We’re bringing Find A Grave Community Day back!

Last year was an amazing success thanks to you, our incredible volunteers, who visited over 100 cemeteries and contributed more than 250,000 photos on the days leading up to, and on, Find A Grave Community Day 2014.

In hopes of beating the 2014 record, we are hosting this global meetup again on Saturday, October 17th to fulfill hundreds of thousands of photo requests still outstanding on Find A Grave.

We all know how important cemeteries are to our family history research. 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 organize a single day to come together as a group in your local community to meet one another while you do what you love to do.

BostonCemetery

Last year we had meetups in 100 cities, and we hope to expand even further this year. Please note, 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 on our Facebook events page, here. 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 ‘Join’ button on the right of the screen, just below the event cover image.

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 – all are welcome!

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 17th 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 Google Doc and provide your Find A Grave Day meetup location including city and state, province or country, the time of your meetup, and Find A Grave cemetery URL.

We will upload new meetup locations on our Facebook events page each day so check back frequently.

1477-anc-15-find-a-grave-community-day-social-campaign-social-facebook

What to Do on Saturday, October 17th

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 (iOS and Android compatible) 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 across the globe 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:

If you plan on joining us, let us know in the comments below where you will be and make sure to either RSVP for an existing event by checking our Facebook page for events here or registering your event so others can join by completing this quick form.

Hope to see you out there!

 

Jessica Latinović

Jessica serves as U.S. Social Media Manager for Ancestry.

46 Comments

  1. Jim Davis

    It’s a shame that everyone assumes that everyone else is on Facebook. It’s a shame you haven’t provided any alternative way for people to RSVP to events.

  2. Jack Parker

    A list of cemeteries to be covered should be made available and room allowed for commentary – we have a very active FaG community and many of our cemeteries have been completely photographed. It would be a shame for new volunteers to attempt to satisfy photo requests in completed cemeteries. At the same time, there are ongoing efforts where volunteers would be most welcome.

  3. Jessica Murray

    Jack, Great feedback, thank you. By requiring volunteers to provide the Find A Grave cemetery URL, we expect people will determine which cemeteries are in greatest need of photo requests. If we receive any event submissions which have 100% of the cemetery photographed, we will absolutely encourage volunteers to select a nearby location which may benefit from their help more.

    Jim & BP, Last year we received a lot of feedback that using the Meetup site to organize these global events was cumbersome and required users to create a new account on a site they were unfamiliar with. Based on that feedback, we found since so many of our fearless volunteers are actively using Facebook, we would try to make this work better for them. We understand we won’t be able to please everyone. Fortunately, you can still view all the community events on the Find A Grave events page on Facebook and click on the events to see full details, all without being required to log into a Facebook account. Although you may not be able to ‘RSVP,’ you can still join the event on the day-of. To see all the events visit: https://www.facebook.com/FindAGrave/events Thank you for your support of the Find A Grave community!

  4. FLUFFY

    Nice idea. I live in Sarasota County, Florida and checked several cemeteries. I will be in town on Friday and look for graves in this one cemetery. There may not be a headstone, as these men were killed in the Vietnam war. I don’t have facebook, so if I can locate the grave, I will just upload the photos.

  5. Brenda Veazey

    There are many of our family (and parent’s friends) that have passed on and are NOT on Find a Grave…including my father and his parents. Can we submit pictures and the information on that day as well?

  6. Angel Jacoby

    I clicked the FB events page, but there are only 3 cities listed – Colma, CA; San Diegop, CA; & Springlake, NC. Is that really all there will be?

  7. Jessica Murray

    Angel, No, there will be hundreds more. Since we’re asking for volunteers to submit their locations via the Google Doc link above, we’re receiving many submissions and we’re uploading the event listing throughout the day on the Find A Grave Facebook events page so stay tuned for MANY more to come!

  8. Robin

    “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.” Sorry, I can’t stop laughing!

