A couple times a week, I have people asking me for an easy way to find relatives that have died.
In genealogy, there are no guaranteed paths in that can be repeated every time because every situation is different. It appears using the U. S. Census seems to be the first & most popular method in beginning ancestral research, but many people seem to hit a brick wall.
Nevertheless, one possible solution may be only a click away. Again this is not a guarantee but a possible solution.
The answer: Find A Grave.
Find A Grave is a growing database that documents burial plots in cemeteries. This database can (but not always) provide:
- Birth, Marriage & Death Dates
- Places of Birth & of Death
- Cemetery Pictures
- Deceased Pictures
- Tombstone Pictures
- Links to Parents
- Links to Spouse
- Links to Children
Additionally, there is a link to someone who is maintaining the site. This person may or may not be a distant family member. I have taken the chance and emailed them. Sometimes they just maintain the page. Sometimes, I hit pay dirt; they are distant family that has information I needed to break down brick walls. Therefore, this database can provide links to other people in your extended family!
Here are a few of my pages I maintain. You can also click on the highlighted links.
Let’s check out my Anderson Ozark Family for an example. The following family members are all in the Mammoth Cemetery in Mammoth, Ozark County, Missouri.
The first page shot is my Grandfather Mack Anderson. His wife and my Grandmother, Eunice McNeil Anderson and their children are also highlighted.
The great advantages on this page are links to his parents, my Great Grandfather & Grandmother, Crawford Anderson & Dula Sims Anderson. I’ll click on Crawford Anderson.
One extra benefit to these pages sometimes are long lost pictures. For example, there are pictures of Crawford & Dula. From Crawford’s page there are links to my Great, Great Grandparents Garland Anderson & Louisiana “Lucy” Hawkins Anderson.
From Garland Andersons site, I can click on my Great, Great, Great Grandfather, William James “Short Billy” Anderson. Automatically, we are transported to the Anderson Cemetery outside of Gainesboro, Jackson County, Tennessee.
I have also added a flower/memorial to this site. I have clicked on these links. Many times I have clicked on these links and found family I didn’t know existed. From here I can click on my Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather, Thomas Shirley Anderson.
In only 5 short clicks, I have discovered my Ozark Family were pioneers of Tennessee that came from Cumberland County, Virginia. This creates a beautiful trail for me to follow in researching my family tree.
This is only an example when genealogists are proactive and leave a good trail for future generations to follow. If you have not used Find A Grave, I challenge you to get involved. If you see corrections, pictures, or additions that need to be made, join the community and lend a hand.
Additionally, there is also another cemetery/gravestone source that is growing in Arkansas called the Arkansas Gravestones Project.
This is a group of volunteers who are aggressively focused on documenting every grave in Arkansas. If you have lost ancestors in Arkansas, this also might be an alternative, but it does not provide the links like Find A Grave.
This is only one facet in my family genealogy in creating the patchwork of our Ozarks’ History.