I don't think that's really the way the saying goes, but this has been my experience this week. I've spent hundreds of enjoyable hours exploring the Find A Grave web site and have been rewarded with photos of headstones and gravesites of many ancestors. In addition to numerous photos, I've gathered vital information on them, such as birth and death dates, burial locations, even cemetery locations and occassionally have come across a wonderful obituary or biography of an ancestor. It didn't take me long, after looking around, to volunteer to photograph gravesites in my home county after I became the beneficiary of precious photos generously posted by others across the country.
This week I received an email from Find A Grave notifying me that someone wanted a photo of an ancestor's gravesite in a local cemetery, so I put a "Claim" on it, which indicated my intent to take the photo and load it on the Find A Grave site within 14 days. It's hard for me to not run out immediately to fullfill that claim when I get one. My husband went with me the next day to photograph the site and I had it on the internet later that evening. I always send a personal email to the person who requested the photo to let them know I provided the photo and I offer to email them the photo. They get an automated notice from Find A Grave that the photo has been uploaded to their memorial page, but I like to make personal contact anyway. This week I emailed a gentleman in a neighboring state and was delighted that he replied to me in a very gracious return email. As it turns out, his hometown was the hometown of my step-father. And to my great joy and surprise, he often returns to that small town, and is familiar with the local library and cemeteries. You guessed it...he offered to photograph the gravesites of my step-father's parents who are buried there. He contacted the local librarian and received by mail copies of their newspaper obituaries. Today I got copies from him in the mail!!!! And soon I should have photographs of their gravesites---hopefully they have headstones.
Do you see why I called this little story "One Good Deed Returns Another"? When I posted that photo earlier this week on Find A Grave, I thought that little story was over. But my personal email to that "requester" brought unexpected rewards! I've made a new friend, I have obituaries now that I'd have never found otherwise and may soon have actual photographs of family gravesites.
I happen to live 1 mile north of a really old local cemetery so at noon today I made a quick trip to it and photographed another headstone for someone. She didn't post her personal email on Find A Grave but I was able to leave her a public note. Maybe she'll be inspired to take a picture for someone else in return for the kind gesture. And so it goes on and on. One good deed returns another.