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Iowa Gravestone Photo Project History

The "Gravestone Photo Project" or "GPP" was first undertaken as a single county gravestone photo archive.  Originating in January 2003, it has grown to include independently managed repositories in over twenty states.

Project Roots

The project first began when Rich Lowe, an IAGenWeb Project county coordinator, wanted to store his Van Buren County Iowa GenWeb cemetery photos in a searchable database.

Since there was no known existing software that allowed Rich to have the functionality needed... he contacted his son Jeff Lowe (a website programmer) to see what kind of effort would be needed to create a tool that would not only store the images but also be designed with an easy-to-use upload interface that site visitors could use to contribute gravestone photos of their ancestors.

It soon became evident that the tool was capable of storing tens of thousands of records rather than the hundreds of records originally planned -- and that with further modification it could be useful to other county coordinators statewide with it's combined database being available for individual county or statewide searches.

Project Timeline

  • July 2002 - Van Buren Co. Iowa site is conceptualized and work commences on the GPP software.
  • January 2003 - IowaGravestones.org goes online
  • September 2003 - ArizonaGravestones.org goes online
  • April 2004 - ColoradoGravestones.org goes online
  • November 2004 to Today - Over 30 states are now using the software.

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