First an explanation about these programs. People just like all of us go out into the cemeteries, take pictures, write down all information found at each grave (birth, death, etc) then post it to one of these programs. Each program has specific details on how to submit information but anyone can participate. Once info is posted online, it is available free of charge to all of us searching our family. Great things can be found in some of these cemetery records - pictures, family history, obituaries, names of parents and siblings. NOTE: not all info posted is correct as many gravestones are difficult to read and sometimes the person taking the info does not write it down correctly. Also, some info on Find a Grave especially, may be submitted without ever finding the actual headstone (someone who has info about a person and their burial info can actually post it as though they actually found it in the cemetery). Sometimes this info can be incorrect also (I know because I have found some instances on both of these situations).
Let's start with Find a Grave - found at www.findagrave.com
The HOME page has 4 sections from which to choose. (Find Famous Graves, Find Graves, Questions and Answers, and Forums, Store, etc.)
- Choose Search Grave Records (under Find Graves). Type in a name of a deceased person and see what happens. If you have specifics like birth or death and location, enter it but if you find nothing, start removing some info. If you still find nothing, try removing different info and leaving different info. Also try the full name. Again, if you get nothing, try just a letter for the first name and the full last name. You need a last name but if you know of alternate spellings, you might try them. If you have an unusual last name, search for it and see who all come up!
- You can also try Search for a Cemetery (Cemetery Look-up). If you don't know the name of the cemetery, just type in the state and county and all of the cemeteries that have been entered (some cemeteries have not had their info submitted) will show. Once you find a cemetery and select it, you can search through the whole cemetery (in ABC order) or do a search from within the cemetery by typing in a name.
Note: If you have a question or might want further info on a person, check to see who submitted the information. Often you can email them or ask them a question. Some are great to answer. I even had a man go back to the cemetery for me and looked up some additional information.
Billion Graves found at www.billiongraves.com - this is very similar to Find a Grave. People take pictures with their phones (after they have registered and downloaded the app) then they upload the pictures. Other people transcribe the data from the pictures for the website. Then the information is available for searches.
Headstone Search - type in a name (use info as stated above for Find a Grave). If you want to put in more information, click on the words "Check out the Advanced Search Page". This will open a page with the options Person Look-up or Cemetery Look-up.
There is a lot more available at both of these sites so after you've done a few searches, take a look around the sites and see the other information they offer.