I love them. I love them, I love them, I love them. A few examples:
1) Darla, who at least weekly posts a message on my Rootsweb family tree that comes to my email. Usually her messages contain information from a book called Tombstone Hoppin', showing where family members are buried, adding to their birth, death, or relationship information. Darla is no relation, but she has this book, and she goes through my list of people and finds them in her book, and tells me what the book says about each one. Her thoughtfulness and kindness are amazing.
2) The cemetery caretakers, office workers, and funeral home employees who answer my many phone calls. "Is so-and-so buried in your cemetery?" Bless them all for their patience. They are ALWAYS nice. I'm sure they get quite a few of these requests and they must be used to it by now, but I always appreciate their kind manner and willingness to look people up for me - and then make copies and mail me stuff. Not one of them has ever asked a cent. Maybe they hope I'll throw some funeral business their way.
3) Volunteers at Findagrave.com. If you're thinking, "Here she goes with the Findagrave thing again -" too bad, because those people are made of gold. I love the networking factor: if I want a picture of a relative's headstone but don't live anywhere near that area, I can place a photo request. It's so easy. I just click on a button and my request is automatically sent out to people who have signed up to be volunteers in that area. The wonderful volunteers, like Joanne and Tracy and Donna, after accepting these requests, take time out of their busy lives to go to the cemetery, find our relatives' headstones (or lack thereof), take pictures and post them online. How Heaven-sent is that? We can't all get around to all the cemeteries we'd like to go to, but we have this website and great people to connect us with our loved ones in that way.
More than providing a way to see our ancestors' final resting places (and a chance to leave "virtual flowers" for them), the memorial pages at Findagrave very often provide valuable genealogical information - names, dates, places, parents' names, spouses' names, life histories that point us in the right direction. Also, seeing the headstone of someone whose name I've only seen on paper makes that person seem more "real" to me. I feel closer to her, knowing that I am looking on the ground where she was last seen by her dear family.
Just this morning I received another email saying a photo request had been fulfilled, for my very elusive Aunt Dott. What a blessing to finally find her, to know when and where she died and where she was buried.
Bless you all, you wonderful sharers - may I be counted among your ranks.