Find a Grave: Not All It Is Cracked Up to Be

Find A Grave is a popular website that allows users to search for and locate grave sites of ancestors and other notable individuals. The website also allows users to create and manage memorials for deceased loved ones, and to share photos and other information about the deceased. While Find A Grave can be a resource for genealogists and others interested in learning more about their ancestors, there are also some disadvantages to consider.

  1. Inaccurate or incomplete information: One of the biggest concerns with Find A Grave is the accuracy and completeness of the information on the site. While Find A Grave’s mission is to
    “find, record and present final disposition information as a virtual cemetery experience”, one area they seem to fall short in is how their data is managed, confirmed, validated, and/or fact-checked. As a result, it is not uncommon to find memorials with incorrect dates, locations, or a general lack of sources for where information came from.
  2. Lack of privacy: Another disadvantage of Find A Grave is the lack of privacy for the individuals listed on the site. While the website does allow users to request that a memorial be removed or edited, this process can be time-consuming and may not always be successful. This can be particularly problematic for individuals who are concerned about their privacy or who do not want their personal information to be publicly available.
  3. Limited information: While Find A Grave does contain a wealth of information about grave sites and the individuals buried there, it is not comprehensive. The website relies on user contributions, and as a result, there may be large gaps in the information available or conflated information. This can make it difficult for genealogists to find complete and accurate information about their ancestors.
  4. The possibility of vandalism: Unfortunately, Find A Grave is not immune to vandalism. In the past, there have been instances of users creating fake memorials or making inappropriate comments or edits to existing ones. While the website does have measures in place to prevent and address this type of behavior, it is still a concern for those using the site.

Overall, Find A Grave can be a useful resource for genealogists and others interested in learning more about their ancestors burial locations. However, it is important to keep in mind the potential disadvantages of the website and to use it in conjunction with other sources in order to verify and supplement the information you find.

Martin Wolcik (1903-1971)

Martin Wolcik was born on January 28, 1903, in Harris County, Texas to parents Joseph and Frantiska (Clawson) Wolcik.

In 1910, Martin lived with his parents in Harris County, Texas.1

Martin married Mary Peters on 14 April 1925 in Crosby, Texas at the age of 22.2 The officiator was Rev. Frank H. Horak, who had the unique distinction of being the first native son of the Unity of the Brethren in Texas to be ordained as its pastor. At the time, Mary was already pregnant with their first child, Glorine Bessie at the time and in 1928 they had their second daughter, Lillie Mae3.

In 1930, Martin lived with his wife and two children in the home of Mary’s parents. The home was a small homestead located on Peters Rd. (named for the family) in Crosby, Harris County, Texas.4 In 1940, Martin was still with his wife and two children on the Peters family homestead in Crosby.5

Martin died on 1 November 1971, in Harris County, Texas, at the age of 68, and was interred in Sterling-White Cemetery, Highlands, Texas.6

Josef Volčík (1830 – before 1920)


Josef Volčík was born in the small town of Vsetín, situated in the historical Moravian lands of the Austrian Empire, under the rule of Francis I, first Emperor of Austria. While his headstone, one of the original clues to his birthplace and lineage, indicates a birth date of 18281, Parish Registers from the region have uncovered Josef’s baptismal record which indicates that his birth actually coincided with his parents’ second marriage anniversary on 27 Jan 1830.2

Little is known of Josef’s early life as he grew up through the latter Metternich years. The year 1848 was a time of European-wide revolution. There was a general disgust with domestic policies, socio economic problems caused by the Industrial Revolution, increasing hunger and poverty caused by the mid-1840’s harvest failures, and a growing urge for more freedoms which all contributed to civil unrest. At this time, Josef would have been 18 and most likely already a few years into his occupational years.

Despite the growing turmoil, including the period of neo-absolutism at the hands of the Minister of the Interior, Baron Alexander von Bach, we know that Josef met his wife, Anna Cmerek3 of the neighboring town of Jablůnka, and the two were eventually married on the 20th of November, 1855.

Cmerek is a name that is commonly misspelled throughout many online family trees and transcriptions as 'Lmerka'. Confusion in the proper spelling comes from how the name is used within a sentence - where Cmerek becomes Cmerka. Coupled with cursive writing, the 'C' looks much like an 'L', leading to the incorrect formulation of 'Lmerka'.

