As cremation continues to grow in popularity throughout North America, so is the percentage of cremains that are being left unclaimed. Year after year, cremains are going unclaimed at cremation providers, funeral homes, and at local and state agencies. Sometimes, the family members legally responsible for picking up cremains assume they have already been buried or scattered, or in other cases, have been estranged from their loved ones and have not been given notice of their passing. As a result, cremains are being kept in storage facilities and not being reunited with friends and family members.
According to the Cremation Association of North America, the nationwide cremation rate is expected to reach 50 percent by the year 2025, which could result in unclaimed cremains becoming a major storage problem across the United States. However, a funeral director named Michael Neal from the William G. Neal Funeral Home in Pennsylvania has recently developed a website that he hopes will become a major resource in the matching of unclaimed cremains with their surviving relatives.
The website is www.ForgottenAshes.com, and is essentially a large online database where cremation providers can post information about unclaimed cremains. The website is Neal’s personal project, and is not intended to generate additional revenue for his funeral home business. Cremation and funeral providers can visit the Forgotten Ashes website and catalogue their entire inventories of all unclaimed cremains. Visitors can then view the cremains registry, and contact the cremation provider directly to learn more about how to claim the cremains of their relatives.
Any cremation provider is welcome to visit Forgotten Ashes and catalogue their collection of unclaimed cremains. Businesses are also encouraged to post their inventory of unclaimed cremains even if they already have them posted on their own websites. Neal believes that by broadening exposure to unclaimed cremains, more and more relatives will have the ability to step forward to claim their relatives or ancestors, which could be helpful considering there may be tens of thousands of unclaimed cremains throughout the country.
Family-owned and operated, Heartland Cremation believes that family comes first, and is dedicated to working with you to ensure your loved one receives the honorable service they deserve. Please contact Heartland Cremation for more information about funeral and cremation services in the greater Kansas City area.