Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Graves Aren't Always Ghoulish

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Graves Aren't Always Ghoulish

Article excerpt

Digging up info on burial sites around the world

Graves make good copy. We've all run the stories about vigils at the final resting spots of celebrities from Elvis and James Dean to Frank Sinatra and Rudolph Valentino.

No wonder some of your readers already have become cemetery tourists, building into their summer vacations a few side trips to famous gravesides. Such interest is a signal that maybe your readers want more from the undertaker beat.

A unique, popular Internet database that keeps tabs on more than 2,500 noteworthy graves can be used for a variety of stories. For instance:

* Looking for an unusual Sunday piece? Have a little funeral fun by feeding readers' curiosity with a feature about notables buried within a 200-mile radius of you.

* Writing a story about a local event that brought historic personages to your community? A sidebar on where the principals now rest can even include driving directions to the grave sites.

* Need a fresh angle for a travel story? You can search by locations to find celebrity graves in specific U.S. states and in other countries.

* Working on stories about entertainment, sports, politics, or crime? This Internet resource also can be searched by occupation or profession to find the graves of famous writers, actors, athletes, and even noteworthy journalists.

To get started with your digging, visit the Find a Grave site (www.finda grave.com) where the introductory page provides assorted search options. The Name option produces a form in which you can enter either a last name or a full name (or even a first name only).

After you've entered data, click on the Search button to see a list of relevant entries. Alternatively, you also can link on a letter of the alphabet on this screen to see a list of notables whose last names begin with that letter.

Most entries on the list have at least a name, an occupation, and the name and location of cemetery where the person is buried. Some entries have additional information, such as the dates of the person's birth and death, cause of death, and sometimes even a sentence or two of biography or special circumstances related to the burial site.

In the list, many of the names are hyperlinked. Click on the link to see a picture of the celebrity's tombstone and/or the grave. Also on this resulting display are links to a map of the cemetery location.

On the site's introductory page is the Find a Location link. Click on this link to reach a hypertext list of U.S. states and other countries. …

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