Just Trying to do a Good Deed.

Where do we start?

Where do we start?

I like many of you have been helped along in our genealogy research. Many times it was a complete stranger, perhaps thousands of miles away. I also have at times tried to help other people. The good feeling you get when you are able to help someone is for me reward enough. One of the things I do is to help direct a genealogy group at my local library. We have many beginning genealogists that attend the meetings, and helping them gather family data is very rewarding. I, however wanted to do a little more. A website that has given me much information has been “Find A Grave.” So I signed on to try and fill photo request at local cemeteries.

I only had to wait a few weeks when a request came in. It was for Fly Creek Valley Cemetery. While not exactly in my backyard it was only about 45 minutes away. It is very close Cooperstown, N.Y., home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. This is an area my wife and I know very well and are down this way often. I checked the listing “Find A Grave” had for this cemetery and found they have a total of 30 requests. So I printed out a list and thought I would put a real dent in that number. My wife was talked into going (she is much better at spotting names on the markers) my note pad, camera, and list were all packed up and away we went.

The day was very warm in the high 80s and very humid. However we were very comfortable in our air condition car. Which was a good thing because after having to turn around about six times it was getting a little warm between my wife (who was attempting to read the map) and myself. Like true explorers, we managed to stumble on the correct cemetery. Since I was not able to get a cemetery map we got out of the car and started to look around. We picked an older section to start in and began to walk up and down the rows. I was sure we would find someone on the list as the numbers were on our side. It was a fairly small cemetery with 3539 residents of which 30 were on the list for a photo. The odds were with me that I had to find a few of them.

In the end it was just me, being closely watched.

In the end it was just me, being closely watched.

Did I mention that it was very hot and humid? After about an hour of looking my eagle-eyed scout, announced that she would be heading back to the car. However I was free to look as long as I wanted. I said that was very nice of her. But all I got was the look. If you have been married any time at all you know what the look is. I must say in our 43 years of marriage I have seen that look a few times. I stomped through the cemetery for an hour plus but did not find any of the names on the list. Also knowing that out of the 3539 residents only 58 photos had been taken of headstones, I thought I would take some photos of the older or more interesting stones to post them to “Find A Grave”. I won’t say how many I took, but believe me it was a good number. Not willing to give up yet I joined my wife in the car, and we drove through the cemetery seeing if she could spot any names from the car. No luck.

A great place to stop when in Fly Creek, N.Y.

A great place to stop when in Fly Creek, N.Y.

The best part of the day was we drove into Fly Creek to have a quick bite to eat. We went to our favorite place the Fly Creek General Store. Here you can buy gasoline, groceries, clothing, DVDs, fishing bait, and sandwiches from a great deli. I was reminded that we had worked past lunch time. Since it was about 3pm we decided to split a turkey sandwich and not spoil our supper. The food as always was great and we bought a loaf of homemade apple bread with Carmel drizzled over it to take home. As luck would have it right across the street was a moving sale and we purchased a nice lamp. On the way back we stopped at a quilt shop in the area my wife likes. But we arrived too late as they closed early on Saturdays during the summer. I was reminded that if we had stopped on the way down (like she wanted) she would have been able to look around and perhaps buy a few things. I turned the air conditioner up, as it was getting a little warmer.

A nice lunch to relax with.

A nice lunch to relax with.

Oh yes out of all the photos I took that day only one was not already taken. Of the 58 that were already taken how did I ever manage to take the same ones? Also how could I manage not to find one of the 30 names I was looking for? After all I was just trying to do a good deed

A nice yard sale to explore

A nice yard sale to explore

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33 Responses to Just Trying to do a Good Deed.

  1. Reblogged this on Genealogy With Valerie and commented:
    Great Blog!

  2. Amy says:

    I’ve been in the car, trying to find something with my husband, and with each of us getting more and more exasperated and tense, so I feel for you. I think you both deserve an E for Effort, and I am sorry you couldn’t find any of the graves you were trying to capture. As someone who has made a few FaG requests (not yet filled), I appreciate your efforts. 🙂

  3. mandorac says:

    I am also in the same situation; my husband is a true sport when it comes to exploring a new cemetery. I too try to fill requests on FaG when able, mainly to help someone out but also to familiarize myself with county cemeteries I wouldn’t otherwise visit. It sounds as though you had quite the adventure! I’m sure someone will appreciate you adding new images to FaG for that cemetery. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  4. LOL! Great story! I also have a long time, non answered photo request into FaG. Your story helps me remember the volunteer and I also appreciate your efforts! As a wheelchair user, volunteering to photo graves is not something I can do. One more note– I’ve been married 43 years also, and I know exactly the “look” you are describing!LOL Thanks so much for trying!

