Why Is There So Much Drama On Find A Grave?

Why Is There So Much Drama On Find A Grave?

by Kerry Scott on 13 April 2011

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Find A Grave is one of those tools that appeared while I was away from my research for ten years. I’ve used it to find graves (and even living descendants who have posted memorials), but I haven’t actually contributed anything, and don’t really understand how it works. I get that volunteers enter information and photos, and that other people can post memorials and stuff, but there seems to be an ownership component that I don’t get. From what I’ve seen lately, the ownership of the online graves or memorials and some of the other features seem to cause some occasional drama.

So I’m curious. Do you use Find A Grave? Do you contribute? Have your good experiences outweighed the bad? What advice would you give to someone who is new to the site and wants to begin contributing?

Photo by kyle simourd

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Tracy April 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Overall I have had a very positive experience with Find A Grave. I have contributed about 50 or so memorials of those individuals that I am related to. I have set up some virtual cemeteries that contain the memorials I manage as well as other relatives I have found and use those in an effort to connect to other researchers. I have even made a couple of distant cousin connections.

However, what is it about that one bad apple that ruins it for everyone?!?!? Unfortunately I am distantly related to this particular bad apple who is most definitely in it for the numbers. We have corresponded extensively via email and he aggressively seeks out memorials to get them transferred to him, regardless of the four generation “rule”. I transferred one to him, which he promptly deleted and set up his own. I know he has done that with 100+ memorials in a small mountain cemetery. He adamantly believes the only way to make F.A.G. “fun” (his term, not mine) was to create family links between all his memorials. When someone doesn’t jump on making that link for him, he just creates a duplicate memorial. He even went so far as to say he was creating his entire family tree, hopefully back to Adam, on F.A.G. Frankly, his behavior has taken all of the “fun” out of it for me.

While I still find this website to be a very valuable tool and will continue to use it, people like him have left a bitter taste in my mouth.

Kerry Scott April 18, 2011 at 12:54 pm

The “back to Adam” part amuses me. Good luck with that, buddy.

What I’m learning from these comments is that FAG is like any other collection of humans: Most people are cool. A few people suck. The sucky people can cause the cool people a disproportionate amount of grief.

Tracy April 18, 2011 at 1:06 pm

You have hit the nail on the head! This one individual has made my experience miserable. I am so annoyed (and that’s the nicest word I can think of) with him, I have nearly avoided the site altogether.

Lee November 17, 2012 at 6:22 pm

It’s not possible to delete a memorial that someone else has created on Find a Grave. I tried once when someone transferred 2 memorials for the same person to me. Can’t be done.

J. F. Shank March 2, 2013 at 2:44 pm

One use to be able to delete a memorial another made, if they trasfered it to you. But F.A.G. changed this because too many were deleting the origional to make a new one with their own name on it. Now you can transfer but not delete. You would have to trasfer it back to the person who created it, and they, then, could delete it.

Glenn April 19, 2011 at 11:46 am

Findagrave is one of the most incredible genealogical research tools out there (besides Ancestry.com). If all elements (names, dates, places) are included on the memorial page, it can lead to many discoveries. If there’s a grave stone, you know you’ve found the final resting place of that person—in most cases.

Sadly, there are the “number whores” out there who run through cemeteries taking photos and erroneously enter those stones on FaG just so their contribution number is insanely high. AND…they never volunteer to update them to correct their misinformaiton. [If you've ever come across "The Guardian", you'll know what I mean. FaG has finally inactivated this diabolical person but has yet to delete all the error-filled entries they created. So, here I am having to duplicate the memorials with CORRECT information.]

If you get involved with Findagrave.com, please be as vigilant as possible to the details. The adage, “If it’s written in stone, it must be true” is anything BUT true. Remember, each entry is a legacy to the person laying in the ground. If you’re going to take the time to record their memorial, do them the honor of making sure their information is correct. Research them online (Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, etc), ask the caretaker for their burial location, try to include their parents’ names and dates. It’s all part of connecting lives through the ages. Let’s do it right!

Lee November 17, 2012 at 6:29 pm

I agree. Also, please don’t just run around the cemetery snapping photos from so far away that you can’t even read the inscription and then post them with a tiny headstone in a sea of grass, unedited. Another trade mark of the people who just love numbers and don’t care about the genealogy. Those photos are useless for documentation.

Amy Crooks April 21, 2011 at 6:55 am

Very good advise Glenn. There are those few that irritate the heck out of you in all the online communities out there, but for the most part I have found FAG a very useful resource in my research and I’ve enjoyed meeting new people through my contributions.

I did enter one whole cemetery. It’s old and abandoned and I’ve been researching the lives of those buried there and placing the stories as I complete them on my blog, but even though this is my project that I am passionate about I still give the memorials over to family if they contact me, or just make the changes they request if that’s all they want. It doesn’t matter to me, as long as the information is there for everyone.

Lee November 17, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Most of the people I’ve encountered on Find a Grave have been wonderful. I’ve only enountered one problem individual who I refer to as the “Hostage Taker”. Most people are in it for generous motives and will either update or transfer.
I photograph entire cemeteries as well, and am really excited when a relative or loved one contacts me and wants to take on management of their memorial. I love watching a page with a photo, a name and a couple of dates turn into a life story. It’s beautiful.

Debi April 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm

I’m afraid I’m about ready to take the plunge into the negative on findagrave. I contacted the manager of my 3rd great grandmother’s memorial (clearly a cemetery transcriber and not a relative) and asked to have some information added to the memorial or a transfer so I could do it. No response :-(

Luana February 6, 2013 at 9:37 am

Debi, don’t give up hope. I read in FaG facs that if you have attempted to contact a memorial creator/manager to ask that information be added to your ancestor’s memorial and they do not respond in kind within 30 days, you can contact FaG and ask that they transfer management to you for this purpose. Make sure you include that you are a direct descendant of no more than 4 generations, though.

JC March 8, 2013 at 6:10 am

The 4 generations are – 1: your generation (siblings); 2: your parents or children; 3: your grandparents or grandchildren; and 4: your great grandparents or great grandchildren. Therefore 3rd great grandparents are considerably outside the guidelines and the admins are not likely to transfer.

Kelly April 24, 2011 at 9:06 am

I transcribed a local cemetery for our local historical society. I went through the entire cemetery writing the stones exactly as they are written. I chose to share this with F.A.G. to help fellow Genealogists find their ancestors. I had several people e-mail me to request that I “correct” data. I must have misunderstood the meaning of F.A.G. As far as I was concerned, what is “engraved on the stone” may not be “engraved in stone” (correct), but it is not my place to create data that is not there, based on someone’s family data. I was under the impression that this would be used as a tool to easily find an ancestor’s place of burial, not create tombstone inscriptions.

One good note: I had one person contact me from across the US regarding 3rd generation markers – 4th generation markers read “mother” and “father” only. Within driving distance, I investigated further and confirmed with cemetery recorder that indeed 4th generation were buried there. I continue to help this person trace their local roots, by doing local research for them and capturing digital photo’s of the actual stones. This I gladly will do for a fellow researcher. I will not glorify or assume information onto one’s memorial because someone states that this is true.

I was heading to transcribe another local cemetery and I still may do this, however, I will not share this with F.A.G. because of this apparent misinterpretation.

Ron Crager May 15, 2011 at 9:36 am

Help…I have been looking for years to find the grave sites of my G.G.Grandparients, Reuben and Matilda Crager. Reuben I have no clue, but Matilda died in 1905, and was buried in Blaine, Lawrence ,Co. Ky. Have no clue of cematery, could have been buried in back yard for all I know, maybe no marker ? Thanks . Ron Crager

Kerry Scott May 16, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Kentucky is not my area of expertise, but I would contact the local historical society and ask them for suggestions as to where to look for more info. They usually have great insight into what records exist and where they’re held now (and in some areas they even have records of burials on private farms).

Good luck!

Judy May 16, 2011 at 6:53 pm

I agree with nearly every comment on here–it all boils down to human nature, doesn’t it? :-) Feel sure I’m preaching to the choir but remember that Ancestry.com and every other site that has user-supplied data are also replete with errors. The Ancestry user I complained about earlier contacts people by email, lets it be assumed she’s related, and then basically “strips” the person’s family tree within days.

I finally decided that I just had to view this woman as the fool she is. Her response to my email asking for changes to extremely erroneous data was that she has no time to correct “other people’s mistakes”–that she is merely a recorder of human history–that her goal is to input “our” heritage in its entirety. At that point, I couldn’t do much except laugh. Must admit, though, that I’m kinda tempted to hook her up with the guy who plans to go back to Adam. ;-)

I suggest again that those with serious problems (e.g., memorials on recent deaths of close relatives) send an email to info@findagrave.com. Response isn’t immediate but I’ve found the website managers to be very helpful and empathetic when the problem is explained clearly and links to all pages in question are included.

