|Who is behind Find A Grave?|
|Who is behind Find A Grave? Well, first and foremost, you are. Thousands of contributors submit new listings, updates, corrections, photographs and virtual flowers every hour. The site simply wouldn't exist without the million+ contributors. When it comes to administrating, building and maintaining the site, Find A Grave is largely operated by its founder, Jim Tipton. In addition to Jim, there are a handful of folks who work behind the scenes, helping out with Find A Grave on a daily basis:|
Find A Grave Founder
Jim was born in Michigan but spent most of his youth in Denver, Colorado. As a kid, when he wasn't solving the Rubik's cube with his feet or juggling fire, Jim was figuring out how anything electronic worked. The arrival of the personal computer brought a whole new outlet for Jim's nerdy tendencies. Jim attended Grinnell College in Iowa and earned a degree in music. He now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with his wife, children and two cats.
Jim created the Find A Grave website in 1995 because he could not find an existing site that catered to his hobby of visiting the graves of famous people. He found that there are many thousands of folks around the world who share his interests. What began as an odd hobby became a livelihood and a passion. Building and seeing Find A Grave grow beyond his wildest expectations has been immensely satisfying for Jim. Every day, contributors from around the world enter new records, thousands use the site as an educational reference tool, long-lost loved ones are located and millions of lives are fondly remembered. In what other line of work would Jim have met one of the last living munchkins, spoken to a gathering of grave enthusiasts in a Hollywood mausoleum and acquired treasures like his antique coffin screwdriver (it only screws in)?
Favorite Graves: Al Capone (my first)...Karl Marx (a frequent visit while living in London)...Richard Feynman (one of my all time favorites)...Al Jolson (for its unsubtle grandeur)...Lucille Ball ([original marker] for its modesty).
Favorite Books: Jim used to be obsessed with existential authors, Camus and Kafka being his favorites. Lately he has been reading more non-fiction than fiction. Recent highlights include: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson, "Stealing Lincoln's Body" by Thomas Craughwell, "Bringing Down The House" by Ben Mezrich, "The Last Lone Inventor" by Evan Schwartz, "Candyfreak" by Steve Almond, "Diamond : A Journey to the Heart of an Obsession" by Matthew Hart, "Everything I Ate" by Tucker Shaw, "The Genius Factory" by David Plotz, "Cremation in America" by Fred Rosen, "Horsemen of the Esophagus" by Jason Fagone, "The Men Who Stare at Goats" by Jon Ronson, "Assassination Vacation" by Sarah Vowell and "Jetpack Dreams" by Mac Montandon.
Favorite Movies: "The Godfather", "The Godfather, II", "Psycho", "Goodfellas", "The Jerk", "Citizen Kane", "To Kill A Mockingbird", "Inherit The Wind", "Apocalypse Now", "The Big Lebowski", "O Brother, Where Art Thou?", "Rear Window", "Big Fish"
Hobbies: He enjoys playing and writing music, reading, cooking, table tennis, foosball, bocce, Nintendo and disc-golf (the macho sports).
Administrator, Photographer, and Biographer.
Russ was born in 1969 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, raised in southern New Jersey, lived in northern New Jersey (he considers himself a New Jersey Philadelphian with dual citizenship), and now has returned to the South Jersey-Philly area. His love of grave hunting and grave photography grew out of his passion for American History. History to him is more than abstract names and dates in a colorless text book. It is thoughts, ideas, efforts and experiences of people - real, living breathing people who pass on and become intangible words in a book. Visiting and photographing their graves, where their physical remains rest, does two things for him. One, it allows him to honor them and, for at least a brief period of time, for them to be remembered by someone. He believes too many of past Figures have been forgotten, and have passed into obscurity. Two, it helps him with the realization that this Famous person from History was as alive as himself. Both of these have a profound effect on him that in some ways he can't describe to others. His two primary photography subjects are Civil War figures (especially Union and Confederate Generals) and Major League Baseball figures. These represent two of his passions. He knows that many people see his hobby as morbid, and it unnerves them sometimes. However, if asked, he likes to tell them it's his way of traveling back in time. As Benjamin Franklin once said "Show me your cemeteries, and I will tell you what kind of people you have."
Favorite Graves: Favorite cemeteries are Laurel Hill in Philadelphia, Arlington National Cemetery, The West Point Academy Cemetery and Green-Wood in Brooklyn.
Favorite Books: "The German Way of War" by Robert Citino, "Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power" by Max Boot, "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee" by Dee Brown, any one of Harry Pfanz's three "Gettysburg" books, any Harry Turtledove alternate history work, any of the historically brilliant works by Stephan Sears, Edward Longacre, William C. Davis, Brian Pohanka, and Edward Bearss, and works/novels by Kurt Vonnegut, Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, Orson Scott Card, Alan Steele, Harlan Ellison, James Tiptree Jr, Lucius Shepard and John Norman.
Favorite Movies: Blade Runner, Rollerball (the original), Soylent Green, Highlander, Gettysburg, Glory, Saving Private Ryan, and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure ("Bill.. Strange things are afoot at the Circle K...")
Hobbies: His hobbies are finding graves, reading, dialetical conversations, eating Frosted Mini-Wheats, honing his extraordinary ability to quote Bugs Bunny Cartoons from memory, and ruling a small South American country as its benevolent dictator, with the title of "El Presidente for Life" ("My people.. They Love Me!"). He also spends a lot of time in the shadowy underworld of the International Spork Black Market. He is available for Bar Mitvahs, Smokers and Saturday Night Bingo.
