How to identify your ancestors’ final resting place using Google maps for graves.


How to identify your ancestors’ final resting place using Google maps for graves.

As efforts to record Church of England graveyards gain traction, surveyors inspired by Google Maps may soon be able to assist people reconnect with their past.

Since the beginning of its maps service in 2005, Google has dispatched dedicated mappers all over the world. For nearly two decades, cars and occasionally persons equipped with video capture gear have stalked neighborhoods, providing a reliable tool for traveling the world. With a grave finding tool, surveyors seek to leverage the tech giant’s capabilities to direct individuals to their forebears.

Tim Viney, the owner of Atlantic Geomatics, a land surveying firm located in Penrith, aims to cross Church of England graveyards in a massive surveying project.

Four teams have been supported by Historic England, the National Lottery, Family Search, and My Heritage genealogy sites to walk across the country’s 19,000 gravesites.

Each team must map and photograph apiece site’s grave, headstone, and memorial using backpack laser scanners costing £100,000 each.

According to Mr Viney, the project will eventually result in “Google Maps for graves.”

Mr Viney and his colleagues will establish a database that anyone can use to track down their forebears.

They should be able to find an image of their requested gravestone and read its associated inscription for free once the site is finished.

A premium version could provide you access to more detailed church records.

The surveyor also intends to scan burial records, which may aid in the identification of relatives buried in unmarked graves.

Although it is not yet ready for publication, it will relieve some of the strain on vicars, who presently handle the majority of inquiries from amateur genealogists.

According to The Times, Mr Viney plans to move from north to south, starting with Cumbria this week.

Grasmere, the final resting place of 19th-century poet laureate William Wordsworth, would be one of his first stops.

He told the outlet that his teams notify parishes ahead of time of their arrival and that on the job, they “are asked all kinds of things.”

Although the concept isn’t wholly novel, the implementation will be groundbreaking in terms of grave site.

Several websites have already started compiling national and worldwide grave databases., for example, claims to have the “world’s greatest graveyard collection” of over 190 million markers.

Since 1995, a community-led effort has been collecting data, although not to the extent that Mr Viney has proposed.

According to Andrew Rumsey, Bishop of Ramsbury and lead bishop for “Brinkwire Summary News,” his UK-focused project would make information “more fully and freely accessible than ever before.”


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