I was searching for a way to share the grave photos I had been taking for Calvary cemetery in Toledo  in order to disseminate the genealogical information I have been gathering a bit wider. This does two things in my mind: it brings further awareness of our Polish immigrant ancestry in Ohio and possibly someone searching for their Polish ancestor in Ohio may stumble upon a grave photo and have more information about that person that they may wish to share.

In that light, I found two possibilities for sharing the photos: Find A Grave and the Ohio Gen Web Gravestone Photo Project.

I originally chose Find A Grave and test drove it. Not any problems. The site gets a lot of traffic, but it seems much of that traffic is generated by those submitting graves. It also has a lot of administrative overhead–no cost, but some bureaucracy. Many who post there seem to enjoy the hobby called “graving”–photographing cemeteries and then uploading photos of all of the graves. Those who do this often have no knowledge of the person whose grave they photographed.  I had found a few “digital graves” of family members there, uploaded by others. One did have a connection, the others did not. And I had learned one of those submitters had passed away. I was unable to link to or update her information. While I felt the traffic generated there was high and could lead me to potential new contacts in the effort to research family, I’m not quite convinced that this is the right site to use for my efforts in researching my family and the general history of the Kuschwantz. Find A Grave disappointed me in that persons who submit data there do not necessarily have to provide any detailed information on the burial–all they need is a photo or an obit. While I’m certain there is a lot of value behind Find A Grave, it at least provides an entry point to those seeking basic genealogical information, the data there can be scant, wrong, or held by someone without an interest or who may no longer be active there.

Another site that I found seems more promising for Ohio based efforts. Very little traffic is coming its way in terms of volume but the information provided seems as valuable, if not more valuable, to real genealogical purposes (my opinion only). Unfortunately, it’s scope is limited only to Ohio. This is the Ohio Gen Web Gravestone Photo Project. I made a few submissions for Andrew Przybylski and for Eva and Joe Plenzler, just to see how it worked. I then made an inquiry to the state administrator of the site because it seemed as if Lucas County and Calvary in particular had few records. That led to an email conversation which in turn led to me becoming the administrator for Lucas County cemeteries.

That said, I hope you visit the Ohio Gravestone Photo Project. URL is http://ohiogravestones.org/. You will need a free login to use the site. If you have any Ohio-based grave photos, I hope you’ll consider sharing and documenting them here. Many cemeteries are aging and have been struck by vandals, have been neglected, stones are lost or broken, etc. You’d be sharing genealogical data with future generations.

While I have uploaded a handful of submissions to Find A Grave, I likely will not be making many more contributions there — probably if and when I obtain grave photos that cannot go to the Ohio project–and then may seek out another venue. Because the preservation and documentation of history are relevant to me, I prefer to remain with the Ohio Gravestone Photo Project for Ohio-based graves. Of course, I will continue to publish relevant photos here as well! You retain copyright and ownership of any data submitted to both the Ohio Gravestone Photo Project and Find A Grave website.

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