Friday, April 26, 2013

National Volunteer Week-Thanks Find a Grave Volunteers!

   In a post from Jen Baldwin at Ancestral Breezes  I learned that it was National Volunteer Week. Jen suggested that we remember to thank those that have helped us on our genealogy journey.

 I want to thank all the many who volunteer at Find A Grave.  For those who may not be familiar with the site, is a virtual cemetery where volunteers collect and add information from cemeteries from around the world.
 It is a free site and easy to search.

 In the last few months I have been the recipient of  some of the fine work that these volunteers do.

 I was able to find out where my Third Great Grandparents, William A. and Matilda Martin were buried from a volunteer who photographed and made memorial pages for those buried in Bethesda Presbyterian Cemetery, Statesville, Iredell County, NC.
  All I had was a clue that they may have been buried in Statesville, NC.
 A search on Find A Grave led me right to them.
 Now I not only have where my Marin's are buried but where several other of the family members are buried  as well, including their daughter, my Great Great Grandmother Ellen Caroline Martin Early.
 The only information I had on Ellen Caroline Martin Early was that " it was thought that burial would take place in Statesville".
From the burials recorded on Find A Grave from this cemetery I learned that my Great Grandfather, Jubal Ransom Early, had been married before he married my Great Grandmother, Emma Ruth Baker, and had at least one child from that marriage.

Find A Grave Memorial
William A. Martin
Bethesda Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Statesville, Iredell, NC

 The Memorial pages for this family and Memorials for other family lines I have found on this great website were graciously transferred over to me by those that had been maintaining them.
 I have made Memorial Pages for my family members who did not have one. In doing so I have come across wonderful photo volunteers.
 I now have pictures of many headstones that I did not have before.

One volunteer even was brave enough to patiently explain the importance of photographing headstones to a family who owned property where some of my family are buried. I have heard others have tried to get onto the private property that the Dargan Family Cemetery is on.Several have been told they could not have entrance in order to take pictures of the remaining headstones. I don't know what this particular volunteer did or what changed, but he was able to get the owners to let him gain access to the small cemetery. The photo's are now added to the Memorials on Find A Grave!

William Vaughn 1764-1857
Dargan Family Cemetery, Sumter, SC
Picture Courtesy Michael Dillingham,  FAG

 I have many similar stories of great volunteers who have helped me on Find A Grave.  From traveling many miles, taking pictures, transferring Memorials, photographing and making Memorials for whole cemeteries, to checking the cemetery office for me for available records, these are incredible people who are a true help to those of us who can't always travel to where our ancestors are buried.

  Now I want to pay if forward. I have signed up on Find A Grave to be a volunteer photographer for the cemeteries in my community.

 Thanks so much Find A Grave Volunteers and thanks Jen for making me aware of National Volunteer Month!

© Cheri Hudson Passey


  1. Cheri, thank you so much for writing this! A great post, and truly, a much needed recognition for those hard at work on FAG. I know people that just do cemetery photos; they don't work on anything else genealogy related, and they deserve just as much attention as anyone else. Glad to hear someone was able to get into that private cemetery, too! How wonderful that persistence finally won the day in order to digitally preserve those stones.
    Thank you so much for "paying it forward" with me! ~ Jen

    1. Jen, I have had this on my mind to do for a while. Thanks for your post. It was the push I needed!

  2. You are very generous to sign up for Find A Grave, and I know how busy your life is. Recently I have been realizing that I, too, have benefited from Find A Grave because their recently submitted work is now showing up on as I have been working to verify peeps on my family tree. Names have been attached to Find A Grave pictures, where there were no names before -- those must be the new volunteers.

    And it is doubly generous of you to create a post thanking these volunteers. Those pictures are so useful and tell us so much!

  3. Nice post, Cheri! I live in a small community and after I kept driving past the little farm cemeteries, I started stopping and wandering. Then I ended up photographing 3 whole cemeteries (about 2,500 photos). It was very rewarding, and it's nice to know they've helped others.

  4. Sally that was a lot of work and I am sure appreciated by so many!
    Thank you for reading and Thank You for photographing the cemeteries!

  5. I find that being a Find A Grave member is very rewarding. It is wonderful knowing that I can help other genealogists. It is also a healthy process, getting out in the fresh air and walking country cemeteries.

    1. Glad to hear it Colleen. I am waiting for my first picture request. Thanks so much for stopping by.