A little bit about me:
My name is Ryan. When I was a kid a father of my neighborhood pals used to call me Ryan-O (like Lion-O from the old ThunderCats cartoon in the 1980's - the best decade ever). I liked the nickname and use it here.
I've lived in Massachusetts my whole life. Since 1988 I've been interested in my genealogy. I'm 25% Scottish, 12.5% Irish but I mostly descend from English families who came here 300-400 years ago. So far I have identified thirteen ancestral lines of mine to five different Mayflower passengers. My immigrant ancestor, with the same last name, came to Massachusetts in the 1630's from France supposedly. I don't consider myself French, however, because it was so long ago and his genes have been watered down so much over the past four centuries.
If I did not have to work I would grow a big bushy red beard and buy a house with a porch. On that porch I would rock back and forth in my rocking chair, sporting a bad-ass kilt whilst learning to play the bag pipes....until I gave up 10 minutes later from being terrible at it.
If I was retired I would definitely travel the great continental 48 states in an RV searching out the historic landmarks of the USA. Revolutionary and Civil War battlefields would be on the list of places to visit. A 7th great-grandfather of mine was Gen. Artemas Ward (1727-1800).
May 23, 2021
Good tip for researchers: Always look at the original document, if available, for birth, marriages, deaths, etc. I've found many mistakes over the years on volunteer indexed records such as the ones on the website I use, www.FamilySearch.org/search.
April 28, 2021
Downloaded the Find-a-Grave app for the first time. Hopefully it gets me outdoors in the fresh air this Spring and Summer.
February 1, 2021
Contributor Ed Poulin (member #47263733) generously transferred to me the 1,702 memorials he created at Crystal Lake Cemetery in Gardner, Massachusetts. Each memorial represents a human being. I'd like to know more about them and I'll give it my best to learn more. Thank you Ed.
Fall of 2020
I recently noticed that a bunch of my old photographs on Find-a-Grave are turned sideways. If anyone notices any of these please alert me and I will fix them. I would never post sideways pictures. I don't know why they are getting turned around all the sudden.
Slowly working on a couple things:
1) Reuploading gravestone pictures I've added on here a long time ago to have better zoom capabilities, pixels and a clearer image. Find-a-Grave used to downsize files uploaded to save space. Sadly, I did not save every picture I've ever snapped.
2) Adding more biographical information available from records on FamilySearch.org to memorials that I manage - usually from census records which I think add a great snapshot of ones' family growing up. Where they lived, what they did, the coming and going of children, etc. I also like viewing and adding what I can from WWI & WWII U.S. military draft cards.
3) Linking family together when possible.
What I like about Find-a-Grave:
1) Pictures! Please add gravestone pictures and family photographs. If you have a lot you can sponsor the memorial for $5 and add many more!
2) Contributors who are friendly and that you get used to dealing with in your local area.
3) It's so easy to use and free
4) Cemeteries are history
5) Old gravestones are neat especially the decorative ones with faces and wings, etc. at the top. Also I like the ones that have a dark or morbid little inscription at the bottom letting a passerby know we are all mortal.
A few cool epitaphs I've found:
Found on Miss Sally Jennison's (d. 1831) headstone at Upper Cemetery, Phillipston, Mass.:
Behold my friends, look down & view
The hollow, gaping tomb;
This gloomy prison waits for you,
When e'er your summons comes.
Found this engraved on Anna Barnes' ( d. 1818) stone at Warwick, Mass.:
Low in the ground my bed is made,
here in the dark alone I'm laid.
Depart my friends and let me rest,
I'm weary of this wilderness.
This one is off Zachariah Barber's (d. 1822) at the same cemetery:
Retire my friends nor shed a tear,
in sweet repose I slumber here,
to trouble me the wicked cease,
and all is silence, rest and peace.
Found this on someone's Find-a-Grave profile:
Old Bones' profile poem
Your tombstone stands among the rest;
Neglected and alone.
The name and date are chiseled out
On polished, marbled stone.
It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn.
You did not know that I exist
You died and I was born.
Yet each of us are cells of you
In flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
Entirely not our own.
Dear Ancestor, the place you filled
One hundred years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
Who would have loved you so.
I wonder if you lived and loved,
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot,
And come to visit you.
Please suggest a correction on a specific memorial using the Suggest Edits tab. I welcome edits even if it's just a GPS, plot number, marker transcription or middle/maiden name etc. I like complete memorials. I do try to verify information provided to me using vital records. Sometimes I may ask for more information from contributors.
Over the years I've learned to keep the name at the top of the memorial the same as what is engraved on the stone. Otherwise a contributor may create a duplicate page because the system did not catch the nickname or whatnot that they entered. (Especially with people transcribing other people's photos with the new system. What a mess!) I've practiced a couple times and verified my theory. I'll sometimes add name variations in the biography section.
Also, I usually find adding a cause of death to a memorial to be a little tacky.
***SORRY, I DO NOT LINK TO RELATIVES THAT DO NOT HAVE A BURIAL LOCATION. This is Find-a-GRAVE after all. There are some exceptions of course, for example scattered ashes or bodies donated to science, but even then there could be a headstone or cenotaph somewhere. Please stop making memorials on this website if you don't know the final resting place for an individual. And certainly don't just plop deceased persons in a cemetery you THINK they are probably buried at!
I personally love the world family tree at https://www.familysearch.org/tree/find/name which is free to use (you just need to register). You don't need to know where anyone is buried and it is so easy to use. You can add your whole family by typing it in or upload an old Gedcom file from a family tree program. There's a cool button that tells you how you are related to someone you find on that tree. I am amazed every time I use it at how connected we all are! ***
From The Doors song "The End" (live version):
Don't let me die in an automobile
I wanna lie in an open field
want the snakes to suck my skin
want the worms to be my friends
want the birds to eat my eye
as here I lie
the clouds fly by
Search memorial contributions by Ryan-O