Posted by Bryony Partridge on October 14, 2015 in Find A Grave, In The Community, United Kingdom

To support the Find A Grave Global Community weekend taking place on Friday, 16th October – Sunday, 18th of October, the team from the Ancestry UK office recently visited our local cemetery in Hammersmith, London to help respond to some of the open photo requests listed.

On a rainy October Monday (perfect mise en scène for a graveyard visit, you might say), we headed to Margravine Cemetery (known as Hammersmith Old Cemetery on the Find A Grave) to try and track down the 15 headstones on the list.

Photo from the Find a Grave mobile app. Download the iOS version here: and Android users can go to:

We split into two groups, each taking a bunch of yellow roses (as a symbol of remembrance) so we could mark the grave of each photo request we were able to fulfill, and it was more of a challenge than initially anticipated!

We started off well, locating one name on the war memorial at the entrance to the graveyard. However, the remaining 14 headstones proved more elusive. Perhaps our eyes were simply not keen enough or maybe they rested amongst some of the headstones whose names were illegible due to age, wear and weathering.

After an hour of fruitless searching, we reluctantly turned and started to head back in the direction of the Ancestry office. But on our way out of the cemetery, our colleague Jack spotted the impressive headstone (pictured) that marked the grave of Charles Morton – listed amongst the outstanding photo requests. Jackpot!

FG_CharlesMortonWe promptly uploaded the photo of Charles’ headstone to his Find a Grave memorial page, where his biography could also be found.

Born in October 1833, Charles came from humble beginnings – he was raised in Ayrshire, Scotland as the son of a coal agent. However by the age of 17 he’d responded to the call of the ocean, moving to Glasgow to become a sailor, before progressing to the role of Assistance Surgeon in His Majesty’s Royal Navy by the time he was 20-years-old. He rose to the rank of Royal Navy Fleet Surgeon in February of 1875 and served on the HMS Iron Duke, Flagshire of China Station (Singapore, Tamar and Hong Kong). Charles retired as Fleet Surgeon in September 1887, but was given a position as Inspector General of Hospitals and Fleets, Honorary Member. He lived in West Kensington, London until his death in 1910.

Uploading the photo of Charles’ grave allowed us to get in touch with the person who had submitted the image request – James Morton, a Canadian whose ancestry links back to Scotland (and Charles) on his paternal side. James has kindly allowed us to share the story of his ancestor Charles, and we’ve enjoyed learning about some of the other stories he’s discovered through his research.

Although we weren’t able to fulfil all of the outstanding picture requests, it was a worthwhile trip – we were able to get to know our local cemetery better, support the Find A Grave community, Charles’ descendant and make friends with a few inquisitive squirrels along the way.

We also spotted a few of the more unusual and impressive headstones in the cemetery. See those photos below.

To find out more about the Find A Grave Global Community Day, see this blog post.

(Many thanks to Find A Grave and Ancestry member James Morton for this further detail on Charles’ life)


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Bryony Partridge

Bryony is the International PR Manager for Ancestry where she implements strategic communications and social media programs that bring increased media awareness for the company.


  1. Patricia R. Flemming

    I have been a member of Ancestry and also Find a Grave. Been a great help to me to find my own family. I just wish some would quit gets mean about requests for changes and so forth on both Ancestry and Find a Grave. Thanks for the hard work

  2. Janice

    Thanks to these volunteers. I would love it if they could go to Wandsworth Cemetery in the London area too. Have a 2nd great-grandmother and great-grand aunt buried there. My photo requests have been submitted.

    • Brian L Wragg

      I agree. The cost of maintaining Ancestry membership together with all the add on’s that come with it is prohibitive. I would love to get into North America but I just cannot afford o upgrade my membership. Pity really because there is so much out there that I cannot access

  3. Brian L Wragg

    I live close to Wallasey Cemetery Rake Lane in Wirral and I regularly visit Anfield and Everton cemeteries in Liverpool. I am willing to take photos of any memorial in these cemeteries. Any other cemeteries in my locality can also be visited.

  4. jasonsmith smith

    Thank you so much for this. I was into this issue and tired to tinker around to check if its possible but couldnt get it done. Now that i have seen the way you did it, thanks guys

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