Cheryl Cayemberg June 13, 2011 at 7:48 pm

I actually haven’t seen any drama on there, but I’m intrigued! I use FindAGrave regularly and contribute whenever I can. I’ve seen more drama on Ancestry message boards. I’ve asked a couple people to transfer memorials that are family members to me and they have without question. I’ve also been asked and had no problem doing so.

So sad that people want to create drama, but if they aren’t creating it on FindAGrave, they’re doing it somewhere else! :)

Pat July 1, 2011 at 10:00 am

I use FindAGrave a lot and think it’s wonderful. I have encountered one less-than-amiable person, but to counter that I have met a wonderful, extremely helpful and generous woman who has really helped with my research. The fact that it is volunteer-run explains the cross-section of people you encounter. On the whole, I would definitely say it is a valuable tool. Just remember to evaluate for yourself the information you find.

Star July 10, 2011 at 5:22 pm

I’m a big fan of Find A Grave! I found the burial places of a few distant relatives because some terrific people entered memorials and tombstone photos for them. When I bought a new digital camera, I tested it at a nearby cemetery, created memorials and uploaded the photos to the site, hoping to pay forward the favors I received. I’ve had kind people transfer family memorials to me, and I have transferred a couple hundred memorials to others. I’ve found that most people are kind and generous, with a few jerks sprinkled in the mix to remind me to appreciate the good people, just like other areas of life. I’ve entered several thousand memorials – not because I’m into the numbers, but because I hope to help others by creating the memorials. A kind email message from someone will encourage me to photograph an entire cemetery. I gladly correct/update information and link related memorials together. Regrettably, some people expect instant updates. I don’t “work” on this every day, and received a nasty message from someone once because I didn’t correct a mistake within a few days. When I got around to his email, I replied that I would get to his correction after I returned from the cemetery because I was anxious to see if the ground was trembling where his ancestor was rolling in his grave due to my typo. (Yes, I made the correction – but there was no need for him to be a jerk.)

Bobby July 17, 2011 at 7:48 pm

I have used FindAGrave.com for about 3 years and have found some great information. For the most part… people are great to work with…. But then we have the ‘number whores’ or ‘grave whores’… I can’t get them to make corrections or additions… they are very possessive of their memorials they have set up!!! Some have thousands and thousands of memorials. I don’t care to have memorials transferred.. I just expect corrections and additions. It is very frustrating at times. If the person does not make the changes or addtions… I will set up a new memorial so that I can add information and photos.

Debbie October 15, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Bobby, I ran into a person who states that you cannot duplicate a memorial for one he already has – well if you’d update with the info given you, there wouldn’t need to be a duplicate!

JC March 8, 2013 at 6:13 am

There is no need to duplicate, even if the memorial manager does not update. Just follow the procedure of sending a SAC (and a copy to yourself). After 30 days, if the update is not made, forward your copy of the SAC to the Edit address listed in the FAQs. Be patient. It won’t happen over night, but the changes will be made.

Devon July 28, 2011 at 7:51 pm

I’ve had positive experiences with Find A Grave. It’s exciting to see my ancestors’ grave markers. Someone posted my mom’s grave before I even had a chance to, and when I thanked him, he promptly transfered ownership to me.

Smith August 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Find-a-Grave is a useful research tool, however those who decide to add material to its database should:
a) Remember the site belongs to a business corporation which, like any corporation, could be sold at any time; therefore always keep your original photos and data on your hard drive. Uploading copies to multiple websites, rather than just one, is always good insurance.
b) Avoid the unmoderated, “help” forum which serves primarily as a bully pulpit for a handful of site members who, for years, have acted as sole “interpreters” of the site’s poorly-written, disorganized, voluminous “FAQ.”

All Find-a-Grave forums were taken offline on Aug 5, 2011, ostensibly for “security issues.” There’s wide speculation the forums may not be restored. Perhaps the site will adopt one of the more automated “help” formats utilised by other sites, which certainly would reduce its increasingly negative reputation for “drama.”

Margaret E September 2, 2011 at 5:06 pm

So far, my experience has been positive. I found out some details about a gg half-uncle that helped clarify some census records for my 2g grand pa. It was nice.

Amanda Sheets September 9, 2011 at 12:45 am

Hello! I am a huge fan of F.A.G. . I found it while doing geneology research and immediately became a contributor, why? I was so greatful for the info I found that I wanted to be able to help others do the same. I have mmet alot of great new people as well as found distant realatives I had never met. One lady turns out our grandmothers are sisters,It costs me nothing but a little bit of time and the reward is priceless.The thanks and appreciation makes it all worth the while. Everybody is entitled to their own opinions but for me, this was what was missing in my life, a productive “hobby” that makes a difference in life. As for the advertising and people thinking that it makes the F.A.G, experience shallow, I could not tell you one ad I remember from the memorials I visit or create, I know they are there, but my concentration is on one thing and one thing only…the person Im there for.

Debbie October 15, 2011 at 7:29 pm

I too have had problems with F.A.G.collectors. I am not asking for their memorials only for them to update to which they do not! I even sent an email to Find A Grave and included info from their regulations regarding those who do not update: nothing was done!

JC November 24, 2011 at 1:04 pm

To answer your first questions..
Yes, I use Find A Grave and contribute. All of my experiences have been good.

The advice I would give to any contributor, not just new ones, is to read the FAQs and use the site for the primary purpose, graves registration. Genealogy can compliment that purpose but it does not take precedence over the primary purpose. Find A Grave contributors should understand collecting all one’s relatives is outside the purpose of the site and, therefore, should not ask for transfers with the expectation of receiving every single one. Personally, I ask for transfers beyond the four generations IF, and ONLY IF, the creator of the memorial is no longer active or has been banned. This does not include deceased contributors because their memorials may very well be managed by a family member. If one requests a voluntary transfer, be prepared to accept “No” graciously. Insults, name-calling (such as the “number whores” and “grave whores” seen here) and other unbecoming childish behavior is unacceptable! Those who cannot follow the guidelines or behave in an adult manner are the ones who have bad experiences and, many times, are finally banned. Also, remember to “be patient”. If you suggest a correction (even a transfer request), the memorial manager has 30 days to respond so be realistic in your expectations – most members will make the correction but, due to real life taking precedence, may not do it instantaneously. Last but far from least: do not deliberately duplicate and, if you accidentally duplicate, delete it as soon as you learn of the original.

Regarding some of the other comments:
–Requesting a transfer, deleting the memorial and recreating it is not allowed and should be reported to the site administrators immediately!
–Ultimately, the names and dates on a memorial should match the marker, if one exists. Contradictions can be noted in the bio.
–Contrary to an earlier comment, the “Help” forum is moderated. Those who have difficulty in it are usually those who cannot or will not follow the guidelines, such as justifying deliberately duplicating or complaints about not receiving transfers for every person in their tree.

Lee November 17, 2012 at 6:54 pm

It’s not possible to delete a memorial that someone else has created on Find a Grave. I tried once when someone transferred 2 memorials for the same person to me. Can’t be done.

JC March 7, 2013 at 10:44 am

The ability to delete a transfer was only removed a year ago. Prior to that, transferred memorials could be deleted (and often were).

Matty March 12, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Contact FAG with your member number included….they can now merge the memorials, you will have to specify which one to keep.

Lee March 12, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Thanks, I’ll do that.

Matty March 12, 2013 at 2:32 pm

What do we have here with this person JC
The FAG Police ??
Kinda sounds like that after I’ve read all your posts. Educating is one thing….but your getting a bit heavy here.

Therefore comes the name of this thread….”Why is there so much drama on FAG”. You just read some “Drama”

Kerry Scott March 13, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Everybody’s entitled to an opinion on this issue. Let’s keep it cool here.

JC April 3, 2013 at 8:41 am

Matty, you have made quite a few posts here that indicate a lack of understanding that Find A Grave is not a genealogical site and displeasure with their policies. Those two things have resulted in your posts being the “drama” and bashing of anyone who disagrees with you. As I said previously, “read the FAQs and use the site for the primary purpose, graves registration.”

Rick December 15, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Findagrave is Ok like any other genealogy site you get what you don’t pay for.

Science Gal January 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm

I love documenting graves for F.A.G. and have been doing it for about three years. What I do NOT love are about 5% of the people posting in the forum, particularly in the “Help with Find a Grave” forum, who only want to argue inconsequential points, be excessively dogmatic as if they are speaking for the administrators, and to belittle everyone else. I really feel for these people if that is their normal demeanor out in the world because there is no way they could have any friends, so I’m unsurprised that they are spending so much time in cemeteries (even though I also spend time there). Beware the help forum, unless you’ve got your armor on.

