Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to find your ancestors on Findagrave.com for Tombstone Tuesday

Find your ancestors at FindaGrave. Dane Genealogy and Family History BlogIn keeping with the concept of Tombstone Tuesday, I thought I'd share my experience with finding my own ancestors on Findagrave.com. First, what is Findagrave.com? It's basic function is to post photos of headstones and other grave markers. For each person the grave marker represents, there is a profile page. For example, here is the profile page for my grandmother, Maude Sutton (Conrad). The marker shows in the image at right:

The profile pages also tend to contain a great deal of information about the person as well. Often birth and death dates are listed (most often from the headstone itself, but sometimes from other sources). Sometimes there are brief histories posted and often there are additional photos. My own way of using the site is to post other non-headstone photos and biographies wherever I have them.

But let's say you didn't know exactly where your ancestor was buried. Let's say you just knew the state and the exact spelling of their name. In my experience, if you know this much, and the name isn't a common one, you are going to be able to find them through Findagrave's search function.... assuming they have a profile. For example, I recently went on the site and for some reason it occurred to me to search for my great great grandfather John Blumer. Here's a link to the search results that came up for John Blumer in California. Imagine my surprise when I found that only a month ago, someone added John Blumer, and his wife Edith Walford to Findagrave's index! There are thousands of volunteers who make a hobby of photographing these headstones. Some of them have made it their personal mission to photograph all of the headstones in certain cemeteries. So, like in the case of my great great grandfather, all I had to do was wait for one of these enterprising souls to get around to my relatives and I was able to see their shared headstone:

Another fantastic feature of Findagrave is that it allows the profiles of related individuals to be linked. I was able to find the headstones and grave markers for an entire line of ancestors through this feature by starting with my 3X great grandfather John Farwell Anderson. You'll notice that his parents are listed, with links to their profiles. If you follow the Anderson links from son to father, you'll see four full generations have profiles there, and the oldest, the elder Abraham Anderson's profile says the names of his parents as well. That's five generations in one quick chain of links.

One of my favorite recent developments is that Ancestry.com is now linking to Findagrave.com profiles through its hints feature. I have found numerous Findagrave profiles simply by following links that I didn't have to search for. Pretty cool.

I know these results aren't going to be typical and that my extensive years of research into my family tree give me a serious leg up. But I wanted to write about it anyway and provide some tips to those that might find it useful or interesting.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mystery Monday - Mystery Photos

Mystery History, Thacher Family Photo

For mystery Monday, I figured I might as well point to a board I've created on Pinterest called "Mystery History". This board houses a small number of photos that I have in my extensive collection which are unidentified and intriguing. Of course I have tons of photos that have unidentified people, but these are the most promising, best preserved and frankly the best looking of them all.

So here's the board: http://pinterest.com/kyledane/mystery-history/

The photo above is a great example. It is dated 1912 and I found it among the belongings of my grandmother Edith Thacher (Dane). I am pretty confident that it is a Thacher family photo. But there are some details that make me doubt it. For example, the man at the top left looks like my great grandfather William L Thacher, but he looks far too young. Certainly he looks much younger than he does in pictures shortly after my grandmother was born the next year. The other family members looks somewhat like William's brother Sherman Thacher and his family. But Sherman normally wore glasses, and in this shot the man at top right isn't wearing them. I could go on.

I've already had some success with this approach, which is described here in a post about a portrait that was identified when a family member found the photo on Ancestry.com.

Anyway, I'd love to know if anyone can identify these folks, or anyone else in the photos I've got posted to Pinterest.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday's Faces from the Past - the Goodwins

Following the lead of Geneabloggers.com, I am going to start posting things that fit the daily blogging prompts that are suggested there. This first post is a great one. The photo is grainy and beat up around the edges, but it is important because it is the only image I have of Benjamin Franklin Goodwin and his wife Ann Robinson Millet (Goodwin), my 3X great grandparents. They flank their daughter Caroline Lydia Goodwin, my great great grandmother.
Benjamin Goodwin, Ann Millet, Caroline Goodwin

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I had hoped that I would be able to tie all my online family history and genealogy activities together in one blog, using my new Tumblr blog: Family Tree for KD
But it turns out that finding other folks who are interested in this subject seems to require a more wide-ranging approach. In other words, I have to be on Pinterest, Tumblr, Blogger, Twitter, (and more?). I don't know. Anyway, I'm going to keep posting to all of the above, while maintaining activity here as well. Crazy! Follow me wherever you can find me!