I’m spending some of my Memorial Day at FindAGrave.com

Find A GraveEven though Memorial Day began as a holiday to honor those who died in military service, it has evolved into much more. Today, this federal holiday has become a general day of memory for those we’ve loved and lost. Therefore, many Americans will be visiting  grave sites of relatives this Memorial Day weekend whether they served in the military or not.

Today, I will honor some of my maternal family members and ancestors virtually with the launch of the – Chapple Family Virtual Cemetery – at FindAGrave.com!

FindAGrave.com is one of my top five favorite online resources to use with my family research. The idea to create memorial pages for deceased family members at the site came about when I read genealogist Taneya’s post, “Tombstone Tuesday: Filling in our Find-A-Grave-Entries,” last year. Taneya was inspired to create memorial pages from Susan Petersen at LongLostRelatives.net who wrote,

Every time I locate an obituary that includes the name of the cemetery where the deceased was buried, I check FindAGrave. Is there a memorial established for the person? If not, I create one based on the information in the obituary. I summarize any family history information from the obituary into the biography section. Read more . . .”

So lately, that is exactly what I’ve been doing  — creating family memorial pages – and the process hasn’t been difficult at all! As suggested, I use information from published obituaries, funeral programs, and family information to round out the brief bio I post on everyone’s page. I add personal photos and tombstones if I have them. If I don’t have a published obituary, family information, or a photo to go on (which is the case for some family members who died at birth or as babies), then I use details from their death certificates to complete their memorial pages. A feature I particularly like is the, “Add relationship links,” that appears on each page you create. This feature allows you to add the link of each parent’s memorial page to the child’s page, which in turn links the child’s page to each of the parents’ page.

So far, many of the memorial pages that I’ve completed were already started by a FindAGrave volunteer contributor who visited the cemetery where my family members are interred and either uploaded a photo of the tombstone, or added basic details about them from cemetery logs. Once I connected with the contributor, they quickly transferred the management of the memorial page over to me to complete. As a result of my linking, my Chapple Family Virtual Cemetery was established and other virtual family cemeteries will soon follow.

To my family, have a wonderful Memorial Day! And as FindAGrave.com suggest, “[t]ake the time to go out to your local cemetery this weekend. Visit a friend or family member or just enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. Can’t make it to a real cemetery?” Then take a virtual stroll through the Chapple Family Virtual Cemetery by clicking below and leave some virtual flowers if you like!

Chapple Family Virtual Cemetery

Click to visit the Chapple Family Virtual Cemetery!

Follow Friday: Once Removed Family History, Taneya’s Genealogy Blog, and Red River Sankofa Project

Today is Follow Friday and I’m honored to call special attention to some excellent genealogy professionals I’ve had the pleasure to connect with recently. Enjoy!

Have you ever tried to explain the “once-removed” concept to someone to only have them get that glazed look in their eyes? I’m sure you have because you know exactly what glazed LOOK I’m talking about – ROFL!!! Well, if  you have a difficult time explaining this concept, or even understanding it yourself, I invite you to visit Genealogist & Family Historian, Anna Burroughs (@Njambi2/@OnceRemoved_AB) webpage titled, “So what IS a cousin ‘once removed’???, for a quick and easy explanation! I had the pleasure of personally meeting and chatting with Anna at the Houston Family Expo 2012 in April. She’s WONDERFUL and if you’re thinking of hiring someone to assist you with your family history research, then explore her website while you’re there for more information!

If you enjoy using technology with your genealogy as much as I do, then you should really think about adding Taneya’s Genealogy Blog to your feed reader — quick fast and in a hurry! Taneya (@Taneya) is a medical librarian who really knows her stuff! But what I love most about her is the way she uses her professional experience in information management & organization to demonstrate and disseminate information about how to use various types of technology in genealogical research. Her reviews on all the tools of the trade that she samples via her blog are on point. In short, I can always count on learning something exciting and new whenever I visit her special place in cyberspace. Check her out for yourself; visit her online today!

I had the pleasure of virtually meeting Genealogist & Family Historian, George Allen, when a branch of my family tree linked to his wife’s family tree on Ancestry.com! I sent him a message through Ancestry, we exchanged phone numbers and family information, and my connection with him as I grow my family tree online has been AWESOME! George’s excellent and informative website is the Red River Sankofa Project. This project and historical society functions as a non-profit historical data repository committed to researching, documenting, and preserving underreported African American burial grounds in NW Louisiana and NE Texas. Why these areas? The area along the upper Red River of Louisiana and along the Texas Louisiana border has long been forgotten in historical text. Therefore, this project’s goal is to honor the African American ancestors who settled in this area by telling their stories, sharing their contributions and rich legacy with future generations!