Find A Grave – a great, free, genealogy resource. Have you visited Find A Grave ? If not then you really don’t want to miss out on this source of free genealogy information which was one of the first small family history websites to go online. The Find A Grave website was first created in the early years of the internet by Jim Tipton whose hobby it was to visit and photograph the graves of famous people. Much to his surprise the site very quickly became popular with thousands of visitors eagerly searching for any mention of their family names. Jim invited others to contribute images and information from churchyards and cemeteries around the world (not just famous people) and the Find A Grave we know today was born.
In 2013 Jim Tipton sold the website to Ancestry who now maintains and adds to the database on an almost monthly basis. I should imagine that the cost and time of running the website had become quite time consuming and costly. At the time of writing there are in excess of 110 million memorials recorded worldwide including data of those who have been buried at sea. The data can be searched via the Ancestry.com website where it is split into several sections or by directly using the stand alone Find A Grave site.
If you are a little uncertain about the difference between cemetery records and churchyards then these two posts should help. It is important to know the difference, so you understand what the different records offer.
Find A Grave – a great, free, genealogy resource – what does it contain?
An entry in Find A Grave will have as a minimum a transcript of the monumental inscription. However very often you will also find a photograph of the tombstone, information of others of the same surname in the same burial place and occasionally biographies of the deceased. This latter tends to be when fellow genealogists have found the entry so not only will you have the deceased information, but also a possible genealogy cousin link. So the possibility of finding genealogy treasure is quite high!
It is worth noting also that should you find an error in an entry, and let’s face it we are the experts on our own ancestors, you can submit a correction which will be reviewed and if deemed correct then the entry will be amended.
Find A Grave – a great, free, genealogy resource – how to access the information
If you chose to search through Ancestry then it is just a case of the filling in the name in the normal search form. However I suggest that you go directly to the Find A Grave website as that way you won’t get side-tracked by other data! Plus I think you seem to get a more focused search.
Searching is very easy, the search boxes are on the home page, as with all genealogy searches I recommend that initially you put in the bare minimum unless you are searching for a popular name like John Smith when you will want to put in more information to narrow down your results.
I put in the surname Diddams, which is quite unusual unless you are researching in Hampshire or Kent when there are a fair number of them. I know that one branch of the family emigrated to the US and I had hopes of finding graves both sides of the Atlantic.
35 entries came up so that was quite a manageable number, if there had been more than 50 I would have narrowed the search down by adding a first name or place to the search boxes. The results were as follows:-
- USA 12
- UK 9
- France 5
- Austria 2
- Australia 2
- New Zealand 2
- Italy 1
- Pakistan 1
- Canada 1
The entries for France, Italy and Pakistan are all war graves so they could lead me onto army records, the Commonwealth War Graves website and various other military sites. I recognised nearly all the names from previous searches, but there were 3 entries that have been added since I last looked. The first entry was for Albert Cecil Diddams is a good example of what you might find.
- Albert Cecil Diddams M.D.
- Born 1930 USA
- Death 2017 USA
- Burial Prescott National Cemetery, Arizona
- Note that states that Dr. Diddams was the beloved husband of Sheila for 63 years and father of their five children. He was a devoted, skilled, and trusted physician. (Final military rank of Colonel).
- A scan of a newspaper obituary which is very informative as to family and career
I was very pleased to be able read a copy of Dr Diddams obituary which I probably would have been able to access very easily elsewhere.
I entered the surname Mulcock in the state of Utah, USA. It brought up 14 entries which was very satisfying. One of the entries was for Mary Ann Mulcock nee’ Pill.
- Mary Ann Mulcock nee’ Pill
- Born 9 Feb 1862, Berkshire, England
- Died 19 June 1954 Salt Lake City
- Photo of grave stones for Mary Ann and her husband Hiram
- Photo of Mary Ann
- Contact form for the person who submitted the photos so this is a possible cousin
It was a thrill to see a photograph of Mary Ann Pill as I felt I knew her and her family quite well having tracked them through the UK census and also on their journey across to Salt Lake City. This alone would have made the search worthwhile, but the other 14 entries were also of great interest.
Find A Grave – a great, free, genealogy resource – summary
I hope you can see by my two examples that this website is one to put on your list of websites to search and then go back and search again every time you see there are updates on the MadAboutGenealogy Friday posts. There does seem to more photos being added, no doubt due to the ease of taking good images using phones and uploading them via the Find A Grave mobile app. If you want to help by recording monumental inscriptions and adding photographs etc then just follow the instruction on the website.
I do like this website, if you can’t afford a subscription to Ancestry, FindMyPast or similar then I think using Find A Grave along with FamilySearch will allow you to pursue your genealogy at no cost. FamilySearch has links into Find A Grave from their website, but as I said above I suggest that you use the website directly.
Go and take a look at Find A Grave, I suggest you use the MadAboutGenealogy Free Project Planner from the Resource Library to keep track of who you have searched for and found and see who you can find!
If you would like to access my Free Genealogy Resource Library simple fill in your details in the form below and you will get immediate free access. How good is that?!
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