Find a Grave houses the world’s largest online digital gravesite collection. For 25 years members of our international graving community have been memorializing those who have passed on by photographing burial locations around the globe. We know this an important part of family history and our goal is to record all individuals’ burial locations and dispositions worldwide.
You don’t have to be a member of Find a Grave to use our site. There is no cost and you’ll find a wealth of information that is easy to search. At the top of the homepage are four sections: Memorials, Cemeteries, Famous, and Contribute.
Memorials: Search memorials for family members, photos, headstone photos, GPS locations, biographies, and more. Find more options for searching under “more search options.”
Cemeteries: Maybe you know a cemetery where some of your family members have been buried? You can search all graves in that cemetery. You might find other relatives buried there and you can view their memorials and headstone photos. If you find a cemetery that has not yet been added to Find a grave, you can add it to our database.
Famous: Do you want to know what Elvis’s grave looks like or find his original burial site? That can easily be found on Find a Grave. Search from the homepage and narrow your search to famous memorials by selecting “Famous” from “more search options.” Find a Grave curates an entire collection of famous memorials. Alternatively, search only this collection by selecting Famous from the four sections at the top of the page.
Contribute: Our community has made Find a Grave what it is today. Members have contributed nearly 200 million memorials and added countless photos and details. Every day thousands of new memorials and photos are added. Anyone can become a member. Learn about ways to get involved under this tab. If you would like to contribute, you’ll need to register for an account, but registration is easy and free.
As a member, you can manage the memorials that you add, or request to manage memorials for your family members. A manager acts as a gatekeeper for information that is added to a memorial. Managers can update the memorial with additional research details and biographical information. They can also add additional information received from others in the Find a Grave community. For example, if you have a biography that you would like to add to a memorial that you didn’t create, you can send it to the manager through Suggest Edits. Members can also suggest edits to alter existing information on the memorial. Members can add photos to any memorial by selecting Add Photo. At Find a Grave, we provide the platform and tools that allow the community to collaborate.
Everything you contribute to Find a Grave (for example, memorials and photos), is added to your profile. Here’s an example of a profile page, where a member shares their biography as well as their contributions to the site.
Photo Request and Photo Volunteering are other wonderful features. Members can request headstone photos from a memorial page through “Request Photo” as shown on the following memorial.
The photo request is sent out to photo volunteers in that area and the volunteer will go to the cemetery, photograph the grave, and then upload the headstone photo to the memorial page. If their device is GPS enabled, then the GPS is automatically uploaded as well. Easily find photo requests from members through Photo Requests, as shown here.
It’s surprising how much information about a person is gleaned from a headstone. Members love to help others add one more piece to the puzzle with photographs of headstones.
Virtual Cemeteries: One very popular tool is creating virtual cemeteries. A virtual cemetery is your own personal gathering of memorials into a grouping on your profile page. Though the gravesites are found in different cemeteries, they are gathered virtually into one place.
This example of a virtual cemetery was created by member ‘PictureTaker’ for the Bedford Boys.
The Bedford Boys were thirty-five young men from Bedford, Virginia. They all served in Company A of the 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division. They trained for three years to prepare for D-Day, one of the most important battles of WWII. The Bedford Boys came ashore on Omaha Beach in northern France on June 6, 1944. They joined 156,000 American, British, and Canadian soldiers that landed along the coastline. A summary of their experience can be found on dday.org:
“By day’s end, nineteen of the company’s Bedford soldiers were dead. Two more Bedford soldiers died later in the Normandy campaign, as did yet another two assigned to other 116th Infantry companies. Bedford’s population in 1944 was about 3200. Proportionally this community suffered the nation’s severest D-Day losses. Recognizing Bedford as emblematic of all communities, large and small, whose citizen-soldiers served on D-Day, Congress warranted the establishment on the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford,” dedicated on June 6, 2001, by president George W. Bush.
The Bedford Boys’ virtual cemetery helps us remember and pay tribute to these young men and their sacrifice. It easily groups them so all their memorials can be visited at once without searching.
Any virtual cemetery can be made public or private. These virtual cemeteries can be a grouping of people that interest you or be a place where you can visit all your loved ones’ memorials.
There is so much to discover on Find a Grave. Members all over the world are making discoveries each day in their local cemeteries and adding the memorials and headstone photos to Find a Grave. We hope you’ll visit Find a Grave, search for memorials and find out even more in your journey of personal discovery through family history.
-Find a Grave Team