After the Ausgleich (Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867) established the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary (also known as the Austro-Hungarian Empire), Josef embarked upon a journey to the United States aboard the bark Erna, sailing from Bremen, Austria. He was accompanied by his wife Anna, as well as his four (4) minor children:4

  • Johann [aka John] (b. 11 Jun 1859 – d. 31 Dec 1943)5 6 7
  • Stepan [aka Stephen/Stephan] (b. 14 May 1861 – d. 10 Jan 1933)8 9
  • Anna (b. 30 Jun 1867 – d. unknown)10
  • Josef [aka Joseph] (b. 7 Feb 1870 – d. before 1875)11
There has been a suggestion that a Veronica Volcik may be a child of Josef and Anna. According to a death record notice in Fayette County (near Fayetteville), Texas - Veronica Volcik died at the age of 44 years, 2 months on Sept. 13, 1903. This suggests a birth date of July 1859, the same year as the oldest Volcik son, Johann (John). Based on the sources available, primarily the baptism and immigration records, this connection seems highly improbable and has been ruled out as a child of Josef and Anna.

Settling in Fayette County, Texas, Josef purchased land in which to farm. His property was located in the J.M. Burton League, amounting to 109 1/3 acres.12 In an extract from Frank Lotto’s self-published works on Fayette County, Texas,13 we can identify the boundaries of the J.M. Burton League and the relative area in which the family lived and worked, within the short expanse of land between Ellinger proper and Fayetteville proper:

No. 6 — Ellinger shall be composed of the following leagues and surveys; The J. Petty, J. M. Burton, all of the W. O. Burnham and Lucy Kerr leagues lying southwest of the Biegel and Ellinger road, all of the S. A. Anderson lying southeast of Sarrazin’s Creek, and all of the Jos. Duty, W. T. Dunlavy and Jog. Ehlinger lying in Fayette County. All elections hereafter held in said Precinct shall be held at Ellinger.

No. 7 — Fayetteville is bounded as follows : Beginning at Colorado County line at Cummin’s Creek, to the mouth of Clear Creek ; thence up the said Clear Creek to the southeast line of N. Townsend league ; thence to the south corner of said league ; thence along the northeast lines of the Hensley league to its east corner; thence along the southeast lines of Hensley and Biegel leagues to the Biegel and Ellinger road ; thence with said road to the northwest line of the J. M. Burton league ; thence along the northwest line of said league to its north corner; thence along the northeast line of said league to the east corner of said league; thence with the Ehlinger league line to Colorado County line; thence with said county line to the place of beginning.

While living in Fayette County, Josef and Anna had two more sons:

  • Joseph (b. 1 Jun 1875 – d. 9 Oct 1964)14
  • Frank (b. 26 Jun 1877 – d. 5 Mar 1960)15
While researching the children of Josef and Anna, there have been a few questions raised as to the naming of two sons Joseph (Josef). For years, these sons were conflated as the same person in many online family trees. For clarity, I will call them J1 and J2 in this note. According to immigration record of 1870, J1 was a 7 month old son, which suggests a birth date in the first half of 1870. A recently discovered parish record confirms that there was a son, Josef, born 7 Feb 1870 to Josef and Anna in Vsetin, Moravia. After landing in Fayette County, ten years later in the 1880 census we find J2 listed as 4 years old and being born in Texas, suggesting a birth date of 1875-1876. This Joseph has since been proven through known death and census records. Research and available sources indicate that these are two very distinct persons, the eldest presumed deceased in Fayette County after migration and possibly even before the age of majority.

Sometime around a $1,500 deed of the land to son Frank recorded in 1899,16 and a subsequent $1,200 quitclaim deed, interest to son Joseph in 1904,17 18 19 20 Josef and Anna moved 100 miles away (as the crow flies) to Harris County, settling in the small town of Crosby.

By 1906, in Vol. 16 of the Obzor (a semi-monthly Czech language agricultural and horticultural newspaper published between 1891 and 1914), we find the startup charter of Řád Prapor Magnolie, číslo 65 (the Magnolia Battalion, number 65) in Crosby, of which Josef is a founding member and elected as the order’s Secretary.21

In an excerpt from ‘A History of the Czech-Moravian Catholic Communities of Texas’, V.A. Svrcek wrote that when he came to Crosby, there was already an established Czech presence:22

Crosby, Texas Some 24 miles east of the city of Houston, in Harris County, is the small but prosperous town of Crosby, with some 20 Czech families. The Czech people began to move here around 1910. In 1912, I. P. Krenek moved here, and there were already the families of Josef Volčik, F. J. Moravek, Joseph Širočka, Karel Machala, Joseph Franta, John Kristinik, Stasny and Clawson.

