Years ago I did basic genealogical research on my family tree. My plan has always been to revisit the research when I had more free time (as in, being retired). A friend of mine recently recommended I checked it out and was so happy with what I found there, it has renewed my enthusiasm for family research.

How to Find a Grave

Find a grave is basically what the name sounds like. It is a way to find the gravesites of family members. The information is built from contributions by over a million users. It was started by James Tipton as a way to engage in his hobby of visiting the gravesites of famous people.

When you visit the site, you are greeted by some simple search fields that ask for:

  • First Name
  • Middle Name
  • Last Name (required)
  • Year Born
  • Year Died
  • Cemetery Location: City, County, State

I found the best results from starting with the least amount of information. For example, just the Last Name and the Cemetery Location yields a list of memorials that match that search. The cemetery location field provides a drop down list as you type in the information. This lets you select from the list and gives a better search result too.

Finding memorials for your family is thrilling. Many of the memorials had photographs of the headstones. But, that is just the beginning of what you can do. As a registered user, you can also contribute to the site. The first activity I did was to do a "Suggested Edit". I was able to contribute a missing birthdate and to link a child to his parents.

As a site user, you can:

  • Add new memorials (apparently some users visit cemeteries and upload many records)
  • Upload Photos
  • Transcribe the photos
  • Request a Photo
  • Suggest Edits
  • Upload a spreadsheet of memorial sites

Each person's record contains fields for:

  • Name
  • Birth date
  • Death date
  • Burial place (cemetery, city, county, state, country)
  • Photographs
  • Cemetery Plot #
  • GPS Coordinates (I am told if you upload pictures from some cameras, the site is able to retrieve the GPS coordinates from the photo)
  • Inscription
  • ID of the person's Father
  • ID of the person's Mother
  • ID of their spouse(s)
  • Marraige date

Once you find a memorial, it can be saved to, a "Virtual Cemetery", copied to the clipboard, or printed out. You can also share the site information on social media or email.

You can also "Leave a Flower" on someone's memorial. This lets you add a token of love and appreciation. It's a very nice touch.

Findagrave is a fantastic store house of information. By the way, using the site is free! I highly recommend it.