    • chmjr2 says:

      Oh yes the look. We married people have it down. If you have been married long enough the look can be given across a crowded fair ground and received. I know. 🙂

  5. pastsmith says:

    I’ve had similar experiences trying to fulfill FAG photo requests but I try not to go on those hot muggy days because it always takes 5 times as long as I expected and I walk 10 times farther than I hoped. It does make those fulfilled photo requests we get all that much more appreciated tho! Genealogists are a great bunch of people, aren’t they?

  6. Jack Hallett says:

    I think it’s great how helpful the community has been as a whole, I’ve had so much help over the years and I try to help where I can. Also as a wheelchair user photographing graves isn’t possible for me at the moment. Once I have my new car I can start taking my powerchair out more so will be able to get around easier. I bet it must have been frustrating to have gone all that way and not be able to find any of the names! At least you tried to help though 🙂

  7. ruthrawls says:

    No good deed goes unpunished…
    In the “Plus” column regarding FaG: A man posted on the FaceBook page that he was still waiting for someone to fulfill a six-month-old request on a cemetery in Moundsville, WV, and could someone please help him. I contacted my friend who lives there, and she went out and about with her five-year-old, and they actually found and photographed the stone and sent the photo to me. Of course, all this happened when the ancestry and FaG site were down for days, and I could not post the photo to FaG.
    Anyway, the issue was resolved, and the man has a photo of his ancestor that now links him to the little ship called Mayflower.

  8. flamingdarts says:

    “The look.” ‘nuf said!
    Having read this, and planning a trip – it’s not that far, but an hour is “a trip” nowadays – down to the cemetery where many of my family, including our son, are buried, I checked Find-A-Grave. That cemetery had a few thousand pictures, but strangely only one headstone from our family. I was going to take photos for my MyHeritage tree anyway, so I’ll see about getting them up on F-A-G with some details, and add details to the existing headstone. (I have access through MyHeritage, but perhaps the method for adding photos and data (memorials?) will be clearer if I simply sign up. Thanks for the posts!

    • chmjr2 says:

      So true an hour is a trip nowadays. Gone are the days when we would just take off in the morning and return late at night. Good luck on your trip.

  9. Joe Hanneman says:

    As a longtime Find-a-Grave contributor, I salute you for your efforts. I’ve had an occasional similar result, although I always enjoy looking at the markers and wondering what stories are buried there. Find-a-Grave is a great resource made possible by volunteer efforts. Thank you!

    • chmjr2 says:

      Thank you for your kind words. While the day did have its down side my wife and I over-all had a good time. We have had worse trips to cemeteries. We plan to go back and try once more, on a cooler day.

  10. momfawn says:

    I love the way your trip to the cemetery — although unsuccessful for your F-A-G searches — became a mini-adventure for the two of you. – Fawn

  11. chmjr2 says:

    Yes it was. We really did have a good time. Thanks for reading my blog and your comment.

  12. Great story, and thanks for the chuckles. It’s amazing you took all the same photos; perhaps some of the cemetery “residents” were having a bit of fun with you?

  13. evelynannie says:

    Thank you for liking my blog. I am a bit behind lately, but needing to catch up. Your blog looks great and I will look forward to reading it, I am always looking for blogs on family history. Cheers from Vicki in South Australia

  14. evelynannie says:

    Thank you for liking my blog, and I look forward to reading yours. I am always looking forward to finding blogs on family history. I am a bit behind with mine, will catch up eventually. Cheers Vicki from South Australia

    • chmjr2 says:

      I know what you mean by being behind. Sometimes the days are not long enough. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and commenting. Look forward to hearing from you in the future.

  15. You are very kind to have tried. Although your adventure wasn’t as fruitful as you hoped, it makes a great story many have and will enjoy. I have to admit that I give the look more than I receive it.

  16. chmjr2 says:

    We will be going back there, as a quilt shop has to be visited. However we will do it on a cooler day. Also this time we know right where the cemetery is, so we will be able to go right to it. Thanks once more for reading my blog and your comments.

  17. Pierre Lagacé says:

    I liked that little anecdote.
    Do you have French-Canadian roots?
    I am willing to help.

    • chmjr2 says:

      Yes I do have French-Canadian roots. Most have been well researched except one. My Grandfather name was Willis Deloria which is from Deslauriers. He was born in New York but his parents were born in Canada. Even their names I am not certain of. If you think you could help I will e-mail you what info I have.

  18. I, too, signed up to photograph grave markers for findagrave. However my hubby is even less interested than your wife, and although I have gotten several requests, I have yet to find one marker. I don’t have GPS on my phone or in my car so I went to the Historical Society thinking they would have a map of historic cemeteries. After all, what’s historic if not cemeteries? Nothing! My next stop is going to be the library, but it’s too hot now anyway.

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