your new year challenge
december 29, 2013
Here is your challenge for the New Year! Instead of making resolutions you know you will not keep, why not put your energy into something good for all genealogists.
Several million people a month enter Billion Graves and Find A Grave searching for their ancestral relatives. Make a lasting memory for someone that will be much appreciated for years to come.
I challenge you to enter a new cemetery on BillionGraves.com or FindAGrave.com, add names, tombstone picture, or edit a cemetery already on the site. This is fruitful and necessary for genealogists everywhere. What a great way to help others and give back. It is a “random act of kindness” extraordinaire.
Please access BillionGraves Blog and read how to perform this task. The complete instructions are at http://blog.billiongraves.com/?s=add+or+edit+cemetery. If you want to search another subject, enter a topic in the bar on the right of the Blog page. Search for a cemetery on the main page, www.billiongraves.com by selecting the country, state, county and finally the name of the cemetery or the city/town. The site and search results are free, but you should log in by giving them your email, your name and a password. You can either agree to keep signed in or not. From there you can conduct free obituary searches on Ancestry.com. Ancestry.com is a subscription site, but some of their databases are free. You can also access FamilySearch.org Family Tree Connect to put the tombstone picture or other data on your family tree. FamilySearch.org is also a free site. The instructions and a video for using Family Tree Connect is on the Billion Graves Homepage.
FindAGrave.com has instructions on their Homepage for adding names, leaving a memorial or virtual flowers, make a Quick Submit for adding several names, or download their Excel template for adding 25 names or more. Admittedly, Find A Grave has a much bigger database but it has been in existence longer than BillionGraves.com.
The challenge is for you to add or edit a cemetery in an online cemetery database or, if you want to add to a national site, do it. Just add the information when the warm weather begins and give another researcher a lasting memory.
MY GENEALOGY HOUND: This is a completely free site where you can view thousands of family biographies from early and rare history and genealogy references as well as search through state and county records, maps. Although many of those surnames in the database come from publications in the Genealogy Center, some may not be part of the collection. My Genealogy Hound, provided by Hearthstone Legacy Publications, is constantly uploading new databases. You can subscribe to be notified about new uploads from the home page, www.MyGenealogyHound.com. There is one caveat. A search may take you directly to the Archives.com site, a subscription site. You will have to subscribe to get records there, but what is on MyGenealogyHound.com is free.
REFLECTIONS: The coming of the New Year is a time to reflect on what all you did or didn’t do over the year. It was a busy year for me. Having back problems and having it treated interfered with some of the writing I intended to accomplish. I did continue writing this column, which I love to write, and I did start a new article series, but I did not publish any family history this year. The year saw the combining of many big database companies with free online databanks, which extended the research possibilities of genealogists. I just found out The Oklahoman Sunday ‘Online Replica Edition’ newspaper picked up this column for the Oklahoma City area and their internet subscribers.
The possibilities in the New Year are many since my back is better as I plan to publish another family history book, two if there is time, and continue with all that I am currently am doing.
Most important, I want to thank you for your past, present and continued support of Tracing Our Roots. I wish you all the happiest of holidays and a happy, healthy and successful New Year, 2014.
Brenda Kellow has a bachelor's degree in history, teaches, and lectures on genealogy. Before retiring to publish her family’s histories in 2007, Brenda held certification as a Certified Genealogist and as a Certified Genealogical Instructor. Send reunion announcements, books to review, and genealogy queries to: firstname.lastname@example.org.