Chad February 8, 2012 at 6:19 pm

My only beef so far is that they won’t even contemplate how to change their database and code to support linking the same cemetery to multiple counties. I have partially catalogued one that is in an enclave of the next county over. Few if any burials are from the county that it is technically in, so most associate it with my county. So now we have a problem with duplicates popping up.

Craig May 2, 2012 at 7:10 am

Actually, for a free website, it really is outstanding, with almost 80 million records. As far as drama, well, the site is visited by humans, enough said there. A lot of mistakes are made, as the individual user has a lot of freedoms, and can mess things up. They are very lightly staffed as they don’t make much money so it’s hard for them to address all of these issues, and they don’t have the staff to find them on their own. The only thing I would like to see is if someone had to take a tutorial before joining, as the duplication of cemeteries etc can be very frustrating. When you reach out to them at info@findagrave.com, they are normally good at getting back to you, but it may take a while.

Ron Tipton May 2, 2012 at 7:19 am

I discovered Find a Grave.com during my genealogy research. I’ve always loved roaming through cemeteries and taking photos. I’ve been doing this long before Find a Grave came into being. Thus it was with great happiness that I found a site that recorded all this information. Even more interesting was the fact that the site was founded by a distant Tipton cousin of mine (pure coincidence).
My experiences with Find a Grave have been 95% positive. I try not to let the few “bad apples” ruin my experience. Recently I the daughter of a good friend of mine from my high school days (I have never met her or her mother) discovered the memorial that I had set up for her father, which included an old photo of us together on our high school track team. She sent me an e-mail requesting that I remove her father’s memorial because “she and her family cared a great deal about him and miss him every day” and found my memorial to her father to be “disturbing.” That hurt me deeply but there is no accounting for the feelings of the possessiveness of relatives I guess. The other problems I have had are with those F.A.G. contributors who seem to be only interested in running up their numbers and are unresponsive to requests for corrections. All my postings I do to F.A.G. I review first with my Ancestry.com account information. I try to link up as many families as I can and provide more detailed information. I concentrate in quality instead of quantity. One thing that I’ve never gotten used to though is when I fulfill a F.A.G. photo request, I am rarely thanked for it even though F.A.G. provides a link to thank the contributor. I mentioned this to a fellow F.A.G. contributor who has fulfilled many more requests than I have and she told me the same thing has happened to her but she doesn’t let it bother her. It still bothers me though. Overall, I have had a positive experience with F.A.G. but like all endeavors with humans, you have to take the good with the bad. With F.A.G. most of the folks are good folks and very helpful and they enrich my life.

Luana February 9, 2013 at 10:10 am

Funny… Find a Grave’s owner is Jim Tipton out of Salt Lake City. What a STRANGE coincidence! ;-)

Sunny March 31, 2013 at 9:34 am

He mentioned that Jim Tipton was a relative.

Matty May 2, 2012 at 12:52 pm

I have made many memorials on FAG parents, aunts, uncles, classmates, best friends and ancestors that are in my tree.

I have found one cemetery that a TON of my ancestors are in. That cemetery is being held hostage by one hoarder that is more interested in “his body count” than the quality of the information, links or any other information in the memorial. He entered over 3600 names with no headstone photo’s just a birth & death years and some with only a year of death. He has only transferred 7 because he had to. This happens to be one of the saddest cemeteries I have ever run across. About 14 headstone photos and less flower tributes.
When looking at the cemetery as a whole, it reminds me of a dessert.

I found a memorial for a couple in my tree at another cemetery. The only information the submitter had put in was a copy and paste job from the Social Security Death Index. I submitted a brief tree to that person and asked for a transfer. He linked this couple to my memorials and refused my request. “There is enough information in the memorial” he said. I wrote to him, “I didn’t know the SSDI trumped a blood relative”. You guessed it, he is a die hard hoarder whose only interest is “body count”. I guess you get bragging rights when you have made over 50,000 memorials. Most of his in this cemetery were “blanks” also.

Yes I could ask both submitters to add the information to the memorial, but there in lies two caveats. We in the genealogy world all network….we share, a prime example of this is adding our family trees on Ancestry.com or making our own web pages. FAG is one way to network with other people in the same tree. The caveats…..
1) If you give information to the submitter to add and if someone were to query the hoarder if he is related or ask for additional info, the hoarder can only say….I’m not related and I don’t have anymore information on this memorial. Brick Wall.
2) As a veteran genealogist, I won’t give the hoarder any information to add because it looks like he/she has done the work. I refuse to allow them to take credit for my many, many years of research.

The rules the way they are set up now for FAG are for 4 generations direct line only, which is the Mormon tradition and the owners/administrators are Mormon. These blank memorials can not and will not be transferred by the hoarders to a VERY interested relative. So it appears that FAG is content to have blank memorials rather than quality ones that are filled in. Now that Ancestry.com is linking into the names on FAG, its pathetic the memorials are blank.

I would be happy to submit my tree and the memorials I’m interested in managing to any administrator of FAG for approval, but as it stands now I am not able to do that. There are 20 memorials…to date…that I would love to manage and embellish with information in the cemetery I mentioned above. There is a cemetery in another state that has about 30 memorials I would love to manage as the submitter has gone dormant. But since they don’t fall into the FAG guideline rules, I CAN’T have any of them. They will remain blank and uncared for which just breaks my heart as I would love the information to be out there for any person doing their family tree to find. There really are genealogists out there that don’t want to manage a memorial, they are only interested in the information in the memorial and it’s a shame they are coming up with “blanks”.

I refuse to make any more memorials on FAG because of their transfer policies.
FAG needs us, the relatives and die hard genealogist to make QUALITY memorials on their site. We don’t need FAG. Some of us have been doing research many years without them.

The Forums: Smith who posted on August 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm , You are absolutely right. The people answering questions in the forums are rude and do use this as their personal bully pulpit spewing their opinions and giving out bad information. If I want a good laugh for an evening, I will go there and read some of the posts.

Lee November 17, 2012 at 8:38 pm

As a fellow genealogist, I definitely feel your pain! It is beyond frustrating to see memorials to your ancestors sitting there with no information on them. And usually with a tombstone photo shot at a distance, uncropped, so that the inscription can’t even be read.

Disgusted by Grave Hoarders February 8, 2013 at 11:18 am

I am relieved to find this blog as I wanted to know if I was the only one who had these experiences there or felt this way. Grave hoarders is just how I think of them too. I don’t know what else to call them when they are simultaneously obsessive and uncaring. They just collect pages and let them sit there, blank.

You hit upon an excellent point, Matty. I have worked years on my family research and when something was too far away I hired professionals to do local research. If I write a piece for a page it will have the hoarder’s name on it. It isn’t just the credit but also the fact that others will seek that person’s advice, thinking they have facts which they never had. As researchers we want to share our research, but share it without playing a telephone game. We all know what happens to information in the telephone game.

That is why it is important to a family researcher to have the page. So they can add the information correctly and in their own words. Other grave hoarders if they reply at all will purposely add wrong information until you give up and say if you won’t add the information correctly please just omit it entirely. Which of course they happily do. Which makes me think that was always their goal, to get back that blank page they seem to love so well.

It isn’t just who gets credit but when it comes to research and writing of family history, the source being credited and the information being unaltered does matter. If it is edited by one of those hoarders in their haste it can contain all sorts of errors. And they will turn around and say that isn’t the purpose of the site, or the location and birth and death dates are all that matter anyway. It is all a circular argument designed to wear you down and stop you from asking.

I doubt the site was intended to cause family of the deceased this type of frustration. I wish they would revisit their transfer rules. I wish they would clamp down on the collectors.

Disgusted by Grave Hoarders February 8, 2013 at 11:21 am

That didn’t read well. What I meant to say is, some will let the page sit blank. Others will make a pretense of adding the “correction” or “suggestion” but will bungle it until you give up trying to get it right and say nevermind, if it can’t be on there correctly, remove it. Which will be the fastest response you ever get from them – removing your part.

Solution for Genealogists February 9, 2013 at 8:29 am

I, too, am happy to have found this website which I discovered while trying to find a contact for Find a Grave. I agree with all those genealogists who have spent decades on their family history, only to run into a stumbling block in getting a bio or the children listed on an essentially blank FAG memorial.

