Monday, August 15, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: John Newton Garriott (1806-1882)

A lot of people ask me where I find my ancestral photos and documents. While it's true that most genealogical documentation isn't yet online, there's still a treasure trove of great information (and supporting documentation) that can be found on the World Wide Web via family trees and websites that are published by other family history enthusiasts, as well as websites such as Ancestry, Footnote, GenealogyBank, and many, many other online repositories.

One of my favorite go-to websites for burial information is According to the website, Find A Grave now boasts more than 66 million grave records from all over the world. All of these records are volunteer supplied, and many have photos and biographical information attached to them. Of course, not every burial record is contained on Find A Grave, and many that are there don't have photos of the tombstones -- YET.

That's where the volunteers come in. You can log a request via the website to ask someone who lives near the cemetery where your ancestor is buried to go and take a picture of the tombstone and post it on the Find A Grave record of that ancestor. I've put in a few requests for volunteers to take photos of my ancestors' tombstones that I can't already find on the website, and I haven't been disappointed. In fact, just last week, I was surprised by Frank Murphy, a Find A Grave volunteer who went out to the Barnes Cemetery in Mercer County, Missouri, to snap a picture of the grave of my 4th great grandfather, John Newton Garriott, who was buried there in January 1882. Here's the photo that Frank uploaded onto John Garriott's Find A Grave record.
John Garriott
Jan 15 1882
75y 1m 26d

John's wife, Jane Alen Reed Garriott, is also buried in the Barnes Cemetery, and I'm kicking myself for not asking Mr. Murphy to get a photo of her gravestone, too. Perhaps, I'll ask him if he plans to be out at that cemetery again one of these days. Meanwhile, I appreciate the generosity of Frank and all of the other volunteer photographers who schlep out to the cemeteries (often out of their way, and in uncomfortable weather) to document our ancestors' burials and share this precious information with us. 

Thanks, Frank!

Ps. I live in San Francisco and, while I don't have a car to get to cemeteries outside of the city, I can take a bus to the National Cemetery in the Presidio. If anyone needs photos of graves in that cemetery, drop me a line. I'd be happy to pay it forward!


  1. Thanks for putting the request in Wendy! I looked on Find a Grave and it looks like Frank took pictures of Jane's grave too - along with other Garriotts in the same cemetery!! :)

  2. I've been rewarded over and over again with photos which kind volunteers have taken for me. I try to reciprocate when I can but the "problem" for me is too many volunteers near my little town so someone else always claims the request before I can. But that's a good problem to have :-)

    We were in Juneau last year and found ourselves with some extra time. I looked on findagrave to see requests in the cemetery nearby and off we went. I figured there weren't too many volunteers in Juneau and the individuals I took photos for were so appreciative. It really is a great resource.

  3. OH! He must have put Jane's photo up after he uploaded John's. How exciting!! Thanks for pointing that out, Jen.

    Debi, I love your idea for taking photos at cemeteries while traveling. Great way to pay it forward, and I'm going to start doing that, too. =)