Administrator, Editor, Photographer
A.J. has recently moved BACK to his beloved Southern California after spending two years in the capital of the south, Atlanta, Georgia. Back to his roots and an endless supply of celebrity graves! A.J. photographs the gravesites for many of America's most famous and infamous figures. When he is not spending countless fascinating hours behind the scenes at Find a Grave, A.J. is a professional musician (guitar, keyboards, and bass) and producer. He plays in a number of bands and has recently been spending a lot of time recording in his home studio.
Favorite Graves: Humphrey Bogart at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California. A.J.'s Favorite cemeteries include Hollywood Forever and Mountain View in Altadena, California.
Favorite Books: The World According to Garp, by John Irving. The Twilight Zone Companion, by Marc Scott Zicree. The Witching Hour, by Anne Rice. Sam and the Firefly, by P.D. Eastman. All of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books (which A.J. says will be regarded as literary classics in 75 to 100 years from now).
Favorite Movies: To Kill a Mockingbird, A Hard Day's Night, The Right Stuff, The Natural, Singin' In the Rain, Amadeus, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Almost Famous, School of Rock.
Hobbies: A.J. spends as much time as possible exploring fascinating cemeteries. He can often be found running and cycling at the historic Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and hiking in the nearby San Gabriel mountains. A.J. enjoys playing computer adventure games, solving jigsaw puzzles, crosswords and Sudoku, reading and generally remaining a happy spirit!
Raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has been interested in cemeteries since living nextdoor to one and working as a florist for many years. She is especially drawn to cemeteries that are culturally diverse and have an atypical history. She is interested in the variance that is revealed when mourning for the dead, especially in a cemetery setting, and the cultural dispersion of our connection with the dead. She graduated from the University of Utah in English and has four children.
Favorite Books: Enjoys books by Geraldine Brooks, Paulo Coelho, Zafon, and religious literature. Of course, being an English major she is fond of all classics as well. Reading is her favorite leisure.
Favorite Movies: She prefers old instead of new and drama instead of action. But, she never watches a movie twice because she gets bored. She like movies that surprise her.
Hobbies: Singer for a couple of big bands and combo, playing a bit of guitar, gardening, leg wrestling, hiking, reading, organizing, journaling, making up new words and mothering.
Born in Chicago, grew up in Milwaukee. Met a tall, dark and handsome man at Grinnell College (in Iowa). We have a beautiful daughter and a happy little boy.
Favorite Graves: Al Capone's, because it was my first grave search with Jim.
The cemetery in Price, Utah, is a great place to visit, as there are many gravestones with interesting comments and graphics.
Favorite Books: Anything by Ursula Hegi, Agatha Christie, Carol O'Connell, Jonathan Kellerman, or James Patterson.
Favorite Movies: Anything that's a mindless combination of action and comedy (i.e. Jackie Chan movies).
Hobbies: None. I used to spend my free time on Find A Grave; now I'm quite busy with a teenager and a little one. If I find a spare moment, it will be spent reading or playing Sudoku.
Administrator, Editor, Biographer
I was born in New Jersey and moved with my family to Los Angeles when I was 11. Now I tell people I'm a native Angeleno from Newark. Since 1995 I've written articles for the quarterly "Films of the Golden Age" and its sister publication, "Classic Images". I've also contributed info to several books, including the last two editions (1996, 1998) of "Final Curtain" by Everett Grant Jarvis...As a kid I used to wander through Hollywood Memorial Park on my way home from school, and I've loved cemeteries ever since. It's sad how some folks think graving is morbid, because they live in fear and denial of death. "Deny it all you want, you're going to die anyway", as Shostakovich once said. If anything, visiting cemeteries has given me a greater appreciation of life, and a deeper respect for the past. In this era of 500 cable channels and diminishing attention spans, memory is becoming a precious commodity. That's why Find-A-Grave is so important, and why every member of this website should be proud. We are keepers of memory.
Favorite Graves: Favorite cemeteries are Westwood Memorial Park, Hollywood Forever, and Forest Lawn Glendale (all in the Los Angeles area). Would love to visit Pere Lachaise in Paris and Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.
Favorite Books: Anything by or about Chekhov, "Where I'm Calling From" by Raymond Carver, "Kiki's Paris" by Bille Kluver and Julie Martin, "A Confederacy of Dunces" by John Kennedy Toole, "The Collected Stories of Isaac Babel".
Favorite Movies: Too many to list. Probably the old Hollywood classics I've seen most recently, with some foreign stuff thrown in.
Hobbies: Passionately fond of music, old movies, history, art, literature, and of course graving (when I get the chance). I also like exploring obscure historical sites around L.A. and taking clumsy photos of them.
Born and grew up in Indiana. Transplanted to Michigan for a few years and now back home again.
Favorite Graves: Arlington National Cemetery, Abraham Lincoln.
Favorite Books: J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit.
Favorite Movies: Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, It's a Wonderful Life, Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Dune, Wargames, Finding Nemo, Good Will Hunting, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Hoosiers, Rudy, Clerks, Band of Brothers.
Hobbies: Computer Gaming, Sudoku, Biking during my free time, history, genealogy, travel.
Currently living in Spain, working at Find a Grave. I do most of my work in the morning here, making it overnight in the US. So I guess I'm the night watchman.
Favorite Books: 1984, The Stranger, On The Road
Hobbies: Travel, motorcycles