I originally stumbled onto Find A Grave in February of 2010 while using Roots Magic genealogy software. At that time, there were only 43 million names in the database.
It was always my desire to organize all of my funeral death cards for my relatives in one location as a shrine to honor them. I decided why not make memorials for them on Find A Grave instead? One by one I entered in all of my relatives. Later, I went back and added personal bio's for as many as I could.
I got into the habit of checking the obits from a newspaper that included my hometown and started creating memorials for folks that lived there, people that worked at National Tube, and former members of my old church. I then defaulted to creating memorials for all of the obits. The newspaper went to a larger format with more surrounding counties listed and it became difficult to put in all of the time required to accomplish this on a daily basis while maintaining a family life.
My focus then switched to doing actual footwork in local cemeteries gathering tombstone photos to post. This is a popular diversion here in the South and almost all of the cemeteries have been documented by a few locals so I concentrated on newer gravesites. Up North, the cemetery that my parents are buried in only had 200 entries at that time. There are probably 50K graves there. I would love to take a weeks vacation to photograph all the graves. I'm not one of these folks that contacts the cemetery office for a master list and then submit an electronic spreadsheet entering in thousands in a second. I like to enter in my memorials the old fashioned way, one at a time, doing as much research to link family members.
There is a feeling of satisfaction being able to create memorials and post photos that will be used by future generations creating family trees or just satisfying their curiosity as to what happened to John Doe, their old schoolteacher, neighbor, or boyfriend?
A portion of my vacation was spent in the summer of 2012 putting two small church cemeteries on the map. I had researched the areas that I was going to visit and found that one of the cemeteries only had one entry while the other showed only 200. Google satellite photos revealed hundreds more so my goal was to document both. My son helped me to photograph the Polish church cemetery in Helmetta, NJ. I had photographed a smaller Ukrainian church cemetery a few miles from his old home in Connecticut. We had driven past that area many times and never knew that there was a cemetery hiding there.
Now, I like to research old newspapers online seeking to create memorials for those that have been long forgotten.
I will honor all memorial transfers outside of the F.A.G. guidelines. You don't even have to be related. I would rather transfer the memorial to someone who knew them and has a genuine desire to maintain their memorial. The only exception on transfers would be a relative but I have transferred several of my memorials to those that were closer related.
Feel free to use any of my photos that I have posted. I'm not going to sit here and thump on my chest claiming that I have "copyrights" on my pictures. If I didn't want to share, then I wouldn't have bothered to take the photo in the first place.
At this time I would like to thank all of you that have visited my memorials and left tokens, flowers and messages. As an example, what are the chances that a total stranger would stop at my folks tombstone in person, not knowing anything about them and proceed to say a few kind words or leave a flower? Zero! I tried to put as many of my relatives on the Online Stroll so you will have the opportunity to learn a little about who they were and bring them to you. I'd also like to thank those folks that provide tombstone photos for my memorials when I haven't even requested them. The system doesn't notify you of this and I only discover this when I am doing maintenance.
I grew up in the Pittsburgh, PA area and have retired and moved from Dallas, TX to Zanesville, OH. Feel free to contact me if I can be of any help with your Find A Grave needs. Some of you already have and I tried to research as much as possible to give you the best answer.
My goal on Find A Grave is to provide as much accuracy as possible. For me, it's not about the numbers. I constantly send edit requests to other members and likewise have received edit requests when new information becomes available.