Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Weekly Genealogy Blogging Prompt #3

Participate in weekly blog themes: Tombstone Tuesday, Wordless Wednesday, etc. Many genealogy bloggers post photos of grave stones on Tombstone Tuesday or a photo worth 1,000 silent words on Wordless Wednesday. Participate in these informal events or invent your own.

A couple posts ago I wrote an article about Fannie Harris. You may remember, she was the one with the alligators in her picture. Well, today I want to write a little bit about her sister, my wife's 2nd great grandmother, Willie Mae Harris.

The gravestone to the right is about the only real record we have of her. What is so special about this picture is that everyone has told us that she was buried in an unmarked grave and there was no headstone. Well, I guess this picture proves them wrong.

The inscription states "Willie Harris wife of Andrew J Phares, born Nov 17 1862, died Dec 22 1909". This gravestone is located at Evergreen Cemetery in Jacksonville, Florida.

I really enjoy visiting cemeteries. Each time I go to a cemetery to find the resting place of my ancestors I try to take pictures of as many headstones as possible. There are two reasons for this. First, many of the cemeteries I visit are small town cemeteries and eventually you may find that a large number of the people located there are related. If you only took pictures of the stones marking the relatives you knew at the time you visited you would have to return later to get the ones you missed. The second reason is that these pictures may be useful to people who do not live in the area and would not be able to easily travel to gather this information. I try to submit all the photos that I take to various databases on the internet.

Since this post is focusing on tombstones I thought I would add a discussion of where you can find virtual graveyards online.

One of my favorite cemetery websites is Find-A-Grave (http://www.findagrave.com/). This site has over 29 million grave records indexed by name, location and cemetery. Each of these records is contributed by a volunteer who has visited the gravesites. I have provided hundreds of photographs for the area of Auglaize and Mercer County, Ohio. All of the pictures that are provided have to be reduced in size to less than 250K so you will have to process your pictures before you send them in.

Another site that I have enjoyed using in the past is the Genealogy.com Virtual Cemetery (http://genealogy.com/VG/vcem_search.html). I used to use this site quite a bit in the past but have not used it much since Ancestry bought them out.

Interment.net (http://www.interment.net/) contains thousands of transcriptions of cemetery records and tombstone inscriptions, from cemeteries in the USA, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries.

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs maintains the National Veterans Gravesite Locator database (http://gravelocator.cem.va.gov/j2ee/servlet/NGL_v1). This site allows you to search for burial locations of veterans and their family members in VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, various other military and Department of Interior cemeteries, and for veterans buried in private cemeteries when the grave is marked with a government grave marker. However, the site does not have information available for burials prior to 1997.

The American Battle Monuments Commission (http://www.abmc.gov/home.php) is another site that lists the graves of veterans. However, this site lists those that were interred outside the US or those that were listed as missing in action. The site has several databases pertaining to specific conflicts. These searchable databases are World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Mexican War, Civil War, and the Spanish-American War.

D'addezio.com provides the United States Cemeteries Database (http://daddezio.com/cemetery/junction/index.html). This site links to other websites that have indexes of individual cemeteries. You can search a list of cemeteries for each state to see if the one you are looking for is online.

Many states have their own gravesite webpages. The one I use most often is the Ohio Gravestone Project (http://ohiogravestones.org/). This site allows you to view cemeteries by county and provides images of the gravestones that have been contributed.

There are many more websites that provide easy access to graveyard information. Try a few of the ones that I mentioned and see if you can find some of your own and make sure to contribute the headstones that you have collected. Happy hunting.

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