Where there is a problem, there is a solution. The solution to having the info on a memorial is to put flowers on the gravesite. By doing this you can write all about your genealogy research and the tribute for the information goes to you. This way, others who are also interested in this family tree can contact you. I know how it feels, having tried for months to have my GRANDMOTHER’S barren memorial not updated or transferred. Her memorial was created by someone that I feel certain has passed away. Going back to her messages, I saw that several people were upset with her non-response and as a result they made a duplicate gravestone memorials. While I haven’t done that, I have contacted FAG, but still nothing happened.

My grandmother was very interested in genealogy and financed my grandfather’s work in this field back before computers. Her line goes back to the Mayflower and she was the president of the North Carolina chapter of the DAR. It breaks my heart to see this neglect to her memorial.

My father is soon to be 93 and this is his mother. To make matters worse, he has asked to have his great grandparents transferred because the name on the tombstone is Eliza but the “grave hoarder” who originally set up the memorial, with no picture and no bio has the name as Elizabeth. For 5 months I have asked this to be transferred, but to no avail. My father now has become a findagrave member and asked to have it transferred, and again she ignores it.

If anyone out there has a telephone contact for Find a grave FAG or findagrave, then PLEASE send it to me.
Thanks again for the opportunity to vent, query and give a solution.

JC March 8, 2013 at 10:08 am

The above is very bad advice since the site prohibits “biographical info” in the virtual flower message. At least one person was banned for doing it.

Again, the correct procedure
1.) Send your addition/correction via the SAC (aka Suggest A Correction) feature, checkmarking the box to send yourself a copy.
2.) Wait 30 days and check to see if the changes were made.
3.) If not, forward your copy of the SAC to the Edit address.
4.) Be patient. Sometimes it will take a couple of months, but the addition/correction will be made.

Matty March 12, 2013 at 11:27 am

According to information on the FAQ page….

What if a member will not transfer my relative to me?
If the memorial in question is a direct relative within four generations (siblings, parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents) to you and the original submitter is not direct family, then your wishes supersede theirs under our “Family First” policy. If they refuse to transfer your relative to you, contact the administration and we will work on it for you.
Please remember that there are thousands of contributors to Find A Grave, and it is highly likely that some of those contributors will actually be part of your family tree and share some of your ancestors. Also, the goal is not to “own” every memorial of those to whom you are related. The ultimate goal should be to have meaningful, accurate memorials that honor those who have passed away, regardless of who created the memorial or who maintains it

Send a message to info@findagrave.com
NOW do your research. In either the inbox of the email (or your sent folder) you use on that site, you got a confirmation of your request. Copy and Paste Each and everyone in the message to FAG. That will show the date and time of the request.

Include your FAG user name, email address and MEMBER NUMBER.

If you sent a message to FAG like this….Minnie Mouse won’t transfer my grandmother Memorial # to me Gloria Outofsorts

They won’t be able to find you in the 800,000 submitters on the site, but your member number they can find you in under 30 seconds and review the request

JC March 8, 2013 at 6:19 am

Mattie, the FAQs include this statement: “The ultimate goal should be to have meaningful, accurate memorials that honor those who have passed away, regardless of who created the memorial or who maintains it.” When someone states they will not submit “their research” that tells me they are only interested in ownership, not the “ultimate goal”. F.A.G. is a collaborative site and you are choosing to not participate. These are hoarders of a different sort, “information hoarders”.

Matty March 12, 2013 at 11:37 am

Actually I’m interested in acurate information being added.

What if….you held the memorial and I had you add info to it. Someone sees the info and starts asking you questions. You will answer how?

I’m a fast learner. I requested info be added to a memorial. I have no clue why the “owner” felt a responsibility to edit the infomation, but it happened. When asked why the edit was done….well there was no reponse. So If don’t own it, I don’t add to it.

IF I do find the owner is related to the tree then I will identify my relationship and every single time the info has gone in as I sent it. Then I followed up with a thank you note saying it’s nice to meet another distant relative, and I hope to work with then in the future.

In this situation, you are implying that the greater “Sinner” in this case is the person that won’t add information, rather than the person that won’t transfer the memorial. That in my humble opinion is a body horder.

JC April 3, 2013 at 9:30 am

Question: someone asking me questions about a memorial.
Answer: I choose to save every information submision (SAC), so I would search for the previous SAC and be able to direct the new person to the sender of the old SAC. Pretty simple.

Comment: the “owner” felt a responsibility to edit the infomation
Response: Did the info you submitted adhere to site policies (ie. names of survivors redacted)? I edit when the info I receive is not full sentences in paragraphs or if something is inappropriate One person sent a bio that contained a statement that the deceased cared more for alcohol and himself than his family members. Of course I removed comment.

Comment: you are implying that the greater “Sinner” in this case is the person that won’t add information, rather than the person that won’t transfer the memorial.
Response: “Sin” is not the issue. Users who want the site to conform to their ideals rather than using the site as it was intended are going to be sadly disappointed. Those who do use the site, within the intended purpose, and follow the policies are rarely upset.

Becky May 24, 2012 at 9:23 am

I’m fairly new to FindAGrave, but what intrigued me to become a photo volunteer was this story. Sorry for the lengthy response, but feel it’s worth it to explain the whole story. I’m like you, I like dead people. I’m obsessed with genealogy. My kids go to a DAR school, which stands for Daughters of the American Revolution. I was researching my husband’s lineage to see if I could connect them to someone in the Revolutionary War so that I could get them registered with DAR and SAR (Sons of……). I happened to run across FindAGrave.com while searching for gravesites. I found my husband’s grandfather’s grave and there was some info missing. I sent the owner of the pic an email, told him I was the grandaughter-in-law of the person and that there was some missing info, could he please add it. He sent me back a very nice email, told me that if I would sign up for a free account, he would transfer ownership to me, and then told me he was from up north and he and his sister were in the area and decided to make some photo contributions to the website. I got to thinking, why should someone up north have to fly here to take photos of cemeteries that are in the North Alabama area, when I could just as easily do that. I immediately signed up for an acct and am happy to say I just received my first photo request from out of state. I can’t wait to get started. I can’t imagine why someone wouldn’t want to transfer ownership unless they themselves were more closely related than the person making the request. Why must there be so much drama in the world!!!!!!

max843 July 8, 2012 at 10:57 am

I’ve been using Find A Grave for over two years, created over 700 memorials with some connection to our family and had some 150 transferred to me. Recently for the first time a member refused to add the links I provided, asking that I provide proof for each individual item. Finally, after two weeks, she relented and added the parents but no other family members. Don’t know why.

Everyone else has been delightful to deal with. Some of those who add entire cemeteries have been an invaluable help – aiding us in locating long-lost relatives.

Originally we thought most of our family was in Canada, where everyone is very polite!!! But I eventually found many had immigrated to the States where members were not quite as eager to transfer memorials.

And now that Ancestry has links to everything on Find A Grave, I don’t know what is to become of these “false” memorials people speak of!

JC March 8, 2013 at 10:16 am

You said “after two weeks, she relented and added the parents but no other family members.” The only links a memorial manager can make are to the parents and spouse. So what “other family members” did you want linked?

Matty March 12, 2013 at 11:39 am

You might want to check the linking of other individuals out. There is a way as I have seen it done. Friend of mine knows how but I’ve never had a memorial to use that feature with. I do know you have to know HTML>

JC April 3, 2013 at 1:10 pm

If I wanted someone to add HTML links, I would send them to the memorial manager so all they had to do was copy & paste, not create the HTML links from scratch.

Anita August 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm

I was shocked when an administrator abused the photo volunteer system deleting pictures one person took time out of their day to go get for someone else and then submitting 2 more requests to replace the two headstone pictures she JULIE S. deleted. Which resulted in wasting another persons time to retake the photos and 60 legit requests were and are still waiting for a picture in that cemetery. Then on top of that some lady created 3 hate blogs attacking me for speaking out about the volunteer abuse and linked my facebook page to a hate blog. I was completely inexperienced with cyber stalking and bullying so my family was exposed to this which includes minor children and two vulnerable adults. I locked everything down on my face book and reported it to the police there is still one more hate blog left with evidence of cyber stalking and tracking me and 3 others. A fourth person was victimized and that was when I reported it to the police and Jim Tipton. The blogger brags in the hate blog how Jim Tipton could care less if she is cyber stalking people for findagrave.

Disgusted by Grave Hoarders February 8, 2013 at 11:08 am

Wow, is that the Julie who’s snotty to everyone in those forums?

