Find A Grave – www.findagrave.com
Shannon Skiles Waggoner – [email protected]
My name is Shannon Skiles Waggoner. I became interested in genealogy about 10 years ago when my dad shared the Skiles family tree book with me. You could say I was bitten by the genealogy bug and it’s become somewhat of an obsession for me. My husband, Brandon Waggoner, is the grandson of Howard Hinchman. Howard descends from John Hinchman, II. I am the family genealogist and Brandon is the Hinchman family descendant.
One of my favorite parts of genealogy has been “cemetery stomping”, as I like to call it. I visit local cemeteries, record the information on the headstones and take pictures. Then I upload that information to Find-A-Grave (“FAG”). FAG (www.findagrave.com) is a free site in which they are trying to record for posterity all the information found on the headstones in cemeteries. I’m sure if you’ve ever visited an old cemetery you’ve noticed the state of the headstones and how rapidly they are deteriorating. I think that’s one of the main reasons I’m drawn to FAG: it’s the volunteers’ mission to document as many cemeteries as we possibly can.
If you’ve ever wanted to see your ancestor’s grave but it’s in another state, you have the ability through the volunteer network. Once you have registered with FAG (it’s free), you can request a photo of a headstone. A volunteer in the area will photograph the headstone and notify you when they have the picture. Granted, you may have to wait for a volunteer to be in the area, but it’s worth the wait. I’ve personally uploaded over four thousand pictures and memorials now. A great way to repay this genealogical act of kindness is to volunteer in your area.
Another neat thing about FAG is that you can add obituaries, family history and personal family photos as “memorials”. FAG also has the ability to “link” family members. When families are scattered across many states, it’s nice to be able to keep track of the family members in other cemeteries and states. Most recently I have been working on the Hinchman family and linking everyone who is related. I’ve documented most of the Hinchman graves in Rush County and am moving on to Hancock County, Iowa and even Kansas, trying to find all the siblings and linking them together. Here’s an example of Sanford Hinchman’s memorial page to give you an idea of the capabilities: Sanford Hinchman Memorial page.