WASHINGTON, Pa. (Feb. 18, 2014) – Every year, thousands of cremated remains go unclaimed for a variety of reasons at funeral homes, cremation providers and local and state agencies across the country.
Attempting to fix that issue, Michael Neal, a funeral director in Washington, Pa., has launched a revolutionary website to help with the painstaking task of identifying those unclaimed cremated remains and reuniting them with their loved ones.
To help with this effort, Mr. Neal is announcing his partnership with the Oregon State Hospital, a division of the Oregon Health Authority, to assist that state with finding the families of more than 3,500 individuals in their care who have been cremated, but never claimed.
“The task of trying to reconnect families with loved ones’ cremated remains in this way has never been done and it would be a shame not to harness the power of the Internet when addressing such an important problem,” Mr. Neal said.
To help with this delicate task, Mr. Neal launched www.ForgottenAshes.com that he hopes will connect families with their deceased relatives. Mr. Neal said the website currently has information for more than 1,000 people whose unclaimed cremated remains are awaiting reunification with their families.
The online database also goes beyond Oregon since anyone can log on to view the registry, and cremation providers may apply for online privileges to upload information related to their own unclaimed inventory at absolutely no cost.
“This has never been done before and is a completely unique service,” Mr. Neal said. “It’s a service with the single purpose of bringing long separated family members and their loved ones together again, thus enabling a final disposition to take place.”
Forgotten Ashes contains the names of the cremated as well as possible survivors, when available, and allows for the easy sharing of that information through social networks. Any funeral home can register to list their own inventory of forgotten ashes, which will be available at any time until they wish to remove them or until they have been claimed.
For more information, go to www.ForgottenAshes.com or email Michael Neal at UnclaimedAshes@gmail.com.