Lee November 17, 2012 at 9:29 pm

In my experience, most of the people who contribute to Find a Grave are wonderful. They do it because they want to share something with others. Information, family heritage, the honoring of the departed. Everyone is going to see it a little differently. For me, it’s about providing a trail for my fellow descendants to follow to discover their ancestors. It’s about creating a memorial that will be discovered by someone who has been searching for that person in their family tree forever but had no way of knowing where they ended up. It’s about helping people document their lineage. It’s about helping a son or daughter who was never able to visit their parent’s gravesite. I have had the most heart warming experiences as a Find a Grave contributor. These memorials mean so much more to relatives than a “graves registration.” I have had relatives tell me they cried when they saw the photo I posted.
Unfortunately there are also people whose memorials clearly reflect their haste to win the race to the summit of the “top contributor” list. Fortunately, they are in the minority. Unfortunately, they make a lot of memorials, and there is nothing more frustrating than finding your ancestors among their hostages.

Amanda Sheets November 17, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Lee, I have had the same heartfelt experience when I have posted photos for people. Everyone asks me do you get paid? and I say oh no , the sincere gratitude I get for posting the photos is priceless. I had one lady who was 76 years old and never knew her fathers side of the family(her parents divorced when she was 2) her daughter put the request in for her and told me her mother had tears in her eyes as she viewed the photo. It brought her closure somewhat to an piece of her long life she was missing. How can you put a price on that. Thank you for all your positive responses on here.This is only my 2nd or 3rd comment on here but I thought Id share my experience with you.

Disgusted by Grave Hoarders February 8, 2013 at 11:06 am

People like yourselves are angels and I always thank such people profusely. I will never understand the types who think it is a competition for who collects the most pages. They seem to spit out phrases like “family” and “genealogist” and “historian” with disgust on the find a grave forums. That should give a snapshot of their psyche. Family is not a dirty word, nor is genealogy. They made their contribution when they were first to mark a location. Why not let family fill in the rest? It isn’t the same having to beg them to add each thing only to find they don’t consider anything but birth and death relevant anyway.

Lee February 8, 2013 at 11:18 pm

Thanks! I know what you mean about the derisive attitude towards family researchers, family members, etc. That really annoys me, and it usually comes with a little lecture on how the only purpose of Find a Grave is to record the information on the tombstone. Which is nonsense. Find a Grave provides the ability to add additional information and link family members for a reason.

JC April 3, 2013 at 1:13 pm

By collaborating with memorial managers rather than asking for transfers, I have had heartwarming experiences and developed long term friendships. It’s a win-win situation: the memorials contain everything I asked to be added and I have a “helper” who keeps an eye out for info on them.

Not a helper - A TAKER April 19, 2013 at 4:45 am

By collaborating with memorial managers you give their ALL YOUR HARD research and they take all the credit. – You are being used.

Lee November 17, 2012 at 11:29 pm

That’s beautiful. I had a similar situation. I filled a request once and it was in the fall. The stone was in the military section of the cemetery with that Vermont marble that doesn’t always hold up well to the elements. The inscription was faded but it was on a hill under this beautiful maple full of bright yellow leaves, so in addition to the stone, I posted a photo of the scene. It looked so lovely and peaceful. I heard from the woman’s daughter. Her mom had never known her father because she was a baby when he was killed in action. When she saw the photos, she cried. And when I read her story, so did I!

John December 4, 2012 at 1:05 pm

I’m a new member of FAG and thought I’d add my perspective to this discussion.

I found FAG helpful in my research and so joined thinking I’d be providing a service to others and enjoying a hobby that combines my interest in genealogy, photography, and old cemeteries. I started reading some of their forums so as to get clear on all their rules – which seem to change frequently and sometimes have vague interpretations – and to get to know the culture a bit so as to not step on any toes.

I soon discovered that there is quite a bit of infighting and game playing on the site and that some of the forums are pretty rough, especially to newbies (the Help forum I found especially rude). Not long ago I posted a question on the Help forum and was quickly attacked personally and accused of illegal and immoral acts I did not commit. When I tried to defend myself my post was simply deleted by the administrators. All I did was ask a question and I was very polite. In reviewing a number of posts in the forums I see many complianing of the nasitness. Many also complain that the rules are not consistently enforced and that many violations reported to the administrators are not addressed. Another big issue concerns photos and copyrights. Basically, anything you put on their site is up for grabs and at some point one or more of your photos will be copied. The official policy says not to do this but there seems to be little enforcement of reported infringements and the practice is rampant.

I have also found the site to be cliqueish with the older members and those who have the most memorials riding herd and newbies getting short shrift. So, if you go there be very careful if you participate in the forums and join up knowing what is likely to occur with your photos and regarding enforcement of the official policies.

I think FAG provides a good service and for the right price (free) but also feel it has a lot of internal problems and some public relations problems they haven’t adequately addressed. There are a lot of nice folks there but there are also more than a few bad apples and lots and lots of arrogant and snarky old timers. So, for now I’ve quit adding any more content and am contemplating if I want to continue to be a member.

I just wanted to provide a service and have a fun hobby, not get beat up and abused publicly and have my work stolen. We’ll see. Good luck.

Anita December 31, 2012 at 11:32 am

John if you want to enjoy the hobby without the abuse try billion graves you can have all of that. I am elated how billion graves has a much quicker process and it is set up for 100% teamwork. People do not play games and can only add legitimate entries.

Disgusted by Grave Hoarders February 8, 2013 at 11:03 am

As you can see by my user name, I have had a few unpleasant run ins with the ones who are only there to rack points. Someone needs to tell them those are the virtual graves of other people’s family members. Especially in cases in which a loved one died within the past 50 years it’s very likely the person asking for that transfer knew the person. Or their parent did. No, don’t get between that hoarder and their high score. They seem to think it’s a video game. I think the site should change its rules so that if someone asks for a transfer and are a member in good standing and are directly descended from the deceased, and the hoarder is NOT, they get the transfer. It should not be about racking up points.

Sunny March 31, 2013 at 9:51 am

I also think the count should not be a factor and maybe shouldn’t even be listed online. I recently asked for an aunt who has no living family in her direct line. I was refused because of the 4 gen. rule. Yet the person who created the memorial isn’t related nor did she know her…she’s simply added notches to her belt so now the memorial sits with no information at all. This needs to change.

JC April 3, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Sunny, why didn’t you submit the info? From the FAQs, “the goal is not to “own” every memorial of those to whom you are related. The ultimate goal should be to have meaningful, accurate memorials that honor those who have passed away, regardless of who created the memorial or who maintains it.”

merry January 6, 2013 at 4:08 am

hi. I have tried 2x to contact administrators to hacomments. doed anyone know a faster method of getting administrators to reply. kindest regars to all ve a bad apple take down litigeous comments about myself to no avail. I did ask the contributor pleasantly to desist but he only became abusive. I have loved being on this wonderful genealogical tool,sadly tools of another kind caused me to delete all of my work and because he lived quite close to me am a little afraid of him and his whacky

Matty March 12, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Try again…..
include your FAG name, MEMBER NUMBER and the URL of the negative posts. You know where the posts are….be very specific to show that to FAG. They have no clue where to find you or the post without all the details. Good Luck

Sunny March 31, 2013 at 9:52 am

I have submitted several requests/complaints to the admins and have yet to ever get a reply. Good luck.

merry January 6, 2013 at 4:14 am

sorry about the last garbled post ,I pressed the submit button by mistake. the upshot is I need administrators to ask another contributor to take down nasty posts about myself but I cannot get a reply from the administrators. kind regards

Matty March 12, 2013 at 11:43 am

Did you include your name, FAG MEMBER NUMBER and email address?

Lee January 8, 2013 at 1:32 pm

In my experience, you may never get them to address that sort of thing, unfortunately. They will concern themselves immediately with CERTAIN violations of the FAQ ‘s but seem to turn a blind eye to complaints of personal harassment. Sorry to hear that FAG is turning into such a negative experience for you.

Ron January 8, 2013 at 5:29 pm

I’ve been a Find a Grave volunteer for almost five years. I’ve always enjoyed roaming through cemeteries, taking photos of heats ones even before I knew Find a Grave existed. When I found Find a Grave.com, coincidentally founded by a distant Tipton cousin of mine (we’re 5th cousins), I was very happy.
My experience with Find a Grave has generally been excellent. I aways try to take the best photo possible and check every memorial I post with my Ancestry.com account, which is quite time consuming but worth it for verifying accuracy and establishing family links. Of course I have encountered a few “stinkers” in the Find a Grave community but I either work around them or ignore them. As with all interactions with humans, some people are just selfish and difficult. Best to avoid those folks. Most of the people I’ve had interaction with on Find a Grave have been wonderful.

