The best way to begin is to tell you how we have arrived to this point and why. Our line of family has been fortunate that over the last few generations one in the family has fairly consistently taken the lead in collecting and sharing information about the family lineage and current life activities. In recent memory Wilbur W. Yates 1915-2006 was the primary memory keeper, then James R. Yates b. ca 1936 became interested and now Ronald E. Yates b. ca 1947 is on duty.
Each generation has used its version of technology; Wilbur Yates used a typewriter and the US Post office exclusively. James R. Yates initiated the first internet use with a family website and Family Tree Maker to keep track of details. Now we have dedicated History and Genealogy websites, Facebook Groups, e-mail and an increasing amount of records available for the looking from the digital world.
But in the end, nothing beats fieldwork! In our case we have been fortunate to understand the basics of our immediate line and their migration routes. The three already mentioned have taken several field trips together and independently which has carried us into many cemeteries, archives and court house searching out details. Much of this time has been dominated by remembrance, storytelling and laughter.
We also have been touched by the endings we learn about our ancestors and continue to be amazed at the number of cemeteries containing markers, fieldstones or other ways to remember the young ones that never made it. And we are saddened by the number of ancestors and relatives that are buried but lie in unmarked graves or have markers that have severely deteriorated.
We have many stories we could tell about this but it always ends up with we have furnished and repaired many graves markers and headstones but we simply do not have the resources to do much that would make a difference. We decided there must be a better way to provide a decedent with the simple dignity of marking where they have been buried. Conversely, we want to find a way to make a difference and make it easier for those we know will follow us in the pursuit of knowledge about their ancestors. It shouldn't be that hard!