Sunday, August 21, 2011
A Genealogy tool for the Future -- Project RestingSpot
A few weeks ago a long-distance cousin, descendant of my grandfather's older brother Walter Birnie Anderson, travelled north from Seattle to introduce himself.
I arranged that other Anderson descendants who live nearby would also be in town, and the party was enlarged by another fur trade descendant who is related to us through the Birnies.
We planned to visit all the family graves: James Robert Anderson and his wife are buried in Ross Bay cemetery, in Victoria, and Alexander Caulfield Anderson and Betsy Birnie lie under a beautiful gravestone in the burial ground in front of St. Stephens Church, in North Saanich.
It is A.C.Anderson's grave which is pictured at the top of the page.
Our first visit was to Ross Bay, a sprawling cemetery in Oak Bay next to the ocean.
I have found James' grave before, and I knew which section of the graveyard it was in.
But this time the pair of us spent a fruitless hour searching the entire section of the graveyard, all without finding the grave.
The people who have organized a website called Project RestingSpot aim to end all this confusion.
Their website was created out of the same frustration that my cousin and I experienced; my contact said he set up the service after he spent a frustrating afternoon searching for his grandfather's grave.
This website will enable family members to find their ancestors grave with ease, and they will be able to share that information with other family members in the future.
Through the RestingSpot website and with smart phones with a free application utilizing GPS technology, the location of every resting spot across the United States can be located and added to their database.
People searching in cemeteries for their ancestor's grave can be guided directly to the spot through the website.
Moreover, when the location is added to the RestingSpot website, other family members can share membories and post photographs and messages.
And down the road, of course, descendants of those people will be able to find their ancestor's grave with ease.
There is no reason why the gravesites listed on their website need to be recent deaths.
Those people who have located their ancestor's grave can also upload the information to the site, and by doing so might meet other family members they may otherwise not have met, to share information with them.
This site could become almost as important as Ancestry, perhaps, if those people who are into smart phones and genealogy are interested in recording the location of their ancestors.
In a few years, it is possible that genealogy will look quite different than it does today, in fact.
RestingSpot's goal is to obtain the exact location of every gravesite in every cemetery in the United States by Memorial Day, 2013, and they are looking for volunteers to help them.
They are not limiting this to the United States -- we in Canada or other parts of the world can send RestingSpot an email to request that a cemetery be added to the database.
When its added, you can then add your ancestor to the site.
Even if you want to have a profile page for your ancestor but you cannot mark it at the time, you can send a detailed email to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will help you out.
Here is the contact information for RestingSpot, should you wish to view their webpages.
Facebook page: http.//www.facebook.com/pages/RestingSpot/217684168263834
Have fun with this -- you might even find your ancestor already on it!
By the way, we did find James Anderson's grave, or at least my long-distance found it a day or two later.
Our Birnie descendant friend brought out her copy of the Ross Bay cemetery map and showed him where it was, and he visited the grave the next day.
He told me we were only one or two graves away from James' grave!