Luana February 6, 2013 at 9:51 am

Not to be a stick in the mud, but did it ever occur to you that some of these people whom you say are ‘selfish’ and ‘difficult’ might just be feeling the same way about you for not at least giving credence to the history as they portray it to be? I remember when I first began researching my genealogical ancestors. I had a devil of a time trying to convince people that my maternal great grandmother’s birth name was Lula Mae Cook, NOT May Cook… and she was still alive even! (we just buried her in 2007 at nearly 100 years of age.. and yes, I actually new her!). Then, on my father’s side, I had just as difficult a time trying to prove that I was descended from Thomas Monroe Alger. Basically, until I came along, no one knew what happened to him and his son from his first wife… But, that’s how it happens. People who fall off the grid suddenly pop back on it only when an ancestor begins to research his/her roots. It may take some time & trouble, but if you’ve done your homework right you’ll be able to bring the records to the table and others will follow suit.

Disgusted by Grave Hoarders February 8, 2013 at 10:55 am

Exactly, Luana. I have had a few people contact me to inform me that I had my facts wrong. Not only did I know the deceased personally and have my directly information from family while they were alive, but I had documentation and research as well. I do my paperwork. The person contacting me in each case did not know anything about the deceased. They relied upon some database they bought, or their own feeling that “it can’t be right.” Well, it was. What seems odd to a stranger isn’t odd if you know the family history first hand. Some strangers assume they are always right. Do they ask themselves how insulting it must sound for a deceased’s loved one or family member to be told that – by a total stranger? The stranger does not know how close that person was to the deceased. It’s rude and insensitive. If you have a correction, send it, but also include why, and be prepared to be corrected in return. And don’t take it personally if you are. YOU might be the one in need of a correction. That one yellowed document YOU have could be mistaken, and also, just because you “walked the entire cemetery and didn’t see it” is no reason to cancel a photo request, or say the grave isn’t there! It could have been lost to all but family record, or unmarked, or location unrecorded, but cemetery is correct, and so on.

Luana February 9, 2013 at 9:37 am

Yup.. Yup.. & yup again! If I recall correctly, people didn’t want to believe me b/c Lula May was my GREAT grandmother and I was in my 40′s trying to tell them that she was still alive… I suppose most people can’t fathom that situation being a reality! But, a photo I took for nostalgia purposes, actually turned out to be my saving grace in later years… I mean, how many people actually photographically capture 5 full generations of LIVING female family members in just ONE photo?… Well, I did!.. Got us all from my Ggm, my gm, my mother, myself and my daughter as a toddler back on Thanksgiving Day 1989… Still have the photo to this day!.. So ha! (to all those doubters who never knew my Ggm)

Luana February 9, 2013 at 9:37 am

Ack! her name was Lula Mae.. Not Lula May.. What were my fingers thinking??

Wendy January 29, 2013 at 9:18 am

I have had several hundred of my memorials disappear. Had over 1,000 then it was around 700. No explanation back when I inquired. When I put one deleted memorial up again, suddenly it disappeared again.

Luana February 9, 2013 at 9:26 am

Hmmm.. May be the ghostseses of descendants past. Over 1,000 huh? Seems like an awful lot of memorials you created there.. How do you keep up?.. Just curious.

JC April 3, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Is it possibly a case of a duplicated cemetery? Sometimes the names of cemeteries change over time so one cemetery is set up with the “old” name and other set up with the “new”. When those duplicate cemeteries are merged, a program is run to merge duplicate memorials.

Maureen January 30, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Just want to comment on Canada being all polite…I am American and lived in California, new York and Texas and I now live in Quebec Canada and this area I am in is so extremely unfriendly and people have no sense of personal space, they don’t say thank you, and in the store people will push and reach around ou to get what they want. I am just speaking from experience here, but saying Canadians on the whole are more polite than Americans is kind of stretchy.

So far my experience with fag has been good but I have only added 97 or so memorials for family, extended family and justa few random shots from graves near them. No one has ever contacted me about a memorial.

Maureen January 30, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Btw I am a photo volunteer but fag isn’t really set up well for Canada at all in that respect. I used to get requests regularly in Texas but here I don’t think the site lets me really connect with a postal code, it still only wants a zip code.

Maureen January 30, 2013 at 10:10 pm

They should eliminate all that top contributor stuff and then there will be no bragging anything.
I found a site online similar to fag but they wanted quite a lot of money.:(

Luana February 9, 2013 at 9:24 am

What top contributor stuff? I didn’t realize there was a contest going on… Go figure!

Luana February 6, 2013 at 10:04 am

I recently ran into a situation that has me at a quandry. I have a confirmed birth certificate of a relative that lists a specific birth date, birth location and year of birth… Then Census records consistently show that person being born in a whole other state… Finally a death certificate reconfirms the location of birth and lists the correct birth date, but the year is totally off… which, in turn, will most likely make the headstone inaccurate… Since I do have the actual birth certificate, the only likely assumption is the misinformation came from the informant at time of death. So, in my opinion, it is important to show the grave marker as is, for that is how it appears upon the ground… But at least change the date information to match that of a state issued birth certificate. I once even saw a death certificate where his wife (the informant) incorrectly named her deceased husband’s mother as Caroline on his death certificate instead of her given name of Angeline… But she at least got the maiden name correct… Reason for this? Well, she never knew his mother and was relying on her memory of what she believed his mother’s name to be, for she died while he was still a very young child. I can’t imagine they had a whole lot of conversations about his deceased mother because I doubt he had many memories of her. But, when it comes to locating family members on FaG, people often use the information provided on a birth certificate, which in reality, is quite accurate as it was recorded at the time of birth by people who were actually there, rather than an informant who likely wasn’t.

Disgusted by Grave Hoarders February 8, 2013 at 10:58 am

It sounds like you have it figured out. You just have to look at everything, including sources of information, and do your best.

Luana February 9, 2013 at 9:23 am

Yup! This I know… As I said in a comment DOWN THERE SOMEWHERE, it’s be nice if FaG would add a spot to record alternate birth information (i.e. birth certificate birth information on birth AND death certificate/headstone information on birth).. Of course, you just know some yo yo will come along and start recording Census Records of birth and mess that all up… People! Now I know why I love dogs so damn much! Pffffffffffft!

Matty March 12, 2013 at 11:51 am

Ever thought about adding the birth cert to the memorial as a photo?
There is a place under the photo to make notes.

I was chasing a realitive who used the birthdate Feb 14. His headstone read Feb 14th. When I asked his granddauther about the difference of information was, “Gramps like Feb 14 better than his real one. He said it was a happier loving day”. He decided to change his birthdate when he was in his mid 20′s. He was actually born in October of the same year. SO the info on a headstone CAN be INCORRECT.

Matty March 12, 2013 at 2:50 pm

I’m going to jump in here with a couple of comments.

The only place I know for sure that actual birth certificates were required by law ands issued before 1900 was New York City. Granted there could be other metropolitan or other states with earlier laws that I have not run across…..yet.

I have found the greatest number of birth certificates in many states was between 1938 and 1942. Most times the word “Delayed” appears on them. The guys got drafted and had to provide a birth certificate. So the family scrambled to get affidavits, bibles, christining records to verify the date of birth. So if the headstone is off….the party paying for or giving the info for the inscription may be off just because of a lapsing memory. Hey, you can always in the body of the memorial:

“The headstone date contradicts the birth certificate issued in state, county & date & certificate number. One thing we do know for sure….they were born or they wouldn’t be here”

Lee February 6, 2013 at 10:31 am

Yes, inconsistency in records is one of the reasons that genealogy is such a challenge. And death certificates are the worst because they rely on a third party who may not have the correct info. In my family tree program I usually have multiple dates/places of birth with the various sources listed. That’s why it’s so important to document your sources. When I am creating a memorial, I include this information in the bio section and let people judge for themselves and cross my fingers that someday someone contacts me with a solution to some of the mysteries.

