Find A Grave

I’ve been working intermittently for several months to locate next of kin for Russell Coyne, an elderly man whose family tree I’ve filled in pretty completely, but whose life (and next of kin) remains obscured. I have records on him until the 1940s, and a bit in the 1990s, but almost nothing in between. His uncle is buried in Greenwood Memorial Park in San Diego. I wondered if other family members were buried there. That’s where Find A Grave comes in.

You can check to see if a deceased person is already listed on FindaGrave. If he or she is and there is no photo of the gravestone, you can post a request for someone who lives locally to take a photo of the stone and upload it to the site. If they are not listed, you can create a listing with the person’s name, dates of birth and death and any other identifying information, and then request a photo. In my request, I gave the names of his parents, asking for photos of those if they were in the same cemetery. I posted my request yesterday afternoon. Today I received an email that my request had been fulfilled.

Isn’t it amazing that there are people who walk cemeteries and catalog every grave, and others who respond to requests within 24 hours? Findagrave member Linda has added 11,960 memorial pages, and added 8,247 photographs. How many hours of walking, photographing, and computer uploading does that equate to?

In comparison, I’ve responded to a few dozen requests in my area. It can be challenging to locate old stones in small rural cemeteries. But each time someone responds to one of my requests, it reaffirms the value of responding when there is a request in my area. It’s been a long time since I’ve filled any requests. I think I’ll watch more closely for requests near me.

Are you a walker? Do you enjoy history? Check out Find A Grave and see what you think. Maybe you can put your 10,000 steps a day to good use.

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