Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Gravestone Photographic Resource project?
- How can I search for a particular name?
- How often is the index updated?
- Can I get a copy of a tombstone memorial image?
- Why are there so few photographs for some churchyards?
- How can I find out if there are any entries in the resource for a particular name?
- How can I see if there are different spellings of a name held within the resource?
- How can I help the gravestone photographic resource project?
- Why are there no cemeteries from my country indexed?
- Why do the dates on the index not match the dates I already know about?
- Why are there not more records for gravestones from the 1900s?
- Why are there no dates on some records?
- How can I found out who else is researching families within a particular cemetery?
- How can I get a particular cemetery added to the projects database?
- How can I find out if anyone else has requested the image I am interested in?
- Why is there no charge?
- Who owns the copyright of gravestone photographic resource images?
- What does 'Change the amount of detail displayed' do?
- How to I find the location of a grave in a cemetery?
What is the gravestone photographic resource project?
The gravestone photographic resource project is an attempt to provide a much needed on-line genealogical resource for family historians.
The project aims are as follows:
- to digitally photograph grave monuments that are currently legible
- to extract all legible personal information (name, age, date of birth, date of death, relationship) from each image
- to publish all legible personal information on an internet database and make this data freely available
- to make available copies of any grave monument image free of charge to anyone requesting a copy
- to lodge at appropriate public record offices collections of images appropriate to that area
- to encourage local groups to maintain, photograph and record grave monuments
- to cover cemeteries throughout the world
- to form partnerships with other organisations or persons that hold grave monument photographs
How can I search for a particular name?
The website has a number of powerful search facilities that can be accessed via the SEARCH link which is on the top menu of every page of the website.
If you are looking for a specific person then the FULL NAME SEARCH should be used.
However, for family history research there are three specialist searches which could be a huge help. These are A-Z lists of all the surnames, maiden names and family names held within the GPR database. The list are especially useful in identifying different spelling of names.
Family names are those surnames that are found as the last name of someones forenames.
These name list have been specially written so that they are extremely fast and efficient to use.
Associated with the A-Z lists are three routines to give all the surnames, maiden names or family names that are within the GPR for that particular name. A new routine is currently being developed that will combine search results for all three types of name.
How often is the index updated?
The index is updated with new cemeteries at least once a week although over the last year there has been three new cemetery every two days!
These updates take the form of adding new information to the internet database. Once information has been added to this database it is immediately available to anyone using this site.
Because of this site is designed around a powerful database, every index on the site is always up-to-date.
To see what has been recently added to the site, look at the whats new page.
Can I get a copy of a tombstone memorial image?
Yes, you can get copies of images of individual grave monuments.
No charge is made for the higher quality images that are requested. However, by making a donation you would help fund the project.
Once images have been requested they may be viewed on the GPR website by using the "view images" link on the top menu of every GPR web page.
For more details have a look at our order an image page.
Why are there so few photographs for some churchyards?
Although most churchyards and cemetaries contain many graves, often only a small proportion have monuments. Out of this small proportion of graves that actually have monuments, usually less than 50% are readable.
Monuments become illegible because of a number of different factors:
- Water erosion - cause by rainfall
- Frost damage
- Plant damage - usually by lichen
- pollution - acidic rain dissolving alkaline rock
- Vandalism - this is increasingly common in some towns
The fact that grave monuments become illegible over time is a major reason why this project is so important.
Some cemeteries listed within the resource only have a very few images listed because these are ones that individuals have collected for their own family history and then donated them to the Gravestone Photographic Resource.
How can I find out if there are any entries in the resource for a particular name?
You can search the resources database for all the entries for a particular name by typing the name into the box below and pressing the FIND FAMILY REFERENCES button. This search facility is available on the top menu on all pages.
There are also other search routines that may be helpful and which are not available on other websites. These are alao searches for maiden and family names. Family names are those surnames that often occur as the last forename. Both of these searches are very useful to help identify those people who are on the edge of a family tree.
Associated with these three name searches are three alphabetic lists that give all the names held within the GPR.
You can access all of these search routines by using the SEARCH link on the top menu of every paage of this website.
How can I see if there are different spellings of a name held within the resource?
You can see a list of all the surnames held within the resource by using the Surname List feature. This feature is one of the options in the Search system which can be accessed using the link on the main menu at the top of every page.
For instance, if you want to see what versions of the name Ablett are stored within the database, just press the A within the surname list option and all the surnames within the resource starting with A will be displayed.
This feature is particularly useful to look for names that sound very similar but are spelt differently. For instance, the names Nichol and Nickle occur on graves close to each other in the churchyard at Cappagh, County Tyrone, Ireland. It is very likely that these two families are related and the different versions of the names are just the result of the different stone masons version of spelling the name.
List of all the maiden and family names held within the GPR are also available via the website's SEARCH systems.
How can I help the gravestone photographic resource project?
You can help the project by either:
- giving some of your time by becoming a volunteer.
- persuade someone else into becoming a volunteer.
- giving financial support by making a donation.
