort, whereby other people can include additional photos and information about a person.
Why might you want to use this resource? Well, if you have an ancestor you’re trying to track down, knowing where they’re buried is a good starting point. Their headstone might also tell you about their children and parents, their life and more. Once you’ve identified the person, the online community can fill in extra details, offer stories and photos, if they knew that person or have research on them. It’s even possible to ask a member to visit a grave on your behalf, if you don’t live near it.
Members are generally very happy with the resources and service provided by this site. There are a few disagreements over who can and cannot edit a biography, but on the whole this seems to be worked out.
Biographies can be quite in depth and provide links to family members (living or deceased). You can also look up famous graves, such as Oscar Wilde’s, which allows you to see where your favorite historic figures are buried without having to travel half way around the world.
FindaGrave.com now offers a mobile app to help you in your research. Using this app, you can visit grave sites and record what you find instantly, adding the data to the website. An online virtual tour also presents a variety of random memorial pages for you to enjoy, many of which are created by friends and family of the deceased.
This site is somewhat limited. If you want more than just a biography and one or two photo, plus some headstone information, you’ll need to go elsewhere. However, it’s free and achieves what it intends: to share grave and memorial information freely.
Find A Grave could be a useful resource for genealogical research. It probably won’t offer everything you need but will certainly be handy as a starting point.
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