Luana February 9, 2013 at 9:17 am

Touche’! I believe I addressed that very issue in an earlier comment. Don’t know if you saw it and are simply replying to mine or if you generated this topic yourself… I am just glad that others are noticing the very same things I am. In my opinion, a birth certificate trumps a death certificate when it comes to birth information… But one must also realize that information on a person’s death certificate is most likely how it will appear on a person’s headstone. It’d be nice if FaG could realize that and allow room to include both dates of birth on a person’s memorial. It would also make locating someone a whole lot easier. I especially love those family members who either consistently report a year of birth 5-10 years later than their true birth on Census Records or those who don’t seem to know when they were born, reporting different years with each Census that comes out or different locations of birth the same way. I realize that it could be an enumerator error, but the gaps are sometimes ridiculous! And you know you have the right family because everyone else lines up perfectly… It can be quite maddening, really! Sourcing your info, regardless of whether you want to make it ‘fit’ or not, is definitely important in doing any genetic research. Sometimes, it actually helps you hone in on a particular date more than any other b/c, if you sourced it all exactly as it was recorded, you can generally see more records reflecting a specific date more than others… Gawd, I just love being a ‘rooter’! Makes me feel like Sherlock Holmes at times! And the thrill of making a new discovery when you can clearly see that everyone has had it all wrong all along… and you have the records to prove it! Just can’t beat that feeling! ;-)

Lee February 9, 2013 at 10:40 am

Yeah, I was trying to reply but I was writing from an iphone and it came out as a new comment–sorry for the confusion.
You’re right–the birth certificate is generally more accurate than the death certificate, which comes from whichever informant happens to be available at the time. Sometimes the birth certificate is wrong, too, though, or not really completely accurate anymore. In the old days, births didn’t get recorded at the actual time of birth but whenever the person responsible went into the county seat. So it could be off by a day or so–or sometimes they didn’t even include the day. Sometimes people were named one thing, but called themselves something else their whole lives and were, by every other document in their lives, legally considered to have that other name–my grandfather is a case in point. Funny story, there. My grandmother never knew his real name until they applied for social security. But that social security card didn’t end up having his birth name on it, either, lol.
Like you pointed out, the best you can do is source all the various dates and try to figure out which makes the most sense. And know that maybe, in the end, none of them will turn out to be 100% right. For me, the important thing is that they are remembered. That someday, when a person starts wondering, “Where did I come from–who are my ancestors?” they can find out more easily than we have, and our research will be out there to be of use to them.

Disgusted by Grave Hoarders February 8, 2013 at 10:44 am

I too have had ancestors and family “held hostage” by a person who said that cemetery is “his.” He sits and types entries all day from some piece of software he bought. He has tens of thousands of pages with nothing but what’s on the tombstone. He doesn’t know a thing about any of them. Won’t transfer anything they don’t force him to transfer. He sees himself as the sole guardian of all x tens of thousands of blank memorials.

There are a lot of those hanging out on the find a grave forums too. They got there first, and that’s THEIR cemetery. So, no, they will not part with even one grave. They don’t care if you knew that person or loved them or are family. If you send them facts they will ignore it, or mangle it, or put the least amount of information from it they can. They give excuses, but they know less than you do so it makes no sense.

I just read one person’s post how they won’t transfer a page “just because it’s family” because they “have a lot of crazy family.” (That doesn’t mean everyone’s family is crazy!) Who are these people? Why do they get to decide what happens to other people’s family’s pages?

The grave hoarders drive me nuts. They say they can’t stand genealogists. They never say why. I guess, don’t get between a hoarder and their hoard?

Luana February 9, 2013 at 8:49 am

Well, I do a ton of research before I add any memorial to FaG when it comes to ancestors of mine that I did not know or for those who married into an ancestor of mine. When I see that the person is already listed on FaG, I do contact the creator/manager with information and only request a transfer if I am related to that person within 4 generations. I then note the person’s memorial that I created with information regarding the person I am intending to link to him/her, dating it so I know when I made the contact and wait out my 30 days patiently. If no response is made after 30 days, I will contact FaG to let them know of my issue. Now, I haven’t had to go this far yet, so I can’t tell you the outcome. However, I had a FaG memorial that was transferred to me on my deceased father many many years ago. Upon the transfer to me, I wrote a rather nice bio for dad and included a horde of information that took me a very long time to research into. Recently, my idiot brother (and I say that as kindly as I can), decided to do a few things. First, he sponsored my memorial to dad (which, of course, got my attention). Until then, I had no idea what sponsorship was. After he posted a few photos, which I suppose he thought would bother me but didn’t really, he then duplicated my memorial in EVERY detail and made his own. Momo didn’t even take the time to remove the family links, which were NOT linking in his duplicated memorial because copy & paste won’t make live links. Then he sponsored his duplicate, but removes my name as the eldest child of our father so dad’s duplicated memorial starts with child ii… Well, a quick note to FaG and his was removed. So, in essence, he was out $10 and I now have no ads on dad’s memorial. As you can see, there is no love lost between my brother and I, which in reality is a little of both our faults. He thinks I am irrelevant because he is the only son and believes that trumps me being the eldest child… Personally, I could care less. I’m more concerned with the fact that all children get equal billing and are listed in the order in which they were born. I could remove my brother from the memorial I manage for dad, but I am not that shallow. I can’t say I hate my brother, for I don’t even know him (long story). I simply don’t like his attempts to goad me into a childish battle that really is pointless. I believe in truth above all else, even if it is a bit ugly. I also have no doubt that my brother views me in the same light as I view him… It doesn’t make either of us more right than the other. We simply disagree and have many clashes because of it. I wish it weren’t so, but in that respect I don’t believe he feels the same way. With that said, I am politely backing out from any further comments regarding he & I… Sorry about the book ;-)

Matty March 12, 2013 at 12:26 pm

IF you can find the person who posted on the FAG forum again that the cemetery is “theirs” and won’t transfer anyone. Copy that URL and notify FAG. Unfortunatly they can’t OWN anything as once it is in the FAG database if is theirs not his.

Now lets address another issue you posted above. He probably isn’t or did not type in every memorial but copy and pasted them from a database on the web.

Here’s is what to look for:
See if all the memorials have the same add date
Type in the town in Google and find the city, state page. You will have to root around their web pages to find if they have their cemetery records online.

IF they do, root around somemore and find out if there is a copyright on the website or “combined pages”. IF the copyright says Copyright 2013 – now you have to root some more. Go to whois.com or any other whois URL lookup page and see what date the city web page was registered.

Now send a message to the webmaster of the city page:
“I found that your website was registed in 2002. Has it had a copyright statement on it all these years? I have stong reason to believe that some information from your web site has been copied and added to another for profit website. Suggest that he/she change the copyright to read 2002-2013. The way it appears now is only for the current year”. (check back in a few days – it will probably be changed)

Here is where you get the owner/submitter of the copied database. See if on the town pages here is a city attorney listed. IF not look for the mayor, councilman or the main person in charge of the running of that town.

Send him a message: “It has come to my attention that your city cemetery database has been hyjacked by (the FAG contributor’s name) and posted on the FOR PROFIT webpage Findagrave.com. 1) they have violated the copyright on your combined city web pages. 2) I am assuming that your city government was not asked for permission to copy this information, it is in my humbal opinion that the contributor and Findagrave owe the city continuing compensation for the information that (the contributor) added to this website, as FAG is a “for profit” corporation.

Copyright law says you can copy anything your heart desires if it is for personal use. FAG is a for profit corporation registered in Deleware and doing business in Utah, and this addition of the cities database is a violation of the intellectual copyright law.

Don’t believe me…..Cyndy’s List, which most of us have used at one time or another was hyjacked a few months ago and added to a “Pay to get in” site. She has filed a law suit against that company !!

I’m anxious to see what happens. May I ask what state this cemetery is in?

JC April 3, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Facts are not protected by copyright. If the city database only contains facts, such as names, dates and plot location, only the presentation (selection of material and arrangement, or how the page looks) is protected. The facts contained within an original creation can be gleaned by anyone.

The issue with Cyndi’s List was her entire site was copied whole cloth.

Disgusted by Grave Hoarders February 8, 2013 at 10:47 am

Oh and don’t forget the obituary snatchers. Those sit all day online or even subscribe to funeral home mailing lists. As soon as an obituary is posted they steal it and the photo that goes with it, and paste it right onto find a grave and ancestry. You can pry that page out of their cold, dead hands – actually, even then they will deny your request for a transfer. They don’t even give the family a chance to grieve. Hopping over to make a find a grave memorial is not first on a mourning family’s agenda. But if you are not within that ‘four gen rule’ they hide behind, you will never get that page. Why do they do it? If it’s just to mark a location, they have done that. Holding onto the page after that is just about control.

Luana February 9, 2013 at 9:04 am

I agree 100%! To horde a memorial when u have no vested interest in the person’s life is really quite cruel and insensitive. What starts out as a desire to help can turn into something pretty darned ugly. I do know that when I have a memorial transferred to me that included an obit before the transfer, I generally add what I wanted to towards the top & leave the obit at the bottom, sectioning it off from my information… After all, it saved me the work of trying to find it myself! ;-)

Matty March 12, 2013 at 12:43 pm

OH you have hit one of the large thorn in my side issues.

OK, follow me through on this one……
The obit gets in the paper…..contributor (body horder) thinks he is being real smart and getting there first with making a memorial.

In the obit are the words “will be buried” or “services will be held” or something of that nature. The memorial is created 2-7 days BEFORE the actual burial date & time.

Now according to everything I have read including the web page name is is Find a “GRAVE” – “BURIALS”. Not find a deceaced or dead person.

Ok so the person is dead. They are in a box in a house, funeral home, being flown home, on a train….what ever.