Why are there no cemeteries from my area indexed?
The project has over 2400 volunteers all around the world although the majority of them are in England.
You can see a full list of countries by looking at the countries page.
If there are no cemeteries listed within the GPR then it is most likely because we do not have any volunteers in that particular area. To expand the coverage of the project we need more volunteers or partner websites.
Why do the dates on the index not match the dates I already know about?
The dates on the index are obtained from the monuments themselves. Often the age given on a monument is an estimate made by the surviving relatives.
Another reason why the dates may be inaccurate is that the monument may be worn or damaged and the age or date of death is what the person indexing it believes it to be.
Finally the reason the dates are incorrect could be because the stonemason made a mistake. This happens even today - a recent grave monument list the deceased as dying ten years in the future!
Why are there not more records for gravestones from some cemeteries after 1901?
Because of the huge scale of the project, it was decided that for the initial stage only monuments for people born before 1901 would be photographed and indexed. Now all legible monuments within a cemetery are photographed and then indexed.
The scope of the project has now been extended to accept all legible grave monuments.
Why are there no dates on some records?
The names against each monument are those that occur on that particular monument.
Often, the monument gives the names of the deceases spouse or parents. This information is particularly useful for researchers tracing family trees.
However, sometimes monuments are in such poor condition that the dates cannot be read. These monuments have been included within the index as researchers can use these clues to do further checks against parish records.
How can I found out who else is researching families within a particular cemetery?
A comment/feedback/help request feature is now available.
This feature allows visitors to add details of the families that they are currently researching. Whenever an entry is added there is the option to add a contact email address. This email address is NEVER shown on the website but is used to securely email the person.
When a single family name is given then the comment / feedback / help request will be displayed whenever that family name page is displayed.
Another feature which currently under development is the ability for visitors to any grave page where someone else has requested that monument's photos to send a message to that person. This feature will send the message but it will be up to the recipient as to whether they reply or not.
How can I get a particular cemetery added to the projects database?
The project keeps a list of graveyards that visitors to the site have expressed an interest in. Although the project will not guarentee to photograph and index a specific churchyard it uses this list whenever it plans its photographic sessions.
How can I find out if anyone else has requested the image I am interested in?
When someone requests a high quality image they are presented with an image request form. There is an option on the form that allows people to be put in contact with others that have also requested the same image. This only happens if each person has pressed the Yes, I want you to send my details to potential cousins button.
The Gravestone Photographic Resource will never disclose someones details without their permission.
Another way for people to contact others who are researching the same grave monument is now being developed. This new feature will allow visitors to a grave page on the website where someone else has requested a higher quality image. There will be a link next to the text input by the person who requested the image. A message will be sent to this person who may, or may not, reply.
Why is there no charge?
The project was originally set up as a hobby and it was hoped that by not having a charge others would volunteer to help photograph and index cemeteries thoughout the United Kingdom and beyond. Although in the initial years of project there were few offers of help, there is now a dedicated set of volunteers.
It is a fundimental policy of the Gravestone Photographic Resource to never charge for any image it holds.
The project does however accept donations and these do help to cover the cost of providing the web site, online database, volunteer packs and other expenses.
There are also Google ads on the website which also provide some income to offset the costs of the dedicated webservers.
Who owns the copyright of Gravestone Photographic Resource photos?
The photographs held by the Gravestone Photographic Resource (GPR) have been taken by volunteers and others who have then given their permission for GPR to distribute them. The copyright of these photographs belongs to the original photographer unless they have specifically given the copyright to the GPR.
The copyright holders allow GPR to distribute free copies of its photographs to given to anyone requesting a copy. The copyright holders extend a right of usage to those people obtaining the images through GPR for use in private publications of family history books (no more than 10 copies) or on the internet web site, provided no charge is made for access to the image either via subscription or a "pay as you go" basis. Such photographs should acknowledge that they were obtained through the GPR and acknowledge that the copyright belongs to a GPR volunteer. The GPR should be notified of any such publication.
GPR photographs may not be sold or used for commercial purposes without obtaining the written permission of the copyright holder through the GPR.
All images published on the GPR website are covered by its copyright.
What does 'Change the amount of detail displayed' do?
The GPR website has been re-written so that it will display different amounts of infromation depending on the types of devices such as smart phones and tablets as well as coping with browser windows that are smaller than a PC screen. If you first enter the GPR website via the home page then your browser and screen width will be automatically discovered. Depending on the discovered browser width, the home page and all subsequent pages will display differently.
Thus, for instance, a smart phone will be shown smaller images and possibly not so many. The amount of information will also change with only the most important details being shown on devices with smaller widths.
If a mobile device is rotated from portrait to landscape the width of the browser window will change. Unfortunately at present the GPR cannot detect these changes and this is why the website has the 'Change the amount of detail displayed' option box on appropriate pages. Using this link will let the GPR system change the amount of detail displayed and return users to the page they came from displaying the appropriate information for the selected level of detail.
If a visitor to the website has entered the GPR website via a search engine link then by default a medium detail level is automatically selected.