Monday, April 20

As Long As I'm There Anyway...

As many of you know or have figured out, I like to hang out in cemeteries. Not after dark, mind you...definitely not after dark!...only in broad daylight. To photograph old or interesting tombstones.

Several years go, after a favorite aunt died, I joined Find A Grave. This is a site where anyone who's a member (FREE) can upload photos of the graves of loved ones. Ideally (but not necessarily) along with a bit of information about the deceased, as a remembrance or so that relatives who live far away can visit virtually.

Or perhaps in hopes of connecting with relatives they've lost track of or don't even know exist.

Some upload photos of graves of total strangers in the cemetery that happens to be near where they live.

Then there are those who volunteer to photograph specific graves at the request of people who live too far away to do so in person.

I recently became a Photo Volunteer because, gosh, I never go anywhere without my camera, and as long as I'm there anyway, might as well (try to) make someone's day.

I say "try to" because Great-grandpa or Auntie Helen may be buried in a cemetery near my home, but that doesn't mean the grave is marked.

The cemetery's records may show them in a certain section and lot number, but a photo of the grass between the stones on either side of that spot isn't what a distant relative is hoping for.

But a Photo Volunteer usually won't know there's no stone until they've walked the section at least once before calling it a day. More likely, twice or three times, just to be sure.

This is a labor of love - there's no pay except the satisfaction of (hopefully) giving a far away relative closure when they can finally see Great-grandpa or Auntie Helen's final resting place.

One doesn't have to be a member to use Find A Grave's search engine, only to add memorials and upload a photo or photos to them.

Find A Grave doesn't have every grave in every cemetery in the world.

But it does have several million.

If you've been wondering about a far off grave of a loved one, or even a beloved friend, you might want to give it a shot. If your find the one you're looking for - YIPPEE!


Scout's Honor said...

What a neat thing to do as a volunteer. Do people ever wonder why you spend so much time in cemeteries?

JamaGenie said...

Of course, people wonder. Really, it came out of my interest in family history. In the beginning, the search for information about an ancestor would have to begin at a grave.

Meg said...

I think it's wonderful that you're doing this for others. There is something - is the word reassuring? - about seeing the photo of a loved one's grave when you can't be there in person. Of course, a lot of my family have been cremated and scattered in odd and inaccessible places but that, too, can be reassuring.

Did you know that John Wayne is buried in an unmarked grave and they're no longer sure exactly where it is within the cemetery?

JamaGenie said...

Reassuring...yes, that would be the word, even for scattered cremains. I didn't know that about John Wayne. How could a cemetery lose track of someone like JW...or are they just saying they aren't sure? The grave might be unmarked but there would be several ways their records would show where a particular person is buried.