By Miryelle Resek
Finding an excuse to stroll quietly through cemeteries, observing the final resting place of people once vibrant with life, and enjoying the silence of dew drops drying off of memorial stones just got easier.
Rather than simply passing by undocumented burial sites, genealogist Michael Cassara, in his presentation at RootsTech 2016, explained a proactive approach to leisure graveyard walks—cemetery crowdsourcing.
What Is Cemetery Crowdsourcing?
Cassara explained that crowdsourcing means “to obtain information or input to a particular task by enlisting the services of a number of people either paid or unpaid.”
Or, as defined by Merriam-Webster, crowdsourcing is “the process of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community.”
With this general definition, cemetery crowdsourcing would mean enlisting—and giving—help to document headstones online across the world.
What Are the Benefits of Cemetery Crowdsourcing?
Cemetery stones offer many kinds of information, such as:
- And so on
Unfortunately, not everyone can travel to the gravesite that has the information they need.
This is why cemetery crowdsourcing is so vital. Says Cassara, “If I have an uncle who died in Nebraska, and I’m in New York, [I] can dispatch someone to do a lookup [for me] and take a photograph . . . of that grave.”
With one request—and one volunteer—you can continue researching your family tree, all thanks to crowdsourcing the task.
With an overwhelming number of deceased ancestors, one person going to each cemetery in the world and documenting every grave would be impossible, which is why more of us should get involved.
Crowdsourcing makes documenting cemeteries more manageable by having many individuals do what feels most comfortable for them—be it visiting nearby cemeteries and recording gravesite locations or transcribing uploaded headstone photos so that other people waiting to see a name can read the information.
Have you ever taken advantage of cemetery crowdsourcing? Tweet us @RootsTechConf.
Part two discusses two ways you can get involved with cemetery crowdsourcing.
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