It sounds morbid, I’m sure.
But it’s not — honest.
Have any of you been to or heard of the website Find A Grave? I’ve known about it for a long time, but it always seemed like a spot where one could go to see where famous people were buried etc. I even knew that “regular” people were listed on there, but I never dug much into the site. I had seen something several years ago about photo requests, but never thought much about it.
Then I was reading a recent entry by fellow geocacher Jim on his blog Thanks for the Hide. He noted that people can request photos and other people can fill those requests. It’s almost like a different type of scavenger hunt. Just this time, you are helping others with their genealogy research or someone who is looking to see a loved ones burial spot and headstone.
Now, let’s remember that I’m currently jobless, so I have some time on my hands. I spend quite a bit of time searching, applying for and seeking jobs. But that just can’t be for 10 hours a day. So I need to get out and do something so I don’t go stir crazy. Geocaching is fun, but there’s not a lot locally I don’t have. I love to go hiking and taking photos, but sometimes going on the same trails and such gets a little boring. Disc golf, as most of you know, is another thing I’ve been into, but there aren’t many courses too close by.
So, why not do something to help someone else?
I signed up for the website and got peeking around a little bit. It turns out that the main cemetery in my town had nearly 20 requests for photos. That sounded interesting. But, from there I had to figure out how the heck to find these graves.
Woodland Cemetery in Delhi is on several rolling hills and it’s not small.
So, what to do?
The key was finding the cemetery website. From there, I went to a section that shows a database of the people buried in the older section of the cemetery. Most of the people I would be looking for were buried in that section. Then it required talking to a couple of people on the board and finding a map of the old section.
Well, when they numbered sections and plots years ago, there wasn’t any organizational thoughts behind the number process. For example, you could have sections 1-20 in one spot, 21 on the opposite end of the cemetery and 22 back near 1-20.
I had a printout of the map in a smaller version, where you couldn’t see the numbers. So after we looked at the bigger map and all, it was just plotting the same spots.
Let me tell you this, too — when this map was made, the roads were slightly different than they are today it seems.
Still, after a couple of hours of walking around the cemetery, we had found the majority of the grave sites people were looking for. I have posted the photos on the website for 14 people, so hopefully it will help them with their genealogy research.
I’m not sure about the remaining people who have requests, but I’ll see what I can do. Until then, I have looked at many area cemeteries and I think I am going to start going through some of them and seeing if I can find the graves that people are working for.
The hardest part of going to different cemeteries will be trying to find where the people are buried without having to look at every single headstone. Some places are large, so it makes it harder. Further, some of the headstones are wearing down and if you don’t know the area where you need to look, you might be in a situation where you overlook the headstone.
But, I’ll be up for the challenge.
After all, it’s quite interesting going through some of these cemeteries and looking at the headstones from long ago. There’s a lot of history in these places and sometimes it gets forgotten.
Now, I’ll get the chance to uncover some things as well as help some people in their quest to see a headstone.
Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog [at] gmail.com.