Comparing Three Online Grave Sites

by Paul_Takeo

In your search for your ancestors, Find A Grave, and Billion Graves has been an invaluable tool in finding some of yours.

When I started my research into my Family Tree I went to the library and read all the Genealogy books there were and one of them mentioned an online site called Find A Grave.

I decided to check it out and since that day I have used this site on a regular basis. Because of this site I also heard about and only last year did I hear about Billion Graves. I also heard about the Veterans Administration Nationwide Graveside Locator but since that site only deals with Military Veterans and their Families I decided to just stick with the three I mentioned above. I want to give you a glimpse at what all 3 have to offer.

Find A Grave Main Page
Find A Grave Main Page
Virtual Memorial
Virtual Memorial

Find A Grave

Founded by Jim Tipton in 1995, it has grown to where you will find 121 million graves listed as of March 2015.  There are other people working behind the scenes but Mr. Tipton claims we, the contributors are behind Find A Grave.  Contributors have given their time and effort to make this site grow to what it is today.

Besides ordinary people like you and me, the site offers the chance to look up the Memorials of famous people. Movie and Television actors, Astronauts, Politicians, Gangsters, anyone who you saw or read about will probably have a Memorial done about them.

Find A Grave is free to use. You can search for grave sites but to create a Memorial or use the Forums you must register with the site.  It is free to sign up and once you do you can create what we call a Virtual Memorial and even put virtual flowers on the virtual graves.

To search for a person just click  Search grave records.  You will be taken to the Search Form where you put as much information as you know and click Search.   The names will be listed in alphabetical order.  If you think you found the person then click and you will see a page similar to the page you see above on the right that I created.. (Person is my Grand Uncle's daughter)

To create a Virtual Memorial you look to the left of the page and you will see Actions.  Click Add Burial Records and fill out the form as much as you can.  It is an easy two step process and once you do it you will have created a living reminder of that person.

A little tip: Before you create a Memorial, search for the person and see if another contributor created one.  If someone did then it is best not to create another virtual memorial cause Find A Grave hates duplicates.  If an ancestor of yours has already been created you can contact the person who did this memorial and ask if he or she can transfer ownership to you.  Most will do it   I have been a Contributor since about 2010 and I usually will only do family memorials.



Interment Search Form
Interment Search Form is owned by Clear Digital Media and debuted in March 1997.  Cemetery transcriptions are done by regular people and the staff of and the results are put on the site.

I have used the site with moderate success.  When you type in your ancestor in the Search box you will get results like this.  I typed the name Joseph Shoup who is my second Great Grandfather.  I had 69 results but some were for Shoup, Joseph.  Shoup, Harry Joseph.  Shoup, Mary Anna so the best thing to do is click the Cemetery that is listed and look.  The names are alphabetized and the birth and death year are listed.   Like I said, I have had some success with this site and I would look again.


Billion Graves Search Form
Billion Graves Search Form

Billion Graves

Billion Graves is a relatively new site and is similar to Find A Grave but with one major difference, when you find your loved ones you can actually see where they are buried.  Each name comes with a Google satellite map and a pin shows where the final resting place is within the Cemetery. This can be a big help especially if the cemetery is huge.

It is free to sign up and become a member of this growing community.  I have not signed up but am thinking about it.  In the FAQ section, if you want to be a contributor, they would prefer if you have a phone with GPS capabilities so you can upload the information right to Billion Graves.  It is not necessary as there are other ways to put a Memorial on the site.

I love this site for no other reason that you can find your loved ones final resting place right on a satellite map.  I think that is cool.  If I had to rate these sites I would have to say Find A Grave is Number One due to the sheer number of names on the site with Billion Graves Number Two and last.  It is only my opinion.  If you have not tried all three then do so and make up your own mind.


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Updated: 03/12/2015, Paul_Takeo
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