Find A Grave is a website where you can find a grave. It is somewhat like a wiki (but not quite) in that anyone can enter a grave (That's putting one on the site, not "entering" a grave), but the people creating the page retain control over it - you can request edits that need to be approved.
In 1995, back in the early days of the Internet, Salt Lake City resident Jim Tipton started up a site for his hobby of visiting the burial sites of celebrities. Eventually he opened up the site to all human graves. Genealogists were happy to start adding graves in nearby cemeteries.
By 2015, there were over 138 million graves listed. Its not all graves, either - it's really more "final resting place". They have listings for cremation, donating your body For Science!, Never Found the Body, Not Enough to Bury, etc.
If the grave of someone you know is across the country, this lets you visit and pay your respects virtually. Armchair genealogists love the site as a way to follow family history without leaving the house - it used to be you would have to leave the house, go to a cemetery and search for a person's stone. Cemeteries, in an effort to keep the ground tidy and uncluttered by signage, are rather notorious for having plot location systems that are not casual-user friendly, and no one standing around or available to help point you in the right directionnote . Also, some say the site is in some ways better than a cemetery, because here you can actually get an inkling more about the person than their name, birth and death dates - here you can see what they looked like, how they died, and what sort of person they were.
However the site is not without its detractors. Some people are opposed to people profiting off their family's graves (the site runs on ad revenue). Some people have trouble gaining control of the pages belonging to a loved one's grave. Sometimes people post copyrighted photos. You're not supposed to cut and paste an obituary into the deceased's page as a biographynote . As with all websites random users can contribute to (as with TV Tropes), there's a fine line to walk between public information, privacy and the cost of maintaining a site.
Just like how people who use TV Tropes are Tropers, Find a Grave folks are called "Gravers". There's an online forum where Gravers can talk. It's is inevitable that some tropers have found their way into the grave, so there's probably some listed there, too - not likely by their TV Tropes handle, though. (However, there are over 20 people with the surname "Troper"....)
Tropes that apply to Find a Grave:
- Clown-Car Grave: Well, in Real Life they are mass graves, and they do exist - like the Mass Grave for the Mayflower Pilgrims. However unlike in many examples of this trope, no one comes out of them.
- Creepy Cemetery: Averted. The site is intended to be open and welcoming.
- Due to the Dead: You can leave virtual flowers on graves - you can also choose to leave virtual beer or cigarettes.
- Elephant Graveyard: Yep, they have elephant's graves listed too, like Mary the Elephant.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: Can't be stressed enough. This site involves dead people. Period.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: 22 with the last name "Dead". 11 "Goner"s. Over 500 whose last name is "Grave" or "Graves", so you can REALLY FIND-A-"GRAVE"!
- Grave Humor: The site is a great place to find this trope in Real Life. Barbara Manire Had an "Expired" parking meter installed on hers. Albert DuRee's headstone listed the wrong birth date, and the correcter crossed out the wrong date and included "Oops!" with the correction.
- Grave-Marking Scene: you can do this via the site.
- Infant Immortality: Averted, naturally - because, sadly, children do sometimes die. Often the parents don't want to discuss it and friends don't ask. These children tend to fade away into oblivion, with no parents - or even a name - listed on their stone. One of the positive aspects of the site is these graves of children are now more public than they would be otherwise. Those children are less forgotten than they were as a tombstone tucked in the back of the cemetery and only passed by a lawn mower once a week in warm weather. Here's an example: "Infant".
- Never Found the Body: "Graves" without bodies are called cenotaphs, and there are plenty on Find a Grave.
- Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Some pages do this to a fault, going beyond simply propping a person up. Expect some pages to go on about a person as if they never made any mistakes in life, were a good [religious sect member] their whole life, that they never pooped their diapers or had a bad day...
- Prematurely Marked Grave: Find a Grave prefers people to be dead when they get Find-a-Grave pages, but some people skip that. There are some people on Find A Grave who have a picture of themselves with their tombstone, like this guy and others.
- Punny Name: Again, a great source. Icy Bridge, Ima Hogg, Lily Plant...
- Repetitive Name: There are over 160 "John John"s, Over 50 "Smith Smith"s, 15 "Mary Mary"s....
- Russian Reversal: One Graver on the forums said that when she told her elderly father about the website, he said "Find a Grave? At my age, the grave is trying to find ME!"
- Seeking the Missing, Finding the Dead: A use of the site is when you wonder what happened to someone you knew long ago, type in their name and find them listed.
- Talking to the Dead: Many people leave posts on graves as this.
- The Problem with Pen Island: Arthur Spanks's name is funny enough, but the lack of the word "and" on the tombstone was hilarious, making Arthur Spanks his wife Katherine
- Together in Death: Couple's graves.
- Unfortunate Names: There are two "Fuckers", over 100 "Harry Dick"s.
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Dude Smith's parents, for one...
...and a Note...