So. Now I have my tools (State Lists, Name Lists, Questions pages), I have all available information organized, filed, and tallied…what’s next?
I have an eleven-step process (I know, I know…I had ten, but realized I’d left one out).
Some steps involve paid-sites (these have to be subscribed to) and some involve free sites.
You can pick and choose which steps you like, or delete and add on at your fancy.
All I know is this process works for me!
I did mention all this organization and research would take a great deal of time, didn’t I?
All the time and effort will pay off, though, when you end up with a beautiful stack of Name Lists, paired with Questions pages.
So here’s what I do next: I grab the first name on the stack (alphabetically for me, this happens to be Brawley/Braley), and begin the process.
Step #1: findagrave.com
This is a fantastic site that lists people, grave sites, and often pictures of the entrance to the cemetery featured, and sometimes even the grave marker for the individual researched. Although your ancestors may not be listed, that can mean a number of things: they do not have a marker; they have not been located yet; or you are responsible for locating and listing that relative! Anyone can sign up to add data, and considering all the work to be done out there, if you are visiting cemeteries, you should really consider contributing to this free site for anyone who may be related to a particular individual, but who simply cannot go visit the grave site in person.
Also, don’t give up! I had despaired of ever locating one ancestor (Elijah Perry from a few blog posts back), partly because he has remained elusive in a number of regards, but also because through my research it seemed he may have been re-interred in another unknown location. Then, one day last summer…there he was! Listed in an entirely different county, and dying in a different year than had previously been reported, the scoundrel. Turns out the tale behind his death was more involved than I had realized, and it was enormously gratifying to get the whole story. If not for that generous volunteer who had logged the relevant information, I still wouldn’t have found my ancestor.