Here is my question: IS THAT MEMORIAL LEGAL??
Yea the person is dead…..but no BURIAL has occured yet. Does that memorial count as legimitate? In my humble opinion NO. So if I am related….I make a new one AFTER the date of the actual burial.

Who has precidence in this situation ????

“Burial or interment is the ritual act of placing a dead person or animal, and/or objects into the ground. This is accomplished by excavating a pit or trench, placing the deceased or the object(s) in it, and covering it over”.

Lee March 12, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Another problem with copying and pasting obits is that they almost always include info on living relatives, which is against FAG rules. I don’t think it’s really a good idea to include info about living people in what can essentially become a family tree with these links. That is why ancestry.com automatically keeps living individuals hidden from public view. To help guard against identity theft. When I add an obit to a memorial created from a tombstone photo, I exclude names of living relatives, if there are any. (Most of the obits I add are very old)

Joan February 25, 2013 at 5:47 am

Find a Grave could EASILY stop a lot of the drama by:

1. Publishing legal notice to everyone that effective immediately (or in 2 weeks – pick a time/date) that ALL photos posted on FAG are for PUBLIC USE. This will end the ENDLESS copy write whiners. Let them keep them on their OWN paid for personal websites or in their hard drives.

2. STOP grave squatters/bean counters whose goal in life it to post as many graves as possible but with minimal information found on cemetery lists with ZERO intent to research full dob/dod/family members etc. After ONE YEAR – if someone has NOT updated a grave with information – BYE BYE – it is going to someone who cares enough to research that person.

JC April 3, 2013 at 1:32 pm

The owner of the site is not going to make either of those changes. He is not interested in family history and that isn’t why he created it. His playground, his rules.

Repeat offenders list March 1, 2013 at 11:12 am

Another Solution:

Can we start a list of repeat offenders who hoard graves and won’t even transfer parents and grandparents and children?

I know for a fact that the person who is holding my ggf hostage has done this to another. There has to be a way where you can say to FINDAGRAVE, this grave hoarding person is a repeat offender.

JC April 3, 2013 at 1:33 pm

All of the relationships you mention are required transfers. If the memorial manager doesn’t transfer, just contact the admins.

Lee March 2, 2013 at 10:06 am

The 4 (or is it 3, I can never remember) generation “rule” is only a guideline. It’s not a hard and fast rule. So people can choose to transfer whoever they wish. Fortunately, the vast majority of contributors that I have contacted have been very kind and generous and only too happy to transfer to someone who has an actual connection to the deceased. (Or if not, at least to make the requested additions). And I, in turn, have been more than happy to add my research and family links and transfer on to someone else. The beautiful thing about being able to add the family links is that they guide other descendants farther up their family tree than they may have otherwise been able to go. And when those descendants contact me and I transfer the memorial on to them, the memorial grows. It goes from a collection of facts to something much more heartfelt. And I get a really warm fuzzy feeling deep inside my heart. It’s great!
Fortunately, the people who choose not to transfer are in the minority. But to them I would like to suggest that being generous and passing the torch is SO much more rewarding than just sitting on a collection. And no one you transfer to can delete any memorial that you have created–only the person who created it can. And you will always get the credit on that memorial for creating it–your name stays on as the creator– and transferring will not negatively affect your “memorials created” numbers in any way. And when people look at your numbers and see the difference between the “memorials created” and “memorials managed” they will be impressed with your kindness and generosity.

Ron Tipton March 3, 2013 at 7:41 pm


I agree with you, most Find a Grave volunteers are very kind and very cooperative and will transfer memorials, even if you are not a direct relative. I will transfer any memorial if I am politely asked. However, I do not respond to commands or rude comments, a few of which (unfortunately) I have received. I feel sorry for those few who haven’t learned basic manners but I will not let them ruin my over all good experience being a Find a Grave volunteer. I too also get that “warm and fuzzy” feeling when I help someone fill in those missing pieces of their family history. That’s why I volunteer at Find a Grave.

Ron Tipton

Matty March 12, 2013 at 2:22 pm

I have to think if the requesting person is some what rude, they have asked for transfers from others and got denied or went unanswered. I have to think their opinion is that all submitters are rude or those making the transfer request are just downright frustrated. I know we have all been there at the frustration level at one time or another. :)

JC April 3, 2013 at 1:34 pm

It is also very rewarding to collaborate.

Lee March 3, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Ron, I’ve never had anyone ask for a transfer rudely, but I have had a couple very rude responses to my request for a plot location in order to fulfill a photo request. (Some cemeteries have fees or limits on numbers of requests) And, like you, I do not respond to that type of behavior. That’s the flip side of the issue. If you want a transfer, ask nicely. And if more than one or two won’t to transfer to you, the problem is probably the way you are asking.

Ron Tipton March 4, 2013 at 6:28 am


Most of the folks who ask for a transfer and ask me to add information are very polite. I always respond promptly to them and also send them a message that I fulfilled their request and I thank them for any additional information. However, whenever you’re interacting with people, there is always that small minority who are just sour human beings who are just rude. I’ve encountered that same problem during my genealogy research. I used to respond to that behavior but now I don’t waste my time with these people. I’m 71 years old now and I am tired of dealing with this kind of behavior so I don’t. I am glad though that most folks are kind, considerate and happy. That is what keeps me going.

Have a great day!


Lee March 8, 2013 at 6:30 am

In my experience, there are many people willing to transfer to even distant relations, especially if they see that you are a serious family researcher adding good info and are also enthusiastic about transferring on to people who are more closely related. When I photograph an entire cemetery, I really look forward to relatives or even just someone who cared about them wanting to take over their memorials. Why hang onto them? I just don’t get that.

Lee March 8, 2013 at 7:27 am

Ughh…this loads up differently from an iPhone. On the full site it looks like I was trying to respond to Ron and I wasn’t. I don’t blame you for not transferring to people who are rude, Ron. I don’t fulfill these photo requests from rude people, either.

Lee March 8, 2013 at 7:43 am

But of course, strictly adhering to the guidelines is anyone’s perogative. They can if they choose, just like people can choose to transfer to anyone they want. I don’t get why you would want to hold onto memorials for people that you have absolutely no personal connection to, but I respect your right to do so. Personally, I find more joy in sharing. But certainly, if you won’t give them up you have a responsibility to make additions and corrections and you should give credit to the person who provided the information.

Lee March 8, 2013 at 7:50 am

CITE THE SOURCE OF YOUR UPDATES/CORRECTIONS. If someone sends you a correction or information to add to a memorial–let people know where it came from. First of all, its just the right thing to do and will encourage people not to “information hoard.” But it also allows people who are researching that family line to network. When someone sends me something, I copy and paste it to the bio and INCLUDE THEIR FAG USER NAME AND ID.
If you don’t do this, people may also suspect that you hold onto those memorials so that you can take credit for their research. And in a way, you are.

JC April 3, 2013 at 1:35 pm

NO!!! The site does NOT want that and the admins have stated as much in the forums. Can you imagine how messy a memorial would get if 4 or 5 people contributed info and you cited every one of them?

Will K March 12, 2013 at 11:07 am

Find A Grave is an Amazing resource for Family History.
I sometimes wonder if Some Members are creating Memorials to Sell, by creating Memorials then deleting enough information so they have relatively Blank Master forms so they can Add a Special Person’s memorial or sell it to someone that wants a Special Memorial for I.E. Elvis,George Bush or a special friend or family member with an Earlier submission date ?
I notice people who have 10,000, 20,000 or more Memorials Hyperlinks that are Blacked out or not accessible – Someone can properly manage 10,000 -20,000 or more Memorials REALLY?

Matty March 12, 2013 at 3:18 pm

They are blocked out and not accessable because they don’t want to be contacted. They are the “Super Supreme Body Horders”.

OR they just might be inactive/dead

Do they have any public messages showing? Check the date of the last one posted.

If the edit tab doesn’t work either, contact FAG with your concern (don’t complain) that they might be inactive, and ask them to contact the submitter on your behalf. Don’t forget to include your member number.

I had one not to long ago where the bio read funny. By that I mean all the info was in the “past tense” and it almost read like there were others managing the memorials. So I contacted them and inquired if the submitter was still alive. A gal got back to me in 24 hours and said SHE had visited with HIM last evening. That told me that something was wrong and he, the submitter, was not able to manage his memorials at the moment. It was then that I requested the memorials I wanted (2) and wished the submitter better days ahead. Got the memorials transferred the next day. I must admit I have not checked back to find out if he, the submitter, was now a memorial. :)

JC April 3, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Will, yes, a contributor can properly manage 10-20k memorials. I have more than 20k and get about 30 suggestions a week, mostly link requests. It does not even take an hour to do them all at one time.

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