Saturday, March 2, 2019

Unsung Heroes Award - Young People

The Genealogy Guys Podcast and the Vivid-Pix Unsung Heroes Blog are well aware of the desire of genealogical and historical societies to attract new members, and particularly younger people into their midst. Many approaches are being used to get younger people involved in learning about their ancestry, and the earlier the spark is lit the better.

Many success stories result from family interactions. The sharing of stories, eliciting interest of family photographs, exposure to documents about ancestors and family members into geographical location, time period, and historical and social context help bring those people's into perspective and "bring them back to life."

Some families engage in visiting, researching, and documenting cemeteries. Work on Find A Grave has been under way for decades, resulting in a massive volunteer-based database of cemeteries, burials, memorials, photographs, and a wealth of other data. The more recently created BillionGraves, a web-based counterpart to Find A Grave, has increased accessibility to cemetery information and more.

As our first set of Young People winners for the Unsung Heroes Award, we want to recognize four participants in a county weekly cemetery documentation effort. They come from Alachua County, Florida, and not surprisingly are yet another part of Individual Unsung Hero winner Jim Powell's genealogical passion.

We're offering casual videos of four young volunteers. We hope you enjoy them and will expose other younger people to the fun, challenge, and joy of preservation. (These videos are in MP4 format.)

Taylor Griffith - Taylor has helped with the documentation of almost every cemetery in Alachua County. She took the lead position and showed her talents and determination to get the job done. She has been cleaning and recording gravestone markers for preservation and for publication at the online site

Elora Powell - Elora wasn't always into the cemetery stone documentation process. While working on a particularly hard to read, much less photographable stone, she may have been sort of whining about the bad stone. Her father knelt down and said something about the fact that the stone will only get worse and the information that she can recover from the marker would be preserved. From that point forward, Elora became a dedicated grave marker preservationist. Many of these images are on the online site

Rianna Griffith - Rianna has helped with most of the cemeteries in Alachua County, and she was eager to go and help. She cleans and photographs grave markers to preserve information for the future. She has become an expert photographer of gravestones and has proved invaluable in her work. Her work also appears on

Camara (Mara) Casson -  is a Phillip Farner Scholar at Florida Tech and headed to Oxford this summer. She is slow and technical, always looking for perfection. She was always ready to go and spend hours in the heat or rain or cold to help with this project and  participate with almost all the cemeteries in Alachua County. She cleaned and photographed many grave markers for preservation of the information and for the online site at

All of these young people form a tight team that has built something much bigger than themselves for their county.

We Sing Your Praises!

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