The Kindness of Strangers

A few weeks ago, I posted about Find a Grave. One of the features they offers is a “Request a Photo” program. Users of the website can volunteer to take headstone photographs and Find a Grave keeps track of their locations. When another user requests a photo from a particular cemetery, the website sends out an automatic email to volunteers in that area, letting them know for which headstone a photo has been requested.

Last weekend, I was researching my g-g-grandmother, Mary Patterson Whitener. Family legend says that she is at least part-Cherokee. After marrying, she and my g-g-grandfather moved to Oklahoma, supposedly to be near her relatives, and they lived there until her death. I knew that she was buried in Wards Grove Cemetery in Foyil, Oklahoma.

I looked up this cemetery and there she was, listed on the interment roll, but alas, no photograph. I decided to give Request a Photo a try. Find a Grave informed me that there were 19 volunteers within 10 miles of the cemetery, so I proceeded with the request.

Yesterday, I received an email saying that my request was successful. I now have a headstone photo from a cemetery that I will probably never be able to visit in person and I have confirmation that Mary’s maiden name was Patterson.

Thanks again to the kind person who took time out of his day to help a stranger in another state with her research.

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