Find A Grave Memorials can help those researching in your footsteps. Be sure they contain more than search just the birth and death dates. Enhance memorials by going the extra mile to research and adding:
- links to family members on Find A Grave
- death certificates and obituaries
- cemetery descriptions
Link family members on Find A Grave
The memorial for each person has a link entitled “Link family members.” Use this feature to connect the spouse and parents who also have memorials on Find A Grave, It does not matter if these family members are not in the same cemetery. All you need is the memorial number to link them. For example, follow the link to Jane's child, Lula, on Find A Grave here. Notice that different cemeteries are represented
When someone discovers their ancestor on Find A Grave, they will also see any parents, spouses, or siblings in the family group that you have linked to them. This makes it easier to tell which family members do not have a memorial.
It would also be helpful to search through other existing memorials in the same or nearby cemetery to see who may be related. Never assume that the memorials for a particular cemetery is complete. People without a grave marker or that were born prior to recorded deaths may have been overlooked.
Add death certificates or obituaries
If you have the death certificate or obituary, upload it to the memorial. Be sure to include the source so that the person following behind you will know how to access to further their own research. A person not related to Lula Johnson Vance, added an obituary online here.
In many cases the information on the death certificate or in the obituary is incomplete. The two records compliment each other in that sometimes what was left out of the death certificate might be included on the obituary or vice versa. The death certificate may contain inaccurate information whereas people may have been more careful to give correct details on the obituary. Examples of common details that obituaries help clarify are:
- full name of deceased
- name of parents or spouse
- place of burial
If you create a memorial for a person who died before death certificates were originally recorded, check for a newspaper obituary.
Any biographical details that you can supply can help others learn more when they discover the memorial. Some may have a spouse or parents not listed on Find A Grave so you cannot link them. Here are other types of information that you mat include in the bio:
- age at death
- parents or spouse
- birth place
- military service or occupation
New researchers can be easily misled if you list the birth place according to where it is currently located. You are not able to enter the original place if it has been redistricted. It will help to include the name of the original area or parent county or parish.
Add cemetery descriptions
Check the main page of the cemetery on Find A Grave to make sure there is a history of the cemetery and description of its location. Much can be gleaned from the history of a cemetery that can help you understand more about individuals buried in the same cemetery
Local cemeteries should be charted on a timeline and a map. Consider studying local cemeteries around the time frame when family members were buried there. You may find clues from the local history and the genealogy of earlier generations.
The earlier cemeteries may have been established by pioneer families along with earlier churches and communities. When one of these communities became extinct, people may have continued to use the cemetery, and those burials and biographies of those interred may shed light on your own family history.
After cemeteries became too full to bury more people, other cemeteries were established. Following the trail of burials and historic cemeteries may be the easiest way to glean more information about your family. Be sure to research available cemetery books, and provide source information for others who want to follow your trail.