When Cremains Are Found-- Finding the Family

+4 votes
Hey everyone, I need some help. Those who know me know I am technologically challenged using computers in some ways and have no idea how to set something up.

I recently discovered there is a growing challenge in the U.S.

Because cremation is a growing trend, with foreclosures, evictions and storage lockers going unpaid, more and more peoples ashes are ending up with strangers.

I was contacted by some LDS Elders to help find the family that an urn of ashes belonged to. They had been contacted by a man who has a business of buying out storage lockers when people haven't paid their bills. He always tries to find the families when this happens. He says it happens pretty consistently. He had been trying to find the family of this person for 2 years and after he got in contact with me I began searching.

 The local library genealogy department said they had already tried. I got lucky and after a couple of weeks of searching I finally found a member of the family and we got Mama to a daughter. She had no idea mama had been lost. She was so thankful. (I warned her when I left the message it was going to be a strange one.)

Anyhow, Robert, the storage locker guy, says this is a growing challenge. He said if I could come up with a clearinghouse so people could make connections he would get the word out and he had no doubt it would spread nationwide in nothing flat.

I need help setting up a special project page. A place where people can add to a list of "found" urns and contact information. I was hoping some others besides me might be able to help with searches. What do you suggest? Does anyone have the technical skills to help me set this up? I really appreciate any help to brainstorm how this might be done. And I need a name for the project. Since the ashes of a woman named Carol gave us the idea I thought we might call it the Carol Project. I am open to any and all suggestions and help.
in Genealogy Help by Barbara Shoff G2G6 Mach 2 (23.0k points)

2 Answers

+3 votes
Hi Barbara,

What an interesting story, and an interesting problem!

I would suggest a project name of "Missing Cremains". It's more descriptive for those who would be interesting in finding it.

I might be interested in helping such a project, with I hope some others as well. However, before I jump in, I have some concerns relating to privacy. I'd like to see to some suggestions, either from you or interested others, on how such a project would tackle this problem. Either the privacy of the people who find cremains, or the privacy of who they might belong to.
by Eric Weddington G2G6 Pilot (527k points)
+5 votes
There is a group of genealogists who do this kind of work. It is called Unclaimed_Persons.org. They do it for County Coroners, Medical Examiners and cemeteries. I think they would be interested in helping.  Try them. I have volunteered for them in the past, and I know they are very successful.
by Vic Watt G2G6 Pilot (364k points)
Thank you Vic. I have contacted them. Sounds like a very interesting group.

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