  9. Jessica Murray

    Robin, We can all hope every cemetery is as organized and has the local staff resources to help with this but realize this isn’t a reality for all cemeteries. We want to encourage first time gravers to get acquainted with navigating cemeteries before the day-of so they aren’t completely lost. If you have tips to offer, we’d encourage you to share them so others can learn from more seasoned gravers.

  10. SeaBerg

    Am not on facebook either, but am glad when clicking the link I can see the cemeteries so far signed up. Am not understanding why all the info can not be listed on Find A Grave since that is the site we are all on? Must be a reason.

  11. Sherri

    The cemetery my grandparents here are in refuse to give locations out of Graves. In the beginning I was doing requests and they gave me locations but then they decided they didn’t have the time and won’t give out any info. I even asked them if I could organize their lists, was told no. This is South Park Cemetery on 35 in Pearland, Texas. The place is huge and I have walked all of it looking for Graves for requests.

  12. Dorry

    Hi, I noticed you are having a Find A Grave Global Meet Up on October 17, 2015. It is a Saturday. Some cemeteries including Jewish cemeteries are closed that day.

  13. Steve

    I use Facebook to keep up with a limited number of friends and relatives, and do not and will not use it for any other purpose. The functions that you describe should be mirrored on your own website.

  14. Steve

    Sherri in Pearland Texas. Here is my suggestion. Ask the person requesting the photograph from that cemetery if they can provide information from the “interment rights” paperwork which somebody in the family probably still has. Or, do they remember significant landmarks from prior visits? That might help. So would teaming up with others, photographing the headstones that are not photographed and then listing them on a spreadsheet with individual columns for last name, first name, middle name, month of birth, day of birth, year of birth, month of death, day of death, year of death – as many of these columns as you can populate. This will be a huge task, but if you and others divide up the cemetery into sections, take the photographs and then prepare individual spread sheets, these can be merged. Then upload them all!

    that will catch up the past for graves that are marked. If you had a group you could take turns visiting the cemetery twice a week to find new interments.

    Just my idea, do with it what you will. Shame that the funeral home that now owns the cemetery is doing this. Perhaps you should advise others to avoid using them.

  15. Kristie Wells

    @Seaberg and @Steve: We would love to have these types of meetups featured on the Find a Grave website, but until that happens, Facebook was the next best platform to ensure community members could connect with one another directly.

  16. Kristie Wells

    @Dorry: We have been advised that some Jewish cemeteries are open on a Saturday, however, if the ones nearest you are not, then we would recommend you host a meetup on the Friday before or the Sunday after. Either is fine, the goal for us is to make sure others in the area know when you will be at the cemetery and we can help connect you all.

  17. Rick Foster

    Incidentally right across the Street form woodland is St. Johns and 1/4 mile East is St Josephs Catholic Cemetery’s. And both have a total of 180 requests. And I’m sure the Woodland Cemetery Association will be there to greet everyone,

  18. Jayne Davis

    what day is this event scheduled for 2016? The Franklin County Genealogical & Historical Society in Columbus, OH are working on our calendar for next year and want to include this event.

  19. Jessica Murray

    @Jayne We have not selected which weekend this event will be hosted in 2016 but we can assume it will be approximately the same weekend next year.

  20. Margaret

    Will I be able to access these photos on another day? i will be traveling on that day and won’t be able to actively participate. I am in the middle of trying to find photos of all the gravestones of all past relatives.

  21. Jessica, you’re doing a very nice job responding to all of these comments. Thank you for monitoring and for listening to all the complaints. We are excited to participate for the first time; whether we gain any photos or not, it’s a great way to get the word out about what we do at our historic cemetery in Portland, Maine!

  22. Jessica Murray

    @Margaret, You will be able to access the photos uploaded to Find A Grave immediate and if you have any photo requests that are fulfilled within Find A Grave, you will receive an email notification.

    @Holly, Thank you for the nice comment and we can’t wait to see your Find A Grave day photo contributions from your local cemetery. P.S. I LOVE Portland (and all of New England), have you been to Maxwell’s Pottery? One of my all-time favorite shops!

