We love the enthusiasm and support of the Find A Grave community. Thanks to you, we just surpassed 100 million photos on the site, which is an incredible milestone. Now, it might be hard to believe, but there are still hundreds of thousands of photo requests still outstanding. So we are going to host a global meetup to see how many more we can secure.
Cemeteries are an important part of our family history. Your work to fulfill outstanding photo requests and building memorials helps people around the world who cannot visit these cemeteries in person. We know a lot of this is done on an individual basis and we thought it would be great to try and get you together as a group in your local community to meet one another while you do what you love to do.
While we started with a few locations in the USA, we hope to inspire meetups all around the world and expect this list to grow quite large over the coming weeks. These events are all volunteer run and are easy to set up. We hope you will be inspired to host an event in your local town and add it to the list below.
How to Participate
If you would like to participate, the first step is to see if your city is listed. If it is, click on name of the city to see the cemetery (or if the city is large, a list of cemeteries) that will be hosting the event. If you find a cemetery you want to help with, simply click the RSVP button on the right of the screen. Meetup will ask you to sign up with an email address or you can connect via Facebook, whichever is easiest for you. It will also give you the option to share this event on the social web to let your friends know about it and we hope you do — the more, the merrier!
If your city is not located in this list, we encourage you to contact a cemetery near you and ask them if it would be alright if you visited on Saturday, October 18th to take photos of graves that will be uploaded to FindAGrave.com. Please be sure to ask permission before you arrive.
Once the cemetery confirms this is ok, please go to our Meetup page and enter in your city and state, province or country. Meetup will try to find it on a map. Please make sure if they select a city for you that it is actually your city. When we first entered ‘Saint Louis’, it actually linked us to Saint Louis, France, not Missouri. (As you might assume, there is a little bit of difference between the two cities.) So we had to delete the bad entry and start over, this time spelling out Missouri and adding USA. It found the right city when we did that. If you make a mistake and need help, just shoot us an email to social [at] ancestry [dot] com and we’ll be happy to take care of it!
Setting Up an Event
In this example we are going to set up an event in Cleveland, Ohio (USA). First we entered the location we wanted (“Cleveland, OH”) and hit enter. It will show up in the list of meetups. Click on the Cleveland link, which will take you to the local community page. You will add some information to let Find A Grave volunteers in the area know you are interested in participating and hopefully, they will sign up to join you!
If you are the first person to schedule an event in your city, you will click on the blue “Got one?” link under the “Needs a location” section. Once you fill out the details for your event, the next person who clicks on ‘Cleveland, OH’ will see it on this page and can then choose to join you at your cemetery of choice, or they can schedule their own. If they wish to schedule their own, they would click on “Schedule A New Meetup.”
When you are ready to build out your community page, follow these steps:
- Select the start time. We have preselected a start time of 10am, but you are welcome to change that to whatever works best for you. If you wish to change the time, hover over the date/time area and a blue “Change” box will show. Click that and make the edits needed.
- Under “Suggest a place” are two fields. The first one is where you will list the name of the cemetery. The second one is for the street address, city, state/province and country. Meetup will try to find the address you added on a map and will give you the option to click what they found to ensure it populates on the map correctly.
- There is a blue “Add Details” box and we encourage you to personal this with anything unique about the cemetery, an area you would like to focus on, how many photo requests are outstanding, any special requests from the cemetery, etc.
- Then leave a comment if you so wish
- Lastly, make sure you RSVP for the event. Meetup will ask you to sign up with an email address or you can connect via Facebook, whichever is easiest for you. It will also give you the option to share this event on the social web to let your friends know about it.
What to Do on October 18th
To ensure a successful day, we encourage you to look up the cemetery you will be visiting and go through the list of the outstanding photo requests. Some cemeteries have one, others have hundreds. Then work with cemetery staff a week or two before the day of the event to locate the graves you are wishing to photograph on a map. Most offices are more than happy to look up the name and provide the section and plot number for each request. Just please keep in mind asking them to do 100 might be taxing on their staff. Let them know how many you are trying to fulfill and then let them advise what makes the most sense based on their own resources.
We have put together a page of resources for you here. Be sure to go through that before the event. Items include a cemetery etiquette guide, a link to download the Find a Grave mobile app where you can batch upload photos (sorry, iOS only right now) and where you can easily search for your local cemetery.
Ancestry and Find A Grave staff members will be attending a select number of events and we’ll post an update on exact locations in the next week or two. Our hope is to be able to meet many of you in person, and that you have the opportunity to meet others in the community who share your love of cemeteries and giving back.
Make a day of it. Bring the family out. Meet other volunteers. Get to know your local cemetery staff a little bit better. Help those who cannot get to the cemetery in person secure a photo of their ancestors grave site (with or without the marker).
Then upload all the photos you take to FindAGrave.com. If you are fulfilling a specific photo request for someone, you can go to the main cemetery page (this is the page for the cemetery that has the total number of records, photos of the cemetery, a map, etc.) and then click on “# photo requests”. Scroll down until you find the right person and then click on the ‘fulfill’ link on the right. You can upload the photo there and they will be notified you have done them a great service. And if you decide to share any of this on the social web (events, photos, videos, etc) please use the hashtags #FGDay and #FindAGrave if you can!
Here are some other FAQs you may find helpful:
- What is a photo volunteer?
- How do I add a photo of the cemetery?
- What information should I include from a headstone?
- How do I clean a headstone or grave marker?
- Are there any suggestions in order to take a photo of a headstone that is hard to read?
- What if the individual photo request cannot be fulfilled?
- What if there is no headstone?
If you plan on joining us, let us know in the comments below where you will be and make sure to sign up on the Meetup site above.
Hope to see you out there!