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Being a volunteer photographer fell into my path quite by chance...

I had been working on my family history for a few months when I ordered my paternal great-great grandmother's death certificate which told me where she was buried. I could see the cemetery on Google Maps. It was a small country cemetery in Kansas without an office to call. In my search I came across Find-A-Grave.com. I searched her name, never expecting that I would find her there, however, to my amazement, I discovered that a volunteer photographer had gone to that rural cemetery and had taken photographs of many of the headstones and posted them, including my great-great grandmother's grave.

The volunteer photographer had done this for no other reason than to be helpful to those looking for family history. I thought, "what a nice thing to do." My next thought, "I could do this." So now when I have the time and the weather permits, I look up photo requests in my area, and off I go, camera in hand. I'm grateful for the opportunity to give back.

I also discovered that I had two great-great grandfathers who had fought for the Union Army in the Civil War. One had been wounded in the Battle of Gettysburg. I found a picture of his marker on Find-A-Grave. I found my other great-great grandfather's grave location in his pension file at the National Archives. Since the grave was 2500 miles from my home, a Find-A-Grave volunteer photograper went to the cemetery and discovered that the grave was unmarked. The volunteer photographer contacted me to let me know and then contacted the local the historical society and they in turn contacted the Veteran's Administration. After nearly 95 years, my dear great-great grandfather received his long awaited veteran's headstone for his military service.

Gravestones often hold clues to our history. The information can also help paint a clearer picture of a family tree. Besides family history, there are also researchers and authors looking for information. One that comes to mind --- I filled a request from someone who was creating a memorial page of all those who had fought in a specific WWI battle. Another example: To honor a Purple Heart recipient from WWII --- I filled the photo request for ToHonorOurFallen.com.


All images are copyright protected and property of Sally K. Green.
Reproduction or use by permission only - please contact me.