During my genealogy research, I ran across a site called findagrave.com which is an online memorial website allowing anyone to create online memorials. It is a completely free genealogy site! The Find A Grave website allows you to search for and find a grave by name thus making it easy to find graves of your loved one’s! I absolutely love this site and will go over all the reasons why in this post.
Long Distance Tribute To Loved One’s
First of all, findagrave.com was created as a place to remember those who have passed and for this reason alone I love the website. It maybe won’t make sense if you live in the same area your family does and did, but for someone transplanted like me it is an awesome site to be able to visit.
The bulk of my family is in Michigan, but I also have some family in Wisconsin, Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, etc. You get the picture. So visiting the graves of all of my loved one’s and family members for any reason is out of the question. I do visit my father’s grave a couple of times a year at least, but to go all over the United States and visit them all would be highly improbable.
Sites like findagrave.com allow you to find a grave by name and store the memorial into a virtual cemetery. That means you have a place to view the memorial and leave flowers in remembrance of your loved one! It also means you have a place to post pictures to remember them by and allow others to view them as well.
Locating The Burial Place Of A Loved One
Another reason why I love findagrave.com is that it gives you the ability to find a grave by name. What I mean by this is that if you are maybe not local to where your loved one is buried and/or just do not know where the burial was done, then with this site you can search by name and the state. It will show results which you can then narrow down to the name that you need.
I recently moved to Wisconsin from Arizona, but like I stated before, the majority of my family is in Michigan. There are a ton of cemeteries in the area where my family is concentrated. With findagrave.com I can find the online memorial and determine which cemetery my loved one is buried in. This is very helpful if you are planning a trip for genealogy reasons to complete research or even just to plan a trip to visit your loved one’s grave.
Websites like findagrave.com are also very helpful for the research possibilities they offer to genealogists, even the novices. I should actually say especially the novices! Having a virtual memorial which gives so much information makes performing genealogy searches so much easier!
Take for example my grandparents on my dad’s side…once I found them on the site, I have now found all of their children attached to them (the one’s that have passed).
I then would add all of them to the same virtual cemetery with the surname Coburn which is their last name. I now have one place where I can view all of their memorials and each one has a lot of information I can use for my research.
The picture above shows the find a grave memorial for my dad’s mom, Rebecca Emily Puckett Coburn. As you can see from the arrows, on her memorial you can view her husband’s name (my grandfather) and a list of her deceased children, my aunts and uncles. There are several more not shown in the picture. Each name is a link to that person’s memorial!
I think it is really great having all of the family members in one place to view. People are mostly visual and being able to see the members of the family unit all together helps me with my research particularly with the older generations where I wasn’t alive to know the ancestors.
Downfalls Of Online Memorials
Be wary of these sites though, because the information in them is coming from friends, family, obituaries where the information is coming from the family, etc. In other words, the information may not be 100% accurate. Inaccuracies could lead you down the wrong path!
When my uncle Lloyd passed away, his wife at the time thought he had a couple of sisters…not 4! My mother and he are twins and she didn’t know that either. She also didn’t know that he had a brother. She made out his obituary without including those people and their families.
Another example I have to share is that one of my aunt’s name is spelled wrong on her grave. No one knows for sure how it is supposed to be spelled. It is actually spelled differently every time I have seen it written. I have another uncle whose grave has the wrong birthday on it. These inconsistencies are the result of the information coming from people and not records.
I am only putting this out there so that you take the information provided on the site with a grain of salt. If inconsistencies are found with a relative of yours, you can send an edit request to the person who created and maintains the memorial to request the changes.
When my dad died, I was actually in the room with him in a hospital in Wisconsin. One of my cousins created his online memorial and added in it that my dad passed away in Michigan (he is buried in Michigan). Inaccuracies do occur, but it is not a huge deal. Just submit an edit request and even if the memorial maintenance person doesn’t respond, it will automatically update the memorial in 21 days.
You can also request to have a memorial transferred to you to maintain, which will keep the original creator of the memorial listed to give them their credit for the creation. If the memorial is related to both the creator and yourself, then the person with 4 or closer generations to the memorial is allowed by the site to maintain the memorial. Most of the time though, I find that the memorial was created by someone not related at all and they typically have no qualms about just transferring the memorial to me.
Online memorials are a great way for relatives to remember loved one’s, but are also a great research tool for genealogists. Sites like findagrave.com allow people to search and find a grave by name. This ability helps narrow down search results when performing genealogy searches. The memorials typically have a lot of information on them such as other relatives names, birthdays, deceased family members, location of the grave, etc.
When using the sites like this one, just be careful not to rely solely on the information provided in the memorial because it maybe somewhat inaccurate. While researching my husband’s side, I found his grandmother listed as having his father as her father! Inaccuracies do occur, but the information can be corrected.
Happy searching and remember I am always here to guide you if needed. Please leave any questions or comments below. I look forward to assisting you with your journey in filling out your family tree!