Who doesn’t like a ‘Free’ online database site to explore? The one titled ‘Find A Grave‘ is what has been available since 1995, the brainchild of Jim Tipton. This site was sparked by Jim’s interest and hobby of visiting the grave sites of celebrities and notable individuals. He found there was no such web site showing where the famous were buried. Since he was already familiar, along with a collections of photos of the burial locations for Karl Marx, Al Capone, Al Jolson, Lucille Ball and many others, Jim created for the Internet “Find Famous Graves“.
From that early beginning he quickly realized there also needed to be such a site for locating ordinary people’s grave sites, so that Find A Grave was born. Over the years it has grown tremendously. It is all due to thousands of contributors, regular people, from around the world who gather photos, records, obituaries of long-lost loved ones then post it to the Find A Grave site for others to find.
Not everyone lives close enough to a family hometown cemetery, so this is the next best thing to viewing an ancestor’s headstone. Beside the birth and death dates, many grave markers have who the spouse was (may even be buried next to the individual), along with children or parents’ names, their occupation, or if they were in the military, etc.
Besides the search box for ordinary people, there is the search box for the famous. Both are very easy to use. Never try to put too much information about the person in your search, because you might know what the final spelling of a name was or where they lived. Unless the person had a very common surname, keep the search simple. Also check for any others with that surname in a specific cemetery, that way you might locate siblings, grandparents, children, etc.
Besides a photo of the headstone, the contributor may have posted a portrait of the individual along with a biography, creating a real treasure chest of information which just might be found in this easy search.
You can also become a contributor to the site. Register free as a contributor with a user name and you can post some of the relatives you have with information of where they are buried. Even if you don’t have a photo of their grave site, if you know where they are buried and a little bit about them, post the information. Another contributor from that hometown just might go and photograph the headstone placing it for you on the listing. Most postings also have the exact plot and lot numbers of the grave. A real ‘win-win’ situation.
Since many people take photos of all the graves in their local cemetery and post them to Find A Grave, you can also request a specific photo be taken by a contributor. Again, almost as good as being there. Excellent resource for anyone.
Photos: Examples of Find A Grave postings, one on Stanley Kitching and the other for Joanna Brevitz.
< Return To Reviews