I wanted to let everyone know that I finally made the plunge and have become an online contributor to the Find A Grave website. It is at this site that contributors can upload information on the birth, death and cemetery information for those they are researching. You can also contribute photos of the ancestors and pictures of their gravestones and memorials in the cemeteries where they are laid to rest.
All genealogy researchers should be aware of this great death/cemetery research site at:
The process is incredibly easy to register yourself thus allowing you to upload information from your research.
You do not have to register yourself with them if all you want to do is search the site. There are 43 million records at this site from all over the United States and the world!!
To register, all you have to do is click on their sign-up link. You will be asked to provide your e-mail address, first and last name and a “public” name that will appear associated with the material that you will upload. You do not have to give your real name for it to appear publicly. There are cryptic names of contributors and you can even have your data show as having been provided by “anonymous”.
I indicated my “public name” as my real name hoping that anyone that makes a hit on names I have uploaded will have a clue early on of my name. At any time after you register, you can edit your profile and change these things to return to anonymity if you so choose. Once you submit the basic information to register an e-mail will be sent back to the e-mail address you provided for verification and also to provide you with a final 9 digit number to enter into your application to finalize the registration process.
At this point you can begin entering in your data and photos if you choose.
The site allows you to begin entering in your data with clicking on one link to begin the process. You will be given a template online to enter in your data. First Name, Middle Initial, Last Name, Maiden Name for Married Women, Suffix are the core pieces of information for an individual. You can also enter in birthdate, Place of birth that can be Country, State, County and City. The same applies for the death information. Date of Death, Location of death at the Country, State, County, and City location. You would also then provide the location of burial at the Country, State and County location. You finally enter in the Cemetery Name from a pre-selected long list of cemetery names provided by Find A Grave. The same long lists are also available for Country, State, County within the State and the City within the County.
Once all of the information is loaded in the template all you do hit the upload link and within a few seconds your entry is uploaded and is shown with all of the contributor information you chose to allow or with as little as you chose to allow. It is that simple and fast.
Find A Grave even has the capability to provide you with some Excel templates that helps you upload a lot of material quickly. If you have t least 25 entries to add to one particular cemetery then you can do this by putting all of your person information in this 25 person template and then uploading all of it with one upload click, provided it is all for one cemetery.
If you do not have at least 25 entries to upload to one cemetery, then just add the data the basic way, one at a time.
Once your entry is in their data base, you can then upload any pictures you may have for this individual. At this point I have chosen to upload the headstone pictures I took at St. Adalbert’s Cemetery in Niles, IL. I did some picture-taking at this cemetery in September and October of 2009 of many of my more immediate ancestors. These were the pictures I have just uploaded.
One requirement from Find A Grave is that the picture be in JPEG format and also be less than 350 KB in size. This means you have to take the picture with your digital camera so the size of the picture is small and fits within this range or you can take the picture from the camera in the best setting and then you have to run it through a photo application to reduce the size and allow it to post on the web. I ran my high scale pictures through Photoshop Elements 4.0 for my iMac and used the process of saving the picture for the web. This allowed me to reduce the file size of the picture to meet the requirements of Find A Grave while keeping the quality still very good. So just be aware of these kind of requirements at this great site.
When I was ready to upload photos, I “logged”myself into Find A Grave and just searched the Find A Grave site for the entry I just uploaded. Once you get the person you uploaded, you just click on the spot on the entry that says “Add Photo”. Find A Grave comes back to you with a pre-set list of what it is that you will upload. Grave is the default. Then click on the box that allows yu to select your picture to upload from wherever you have it. Select it and choose to upload. Then upload the picture and once again within a matter of seconds you will see it as part of the person data you entered. You can also choose to delete the picture at any time if needed or add a caption to it for further explanation.
While all this is happening, Find A Grave is keeping track of what you have entered both in terms of the names and any pictures you upload.
Remember, you do not have to upload any pictures. You can just upload information you have from your own personal lineage databases on those you have in your research. If you have ancestors with birthdate information, death date information and burial information, in particular the cemetery, you too can be a contributor.
Believe it or not, there are many, many people who have contributed information on burials that are in the hundreds of thousands!! Many people contribute names and information on those not even related. One gentleman in this “Biggest Contributor” list he has taken it upon himself to upload death information on military veterans that he sees in his daily paper so they will not be forgotten.
So far I have added about 31 “Memorials” to the site with the accompanying gravestone picture.
There is still much more for me to learn of the capabilities of the site as well as other things to use at the site.
The site has a very large and very useful “Frquently Asked Questions” (FAQ). I found that this section was able to address just about any question I was coming up with from initial registration through the “How To Upload” pictures questions that I had for myself.
Just think, there are already 43 million records at this site. Visit it, use it, and consider becoming a contributor to this site with data that is already in your possession. Share the information and also open up the possibility that you will have someone visit the site and find your data and ask you via either a e-mail message to you or via the “public message” capability of the site whether the two of you may have some ancestral connections.
Just visit the web site at:
If you want to see what I have entered in, just enter in my surname of KIERNA, and you will see some of my recent uploads of data and photos. Click on my “public name” where the data is shown. You will see that you can contact me via my e-mail address or you can leave a public message. Take a look at my “great” picture I left of myself in the biographical information section. What do you think?? Cute!!
Seeing is believing. Maybe seeing what I have done may make you realize that you can do the same.
Visit the site. Give it a try. Consider contributing.
Schaumburg Township District Library