Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Family Association Project #1 - Preserving Graves

Over the last year, the Pratt Family Association has organized a project to locate, photograph and remark (if necessary) the graves of three generations of family members (starting with Jared Pratt who died in 1839). This encompassed more than 200 graves in these 3 generations! What were some of the steps we took?

1. Create a list of the ancestors' graves which you are going to locate.
2. Add the information you already know about where the ancestor died or was buried.
3. Share this list with your family association and ask for volunteers to call the cemetery, get a plot number for the person's grave, visit the cemetery, take a picture and assess the condition of the grave.

While we were able to find some family volunteers, there were many graves that were located in areas where no family members resided. That is when we discovered http://www.findagrave.com/. You can first search for your ancestor's graves on the site. If they are there, you may find a picture; if they do not have a picture, you can request for a volunteer to visit the cemetery and photograph the grave for you. If your ancestor's name is not listed, you can add their name to the registry at http://www.findagrave.com/. Once their individual page is created, you can then request a picture as mentioned above.

FindAGrave volunteers have helped us locate and photograph dozens of headstones where family members were not able to!

Though we have not been able to locate all the graves, we have found and photographed approximately 80% of them. About 15 of the ones we found either did not have headstones or had headstones that were in poor condition! The family association has looked into the price and determined that for a good quality headstone, it will cost approximately $500. As a result, we are challenging our family members through a family newsletter and our family reunion next month to contribute generously to help honor and remember their ancestors.

To help in this process, we have included the names of the ancestors who need a new headstone, and also pictures as examples of some that are in poor condition for our newsletter. At the reunion, we will have an exhibit showing either the empty plot where there is no headstone or the poor condition headstone for each of these individuals and will be accepting donations/contributions.

During the course of the project, remember to post the pictures of all of the graves on your family tree website so all of your family members can benefit and see the resting places of their ancestors.

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2 comments:

Travis LeMaster said...

Thank you for these ideas regarding a family association.

I've also found FindAGrave.com to be an excellent resource for obtaining photographs of memorials from far away ancestors.

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