Josef remained in Crosby throughout the rest of his life, living with his wife Anna at the home of his son Frank. While an exact date of death is unknown, Josef passed away between 1912 (mention in NASE DEJINY) and 1920 (before the census). Josef was interred at White Cemetery in the neighboring town of Highlands. His headstone, written in Czech, reads:

Zde v Panu Odpociva Here lies at rest
Josef Volčík manzel Josef Volcik husband [of]
Anny Volčíkovi narozen Anna Volcik born
dne 27 ledna roku 1828 27 January 1828
vs Vstine Morave z rodicu at Vsetin, Moravia to parents
Anny a Jíří Volčík Anna and George Volcik


Age Date Event
27 Jan 1830 Born in the town of Vsetín, situated in the historical Moravian lands of the Austrian Empire, house #359.
25 20 Nov 1855 Married to Anna Cmerek in Jablůnka.
29 11 Jun 1859 Birth of first son and first child, Johann [John].
31 14 May 1861 Birth of second son and second child, Stepan.
37 30 Jun 1867 Birth of first daughter and third child, Anna.
40 7 Feb 1870 Birth of third son and fourth child, Josef.
25 Oct 1870 Travelled to Prussia and boarded the Bark Erna with his family for the voyage to America
28 Oct 1870 Arrived in Galveston, Texas with his family and settled in the area around Fayette County.
45 1 Jun 1875 Birth of fourth son and fifth child, Joseph.
47 26 Jun 1877 Birth of fifth son and sixth child, Frank.
69 21 Dec 1899 Gave deed to land in the J.M. Burton League to his son Frank.
76 1 Aug 1906 Mentioned in Vol. 16 of the Obzor as a founding member of Řád Prapor Magnolie, číslo 65 (the Magnolia Battalion, number 65) in which he was elected the Secretary. 
after 1912 -before 1920 Passed away and was interred at [Sterling-]White Cemetery in Highlands, Texas.

Family Unit

Family Group Sheet for Josef Volčík

WikiTree and the Power of Collaborative Genealogy

WikiTree is a collaborative genealogy website that has quickly become one of the go-to family tree websites for genealogists across the world. Founded in 2008 by Chris Whitten, WikiTree is a free online community that empowers genealogists to contribute to a single family tree, connect with others who are researching shared topics of interest, and collaborate on shared ancestors and deep research.

But what makes WikiTree stand out from other genealogy websites? And why should new and advanced genealogists consider using it as a home for their research? Here are just a few of the benefits of WikiTree and collaborative genealogy.

  1. Free access to a wealth of information: One of the biggest draws of WikiTree is that it is completely free to use. This means that genealogists of all levels can access a wealth of information and member resources without having to pay a subscription fee. In addition to being able to create and share their own family branches, genealogists can also browse and contribute to the branches of others, all while being able to access a variety of research tools and applications.
  2. A sense of community: Among the leading challenges to genealogy is that it can be a very lonely pursuit. Many genealogists work on their own, spending hours poring over records and documents in an effort to piece together their family history. But with WikiTree, genealogists can easily connect with other members who share common ancestors and or to collaborate on research efforts. This sense of community can be especially helpful for those who are just starting out in genealogy and are looking for guidance and support.
  3. Accuracy and reliability: A major concern for genealogists is the accuracy and reliability of the information they are using. When working on your own, it can often be difficult to verify the accuracy of certain pieces of information or determine where a particular piece of information came from. With WikiTree, genealogists can take advantage of the collective knowledge and expertise of the community to verify and source their information. In addition, WikiTree has a set of guidelines and standards that genealogists are encouraged to follow in order to ensure the accuracy and reliability of their research.
  4. Collaboration and sharing: Collaborative genealogy is all about sharing information and working together to build upon each other’s research. With WikiTree, genealogists can easily share their findings with others and collaborate on projects. This can be especially helpful when you are stuck on a particular ancestor or are trying to verify a piece of information. By collaborating with others and tapping into the knowledge and expertise of other members, you have access to a wealth of information and resources that you might not have been able to access on your own.

Overall, the benefits of WikiTree and collaborative genealogy are numerous and undeniable. From free access and the ability to connect with others, WikiTree can be a valuable and fun resource for genealogists of all levels. Whether you are just starting out in genealogy or have been researching your family history for years, WikiTree is a great place to connect with others, share your findings, and build upon each other’s research.