Thursday, July 16, 2009

Don't forget about Find a Grave!!!

Ok, so I admit it. In my efforts to be a serious genealogist and to conduct my research in a professional manner, over the past several months especially, I've neglected quite a few websites in favor of tracking down original documentation and basically just first hand facts. I've been a record snob, I admit it. But the other day I was scouring the web for info, pretty much like any other day, and thought it would be another good opportunity to try to find some info about the files of St Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C. I don't remember if I've posted about this or not but as a sum up, I have an ancestor whose CW pension file states that he was transferred to St E's from a soldier's hospital in Dayton, OH and that he died soon after arriving. The file did not contain burial info so I wasn't sure what had happened to him after his death. A search with a NARA archivist did not turn up any further info and after reading an article that mentioned that St E's was notorious for burying patients on their grounds in mass graves and/or with no headstones or markers or even paperwork telling who was buried where, I was worried.

So I'm thinking of sites that may be helpful to the search and remembered Find a Grave. As it turns out, there is an amazing retired military vet who has gone to military cemeteries and uploaded the names from all of the graves that he has found, including St E's. James was included along with a photo. I can't tell you how happy I was to see that he had his own grave and headstone, that he wasn't in some nameless field somewhere. He's been found and I couldn't be happier. I sent off an email to the man to ask if I could post his photo here but haven't received permission yet, but if he will allow me, I'm going to post it here also. It seems appropriate that his stone can be seen by descendants and cousins and be with photos of other family members too.

So I'm going to say it, thank goodness for Find a Grave and all of the kind people who take the time to document the resting places of all of these people.

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