I know several people who are very much into genealogy and love tracking down their family histories. Everyone knows about the big name genealogy sites, but I would like to point my readers to a site with a different twist – FindaGrave.com. It has records and photos of thousands of graves.
Now, this might sound a bit morbid. But I became interested in graves as a family history tool years ago when I accidentally found the grave of a long lost relative. My mother’s family had a tradition of making a yearly trip to the various cemeteries where our loved ones had been buried to put fresh flowers and plants on the graves (some of the graves had planters built into the headstones). During one trip when I was an older teen or college age, while my mother, grandmother and aunt were discussing something I wasn’t interested in, I roamed the graveyard looking at interesting headstones. I came across a name that seemed familiar, and asked my mother if we were related to that person.
They were amazed. The grave belonged to a relative who had cut herself off from the rest of the family decades earlier over an inheritance dispute. (She was in the right, in my opinion.) But no one had known what had become of her. Now, through my accidental find, they had information they could use in discovering the whereabouts of her own family.
I was dismayed when I discovered that FindaGrave does not have records of those cemeteries I spent so many hours in while growing up. The one where my recently deceased father is buried is not on it. Unfortunately, they are hundreds of miles away. But first chance I get, I’m taking a road trip with my camera.
This was originally posted on my old blog, Middle Class Poor.