Tombstone Tuesday: Being a Find a Grave Volunteer

I have used Find a Grave a few times to get pictures of my ancestors’ gravestones and have been so grateful for the kindness of other genealogists out there.

I thought that I should pay it forward and volunteer to take some pics for other people also.

What I didn’t think about was the fact that I live in a city, not a rural area.  And there are a lot of people buried here.

After a few weeks on the list, I think that there are at least 40 requests in one cemetery alone.  It’s overwhelming.  It happens to be a large cemetery – too large for me to just wander around looking for random names.

I am still going to try to help at least a few of the people who have asked.  I will carve out a few hours of time and stop by the cemetery office to see if they have a listing and a map.  It’s going to be quite the job though!!!

Are you a Find a Grave volunteer?  Do you get many requests?


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  • Cherie Cayemberg - February 21, 2012 - 5:13 am

    In the bigger cemeteries I always look for the office. They should be willing to help you especially if you let them know that you’re doing this so relatives that are too far away to visit in person can then visit virtually. Good luck, Jen!ReplyCancel

  • Carol - February 21, 2012 - 8:25 am

    You may not be the only volunteer getting these requests. You do not have to claim the requests until you are ready, therefore removing the panic from your horizon. You do not have to register as a volunteer with a specific zip code to be a volunteer, you can still claim requests from that specific cemetery. Some cemetery offices are more “cooperative” than others, some take huge offence if they hear you are working to put these photos online, that is just a heads up for you. I have even heard of some offices charging outrageous amounts of $$ to look up a record, like $25.00 and up EACH record. Proceed cautiously and have fun.ReplyCancel

    • Jen - February 21, 2012 - 3:15 pm

      Carol, I had never heard of cemeteries charging – that’s crazy!! I tried the cemetery office once and it was closed (when the hours clearly stated it was open). I’ll have to try again another day. I do realize that other volunteers are probably getting these requests, but I don’t think that anyone is filling them (I see some from 3 years ago on there that haven’t been filled yet). I’m not giving up yet!! :)ReplyCancel

  • Randall Dickerson - February 21, 2012 - 10:10 pm

    I’m a Find-A-Grave volunteer also. I’ve filled a few requests and have noticed larger numbers of requests coming in for certain cemeteries.

    What I am planning to do is a “photo-survey” of several cemeteries. I’ll start on one row of stones and walk the row, photographing each stone in sequence. I think that doing a section of the cemetery at a time, I can photograph the entire cemetery in a few visits.

    Then, when a request comes in, I’ll look through the photos to see if I have a match and post it. Maybe in time I can post all the photos on find-a-grave.

    I’ve also found a way to automatically match my handheld GPS with the digital camera to mark the location of each photo.ReplyCancel

    • Jen - February 22, 2012 - 12:29 am

      Randall – good idea!! I might just do that. I think it might take me less time to just walk along and take pictures than the searching through the whole cemetery for one or two at a time.ReplyCancel

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