I’m surprised that I haven’t written before about Find A Grave. When I first discovered the website about 10 years ago there weren’t very many records on the website. Currently there are grave records for 62 million people on the website. Some of the records have photos of the tombstones of the person but I don’t have any good idea of of the percentage of people with gravestone photos.
Anyone can contribute a new record but there are some that have contributed many records, There are at least 50 people that contributed around 100,000 gravestone records. If you know where someone is buried, you can contribute dates and also add a tombstone photo or even add a photo of the person. You also can add a short biography of a person. If you add members of a family you then can link them together so it will show spouses and children. If a person in your family is already on the website then you can’t edit that record. Only the person that initiated the record can edit the record. If you think that a record is incorrect you can send a message to the person that owns the record and ask them to make changes. Or you could also ask that the gravestone record be transferred over to you.
When searching for a person you can enter as little as just the first two letters of the surname. For common names you should enter a country, state and county. You could also search for a cemetery and you will get a list of cemeteries. A good share of the cemeteries have a map showing where the cemetery is located so you visit the cemetery.
One of the things that I like is that when you find a person, you can find other people by the surname in the same cemetery, or other cemeteries in the town, county or state. That is great way to find relatives buried in nearby cemeteries.
Let me tell you a personal story. I searched Find A Grave for my ancestors but didn’t find many of them. I did find a listing for my 4th great grandfather Adonijah Ford. I knew that he was buried in the Maple Lawn Cemetery in Akron, NY. I had visited his grave in 2001. There was a shaft about a foot on each side and about 5 foot tall. Adonijah had died in 1820 and his wife, Martha Holcomb died in 1846. They were on one side of the shaft and their son Calvin and his wife, Susan, were on another side. I know that those kind of tombstones didn’t come into use until the late 1800s. Laying flat on the ground next to the shaft was another tombstone for Martha. This one was 3 foot tall, two foot wide and about 2 inches thick. That is an old tombstone. But there wasn’t an old tombstone for Adonijah. I figured that it had been destroyed after so many years. Then when I searched for Adonijah on Find A Grave and up popped someone with the same name and dates but in the Jewett Heights Cemetery in Jewett, Greene County, NY. There was also a photo of his tombstone and it looks like a tombstone from 1820. Also listed as being buried in the Jewett Heights Cemetery was Adonijah’s wife Martha but there wasn’t any tombstone photo. Adonijah had showed in the 1820 census as living in Lexington, NY which is the Town next to Jewett. So I am fairly sure that Adonijah died in Lexington and was buried there. Then his widow moved west to Akron, NY with her son Calvin where she died. Before or at the time of death of Calvin, the shaft in Maple lawn Cemetery was put up and to honor his parents he put their dates on the shaft. The Find A Grave listing for Adonijah also says he is a Reverend. That is not true. He was an Elder of the Church but was never ordained. So not all information on Find A Grave (or any other website) is correct. The best listings are those with readable tombstones.