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More and more people are choosing cremation as an affordable alternative to burial. What seems to be a simple solution for families is turning out in some cases to be a nightmare for those working in the death care industry. Each year thousands of cremated remains at funeral homes, cremation facilities and governmental agencies nationwide are never claimed.

Funeral director Michael Neal forged a partnership with the Oregon State Hospital to assist in finding families of over 3,500 cremated individuals in their possession. Convinced that the best way to reconnect these families is to harness the power of the internet, Mr. Neal came up with an innovative idea to solve the problem. He launched Forgotten Ashes. This online database currently posts information for more than 1,000 people whose unclaimed cremated remains have yet to be reunited with their kin.

“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.” Anyone can log on to view names of the unclaimed cremated as well as any possible survivors, when available. It is hoped that the information is further shared through social networking to reach as many families as possible.

Adding Cremated Remains listings from Michael Neal on Vimeo.

Cremation providers are encouraged to list their own forgotten inventory and upload related information at no cost. Names and information will be available at any time until the facilities wish to remove them or until the loved one has been claimed.

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