Saturday, May 18, 2013

Find-a-Grave and giving back

Hey! So, a lot to write about. Today I went to the 3S Genealogy Symposium hosted by the Friench Simpson Memorial Library in Hallettsville, TX.

There were some excellent speakers, and I learned a lot. Enough for several blog posts.

During the break, I went to the Hallettsville City Cemetery. I have some collateral lines who ended up in the area, and was interested in checking it out. While there, the thought crossed my mind, "Hey! I wonder if Find-a-Grave could use some photos from this cemetery?"

On my android phone, I searched for "Halletsville City Cemetery" on Find-a-Grave's website. I saw on the right hand side of the page that there were some 30-some odd "photo requests." I scanned the requests, paying special attention to the Czech names, which for some reason stick in my head a lot easier than Anglo or German names. Weird.

I spent the next 40 minutes searching the cemetery for those names. I also took photos of interesting graves.

My phone is set up to automatically upload my photos to google plus, on a private setting. Basically, it's a way for me to save my photos without doing any work whatsoever.

At home, I got on my computer, and found the Hallettsville City Cemetery. The first thing I realized was that I would need a username and password to be able to upload photos.

I quickly signed up for that  Receiving the email from them took literally about 1 second. I confirmed my email address, and was able to log in, find the Hallettsville City Cemetery again, and then on the right side look at those photo requests.

The way the site is set up makes adding photos to a "memorial page" super easy. I was able to fulfill two of the photo requests, and uploaded about 10 other photos, 4 or so of which had not yet been entered into the cemetery's database. I was quickly able to add a new memorial page for these people, using the data directly from their headstone. It was interesting that it was mainly Czech families who had not been added to the database - surnames like Drost, Kallus and Pustejovsky.

I felt really happy about doing this because I use this website all the time, and now I have given back to some poor researcher without the capability of traveling to the grave site to actually "see" their ancestor's grave. It was especially fun to fulfill the photo requests for names that I know are being researched.

I would challenge anybody who has a bit of free time to check out Find-a-Grave for the cemeteries local to you. Some have been completely photographed, others partially, and some not at all. Uploading photos and adding memorial pages to the site was fun, easy, and rewarding.

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