October is fast approaching, so it’s Spring in the southern half of the world, with Autumn (or Fall) in the north, both of which normally (excluding the crazy amount of rain that half of Australia’s had recently) are great times to get out and about cemetery visiting.
Anyway we know you don’t NEED a reason to go to a cemetery, as you’ll stop at any you see along the way anytime you’re out for a drive. But just in case … Find A Grave are having their 3rd Annual worldwide “Community Meetup” on the weekend of Friday 7 October, to Sunday 9 October.
With groups already registered in many countries around the world (including several states in Australia), it’s exciting to see that details of more headstones are going to be photographed and transcribed and therefore preserved.
Their announcement mentions the following …
We are hosting this global meetup starting on Friday, October 7– Sunday, October 9th to fulfill hundreds of thousands of photo requests still outstanding on Find A Grave, and to document those cemeteries and gravesites that are not currently on our site.
Cemeteries are incredibly valuable to family history research. Volunteers who build memorials for each grave and ensure all cemeteries are documented around the world help those who are unable to visit these cemeteries in person.
We know a lot of this is done on an individual basis, but why not take this chance to meet fellow cemetery lovers in your area? That’s why we’ve organized an entire weekend to come together as a group in your local community to meet one another while you do what you love to do.
In the past two years we had meetups in hundreds of cities and we hope to continue that success.
How to Participate
The first step is to see if your city is listed on our map 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, log into the Find A Grave Forum and join the event.
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 between Friday, October 7 to Sunday, October 9 to take photos of graves which will be uploaded to FindAGrave.com. Please be sure to ask permission before you arrive.
Once the cemetery confirms this is ok, please add your event to the global calendar.
- To do this, you will need to be a member of Find A Grave. It’s free and you can sign up here.
- Then, you need to sign up for the Community Forums, which is also free.
- If you’re just creating a login for the Find A Grave Community Forum, you will receive a confirmation email after creating your account that states your registration is pending approval. The approval email should be received within a few minutes after confirming your email address and account.
- Once you are logged into the Forums, just register for an existing event or add your own.
- If you wish to add your own, simply fill out the registration form above the map to submit your event, and we’ll add it to the global calendar within 48 hours.
What to Do at the Cemetery
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 and others have dozens or hundreds of open photo requests. 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 review this guide before heading out to the cemetery. Items include cemetery etiquette, 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.
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 by securing a photo of their ancestors grave sites (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 hashtags #FGDay and #FindAGrave!
Visit the Find A Grave Community Weekend website: http://www.ancestry.com/cs/find-a-grave-community-day
Some helpful FAQs:
- 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?
Don’t forget to share (with hastags of course) your participation in Find A Grave weekend on social media and invite others to join you! And you can follow Find A Grave on Facebook or Twitter and share which cemeteries you’ll be visiting.