Saturday, November 20, 2021

After the Ask


Sometimes, all you have to do is ask.

In the case of my latest wanderings through the Bright Shiny Objects of Maude Woodworth Bean's ancestors, I discovered her maternal grandfather, Eugene Williams, had served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Though he was born in New York state and migrated to Wisconsin—and despite being discharged at the end of the war in Mobile, Alabama—he eventually settled in southern California.

Eugene's details of service were easy to find, thanks to the records digitized at One detail that I would have liked to see, though, was a photo of his headstone, but Find A Grave, the go-to source for such items, did not include one. 


Thankfully, Find A Grave has a provision in which a researcher can request that a photo be uploaded to a current memorial. If there is a Find A Grave volunteer in the area—and where there are, many are quite dedicated to their mission—someone will claim the request and follow through when able.

In the past, I have made a few such requests. Some, in out-of-the-way places, understandably have gone unanswered. Others, such as a request I made for a photo of a headstone in a mountainous region of western Canada—during the winter, no less—was understandably answered with a note to wait until the spring thaws were over.

In the case of the Eugene Williams memorial, it was last week while I was researching the man when it occurred to me to ask. The Find A Grave website has streamlined the process. Just by clicking on the tab for photos on his memorial brought me to a page where I could click on a button labeled "request photo."

Click. Easy as that. In less than twenty four hours, a Find A Grave volunteer indicated that he had claimed the request, and last night I received an email indicating the photo was uploaded to Eugene Williams' Find A Grave memorial.

Of course, I logged on to the site to thank the volunteer profusely—I really do appreciate the help, especially when I am not able to travel to the area—but going through the process reminded me of another detail. Not only did the photos tab at Find A Grave enable me to easily request a photo for a memorial, but there was another tab there that was just as easily clickable: the tab labeled "Add Photos." 

That's the tab which reminds me about the photos I've long had, but still need to digitize and upload, myself. That's a goal to add to my to-do list for upcoming projects in the very near future. Some, in fact, relate to family members from Maude Woodworth Bean's own family, the family whose photos we've rescued from a local antique shop. There is, after all, no time like the present—and no presents like the ones which save us time.


  1. I try to get the photos requested...sometimes it is an unmarked grave:(

    1. Oh, I know you do, Far Side. You are a dedicated Find A Grave volunteer. But those unmarked graves...yeah, that's what I'm bracing for with Eugene's mother's grave...


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