I am an avid user of Find-A-Grave. It makes it so easy to share internment information in a way that is very widely accessible. Whenever possible, I try to add to the site by photographing tombstones here in Nashville and adding records for people in my family trees and research projects based on death certificate or obituary information. I have been a member of Find-A-Grave since I really started getting into genealogy in February 2006. To date, I have added 902 memorials. I have also added 734 photos. Wow. That’s a lot of pictures! And, I easily have another few hundred sitting on the computer in queue.
However, I do have a couple of requests for enhancements for FindAGrave that would make research slightly easier. I have emailed them with my suggestions, but let me share them here in case some of this functionality is available and I am just missing it.
1) On each cemetery page, there is an option to search for a surname. Recently, the site added a distinct field for maiden name. However, on each cemetery page search, when you put in a name, it only searches that name as surname, not maiden name. Search would be more comprehensive if this were not the case and the default search included surname.
2) Tonight while adding a burial record to a cemetery in North Carolina, I happened to look at the list again and for two names I’d entered in April 2008, I saw that pictures had been added! These pictures were added in April of 2009. I would love to have the ability to receive an email notification whenever a picture has been added to a memorial I’ve created. Currently, you can make a photo request and when it is filled an email is sent, however, it is much too cumbersome to submit photo requests for so many memorials. If Find-A-Grave users could establish this as a general preference setting, it would be easier to track your memorials.
3) FindAGrave gets many submissions each day. Wouldn’t it be neat to be able to set up an RSS feed for any surname of interest so you would know when a new record was added where your surname was part of the record? There is currently a New Listings page, but it is only for famous and somewhat famous individuals. I’d love an easier way to keep up. Right now, I just have to contine to do repeated searching. I have tried a few sites that create RSS feeds from any URL, but so far, none of them have configured the feed from a surname search exactly as I’d like it.
4) Linking Relatives — recently, FindAGrave added a nice feature that allows a person’s memorial to be linked to other family members, such as parents, spouses and children. This is great since when looking at any one person’s memorial, it can lead you to other family members, no matter which cemetery in which they are buried. However, currently this capability is only extended to the person who created the memorial. I would love it though if any FindAGrave member could be allowed to do this. It would remove one step in the process since the memorial creator would not have to be notified and then there is a wait until they do it. In the spirit of further collaboration, I think it would be important to expand this feature.
Until then, I’ll just keep my fingers crossed that they get around to adding these features. As I stated earlier, I am an ardent fan of the site and I greatly appreciate all that FindAGrave does. I hope to see some of these features coming up sometime soon in the future.
Addition (June 28, 2009) — when I am on the page for any specific cemetery and click on the link to “Add a Name to This Cemetery,” I should not have to search for the cemetery after I add the individual’s information. It would prefer the system automatically add the individual to the cemetery I was looking at before I clicked “Add a Name to this Cemetery.”