  23. Fran C.

    Sherri, in Pearland: I live in Deer Park & would be happy to help you with South Park. I’m retired and have extra time.

  24. Melissa

    Hi. On Sept 30 John posted that the links in the FAQ section do not work. And I am here to repeat none of the links work (Oct. 2).

    I’d especially like information on the proper cleaning as well as photography tips, if you don’t have time to fix all of the links.

  25. Jeanne Mease

    If we have previously taken photos not on Find a Grave, would you like those uploaded? And I hope the weather cooperates. (I certainly would not want to go out on a day like today as it is extremely windy and cold).

  26. Minnie HILLIS REAGOR

    I have already photographed all but the newest markers at Del Rose Cemetery, Vidor, Orange County, Texas, during the past 5 years, and established a database for the info…. including info on some of the unmarked graves, or name only markers. Still a work in progress, but planning to upload photos etc. to Find-A-Grave, time permitting!

  27. Jennifer

    To those who dislike/not on Facebook. Sometimes it is cumbersome to learn something new. Please just give it a try or ask a friend/family member for help. They will be more than happy. It’s simpler than you think. There are many other ways to contribute as well; not just on Facebook.

  28. Lisa

    News Alert: We are not all on Facebook. Many of us simply do not want to be on Facebook. For many of us, the world does not revolve around FB. It is not “too difficult” to sign up as some have suggested, we simply have no desire to be on it.

  29. Joann

    I was surprised to find that the only cemetery remotely near my home is charging $10 for this!! It doesn’t look like any other place is doing that. Disappointed.

  30. Crystal

    Hey, Ancestry! I bet there are more people than you realize who are NOT on Facebook. Why do you make assumptions like that? It isn’t due to our not being able to. It’s that we just don’t want to. Don’t shut us out.

  31. Connie

    I want to tell those that are not on Facebook that it’s also a shame that they are not on Facebook. You can do many other things beside gossip or silly stuff. Making friends with others searching for others in your family lines or finding clues in areas that you don’t live can be very exciting. It’s not always what you think. Some of you are really too quick to judge. but wow, you sound really rude so maybe we don’t want you after all.

  32. wade davis

    I find it odd you are having an event at Woodland Cemetery, Cleveland OH, with only “one” photo request. We have 531 requests at Woodland, Dayton, OH. Help!

    • Kristie Wells

      @Wade: These events are 100% volunteer run and we are posting event notices where people have advised they will be. We would love to get a group together at Woodland, so if you could provide some basic information here: http://ancstry.me/1NPH8i5, we would be happy to add an event for this and hopefully try to rally more volunteers in the area.

  33. wade davis

    Kristie: Thanks for the reply and link. Unfortunately, I am not the person to coordinate this event. I just had this crazy thought it would be nice to get the backlog of requests down to a reasonable number. My efforts are more suited to taking photos than social events.

  34. Rick Foster

    In response to you question Wade and Kristie right across the street is St Johns with over 100 and 1/4 mile east is st Joseph’s with over 70 requests. And that will be a challenge to pros because there is a general map of both. Please contact Calvary Cemetery for the plot numbers. I will assist members in both cemetery’s centrally at Woodland.

  35. Rick Foster

    Kristy Even though it may be too late Woodland in Dayton you can shoot for 2016. Or you can coordinate with a few local members and and still do a meet there. Just be sure an coordinate with the cemetery first. You still have time! What I did is scroll through the photos done and pulled the photographers. See if they are local and send them a message.

  36. Kathie Friesen

    Are new Cemeteries that have been added by myself but with no photos, included in this Global Community blitz.

  37. Jessica Murray

    @Kathie, Any cemetery that is listed in Find A Grave that has unfulfilled photo requests can be included. Simply call the cemetery in advance to receive permission before submitting the form so we can include it in our list of volunteer events. Thank you in advance for your participation and hope you have a wonderful Find A Grave Day!

  38. Samme Templin

    When will the result of this great day be posted for all to see??? Sure who we beat last years record.

Comments are closed.