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November 16, 2011

November's Genealogy Challenge

It's time for November's Genealogy Challenge. Even though I was underwhelmed by the response to my October Genealogy Challenge I'm repeating the challenge this month.

October's Challenge was the "Give 15 Minutes" Challenge - to give 15 minutes of time to photograph tombstones in a local cemetery.  In 15 minutes most genealogists can photograph between 30 and 60 burial stones! 

Many genealogists told me they were going to do it. Many were enthusiastic about participating in a project that would bring more cemeteries online for all to view. So why was I underwhelmed?

Because only one person followed through. Bobby R. sent me almost 300 photos a cemetery in Missouri. You can see the first video on Olive Tree Genealogy YouTube Channel

Yes that certainly took longer than my suggested 15 minutes challenge, but even if Bobby had only done 15 minutes of photographing burial stones that would have been a great start.

Perhaps October was a busy month for genealogists. I refuse to believe that folks just aren't interested. I know genealogists are among the most giving and generous people there are! And sometimes life just gets in the way of good intentions.  Maybe that is what happened in October.

So I'm challenging all my readers once again - please try to find 15 minutes of time to go out and photograph tombstones in a nearby cemetery. Don't worry if you only get 20 photos, or you get half the cemetery but not all. ANYTHING is good!

Just think of how many cemeteries we can bring online if we all make that effort to find 15 minutes once a month.  So won't you accept this Genealogy Challenge and help bring more cemeteries online?

If you upload your photos to a photo sharing site such as Picasa Web Album or Flickr, you can easily get them to me for the Cemetery Walk video creation. You can also email them to me at olivetreegenealogy @ (no spaces of course in the email address)


Jen-Gen said...

I love this idea. I'll have to see where I can go near my work to squeeze in the time. I just got the billion graves app on my cell phone and it makes it super easy to get them uploaded too. I'll let you know when I do it!

Marilyn said...

I didn't know about your Cemetery Walk videos, and have checked out your blog listings. Nice! Do you have a text listing of all the cemeteries you have 'Walks' for?

I'm a volunteer for Find A Grave, so I get about 100-150 photos in an hour's time each time I visit my local cemetery.

While I like the BillionGraves idea for its speed; I'm not a smartphone user so that's not an option for me. As a genealogist, I really prefer that we gravers concentrate our efforts into ONE or TWO main areas - Find A Grave, maybe USGenWeb Tombstone Transcription Project. I can't keep track of all the new gravestone sites and it seems like our efforts are spread out among too many options. Just my opinion! Like you said, "It's all good."

Genealogy Blogger said...

Marilyn, those are good points you made. I don't actually agree though that genealogists/volunteers should concentrate on one or two projects.

I had this same discussion when my site Olive Tree Genealogy was bringing ships passenger lists online. I was the first site to do this, but others soon followed. ISTG had way more volunteers and lists came online faster. Then Ancestry began and so on.

But it didn't matter to me that others were also doing passenger lists! My only beef was when other sites duplicated what I already had online. Not for personal reasons but because to me it was a waste of time. If the data is already online why duplicate it?

I've always felt the more the merrier!

With Google and other search engines it's pretty easy to type in the name of a cemetery or a location and find one of my Cemetery Walks, or FindAGrave or whatever location holds the cemetery a researcher is looking for.

After all if volunteers didn't help the smaller sites or smaller projects, folks like me would stop maintaining their sites. What would be the point if we couldn't start a project that interested us, no matter how small?

Just my 2cents worth :-)

I don't have a text listing of all my Cemetery Walks but that's a good idea. Right now genealogists can either go to my youtube channel at or click on the topic choice CEMETERY WALKS here on my blog. I also post them on Google+

Genealogy Blogger said...

Jen-Gen - That's great! Keep me posted okay?

Denise Coughlin said...

I did take photos this weekend (thinking better late than never) and viola! Here's the challenge again!! I'll post/send the photos by this weekend.

Keep up the great work!!

Genealogy Blogger said...

Denise, that's terrific!

Claudia's Genealogy Blog said...

I wanted to do that but a week in Williamsburg VA and a week in North Carolina did not leave me much time.

I did go by the cemetery today and tried to figure out when I can take pictures. I need a sunny day.

I can't promise if it will be soon or after Thanksgiving.

Genealogy Blogger said...

I hear 'ya Claudia. Life gets so busy, sometimes I wonder where the time went.

I'll start off Monday with plans for all the things I want/need to get done, and before I'm finished half it's the weekend!

I forgot the American Thanksgiving is coming up, so I expect everyone will be super busy getting ready for that. Maybe I'll celebrate it this year too, that way I get TWO Thanksgivings!

Sheri said...

I uploaded 99 photos I took just a few weeks ago to Picasa and shared the link with you privately on Google+

All were taken at Rural Cemetery here in Stockton, California

Take 'em and you go Girl!

Genealogy Blogger said...

Sheri - As always, you're a doll! These are terrific. Thank you for meeting this month's genealogy challenge!

The only glitch is that the link didn't display on Google+. Instead all 99 photos popped up in my stream but the only way I can get them is to click on each one and download one at a time...

Can I bug you to send me the link to the album in email so I can download the entire album with one click? Yes, I'm lazy!

Email is olivetreegenealogy @

Thanks o' guru of the birthday song! :-)

Jenny Jones said...

This must be my lucky month! I completed the challenge before I even knew about it - LOL! Last weekend went to Baltimore National Cemetery to visit my great uncle's grave. Spent easily more than an hour photographing US vets from the Spanish-American War up to Afghanistan. Must be at least 100 veterans, their spouses and children. Will try to do the same again in another cemetery before the month ends, so it really counts!

C & J Genealogical Services said...

Jenny, do you ever get down to Annapolis National Cemetery or know of someone who does? I have a Civil War Vet there, Levi Howard. I have the location in the cemetery.

I have taken hundreds of tombstone pictures in Massachusetts, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Have place many of them on Find-a-grave but some of the cemeteries are not on Find-a-grave. I have contacted them several times about adding the cemeteries but they have not responses. I want to get them on the web. But this is the way to do it.

Anonymous said...

My mother and I went out and took pictures together after our Thanksgiving meal today. I hate that I missed seeing your post last month, because I have a cemetary on the edge of my neighborhood and am happy to go out anytime the weather isn't too cold. I will be emailing you shortly!

Jenny Jones said...

Got to Darlington Cemetery yesterday and found many family members, though not direct line.

Cemetery was founded in 1886 and has many very old stones as well as some new, extremely unique markers. Some had solar lights, which I'd never seen before.

Altogether a fantastic day. I'll get them on Find a Grave eventually.

Cheryl Cayemberg said...

Went to the Central Texas Veterans Cemetery this morning and took some pictures. They all had wreaths on them which was beautiful. I'm heading to do silly PTA stuff, but I'll post them on Picasa and email the link later this evening when I have them up!

Great idea. I hope you get more participation this time. It looks like you might!

Genealogy Blogger said...

Hi Cheryl - that's great, looking forward to your photos!

I have had a good response so far to November's Challenge and am in the process of getting all the photos online for everyone to see.

Great participation!