Give Me That Memorial On Find-a-Grave

findagraveI’m a frequent poster of tombstone photos to Find-a-grave.   Many smaller cemeteries have few if any memorials the the FAG site.  As often as I can, I take photos of every tombstone in these cemeteries and post them complete with memorials on the Find-a-grave site so others who can’t travel to the cemetery will have the information and photos for their research.

Up until the last year, almost all of the users of Find-a-grave have been wonderfully helpful and congenial, but during the last twelve months, I’ve noticed that attitude is sinking faster than the U.S. economy.

In the past, I’ve been happy to create links, confirm information and transfer records that don’t tie to my family to the folks who do have family ties to the person in a FAG memorial I’ve created. Now, the majority of the FAG notes I receive from others are basically harsh demands that I immediately surrender any and all records of a certain surname to the requester.   Some of them even chastise me for ever having created the record (i.e. You shouldn’t have taken a photo of MY Families tombstones let alone create a FAG record for them).  

It doesn’t matter that I created the records eight or more years ago in many cases.  They say that I’ve “infringed” on their ‘Rights’ as a family member to take the photos and create the records themselves. 

Frequently, when I can get them to answer a question of how they are related to the person(s) in the memorial, I find that they are no more than second or third cousins or that they want all records with a certain surname so they can create a one-name-study on Find-a-grave of everyone in the United States with that name.

“What?  You send me nasty notes and aren’t any more closely related to the folks than I am?” 

I’ve become very selective about transferring memorials to anyone other than a direct descendant of the person in the requested record after being ‘burned’ a number of times in the last year. 

Old friends have contacted me and said, “You created my parents / grandparents / family memorial on Find-a-grave but you transferred it to “X” person and we don’t even know who they are.  Now, they won’t transfer It to me!”  This situation is especially disturbing to me when they are talking about their parents and grandparents records.

From the start, I’ve always intended to transfer the records I’ve created on FAG to the descendants of  the person in the memorial when they started doing genealogy research themselves and subsequently found the Find-a-grave record for their relation.  The proclivity to genealogical research and activities like posting photos on Find-a-grave simply started earlier in my life than in theirs, hence I became the person to create the memorials. 

I love the records created by users of Find-a-grave.  The work of others has not only saved me a lot of time in my own research, but in many cases, has given me information and tombstone photos that I probably wouldn’t have found otherwise. 

Some folks use Find-a-grave as their only genealogy database.  They’ve told me that they don’t keep their data in a genealogy database on their computers.  I think that is decision wrong for many reasons, but at least they are taking the time to add information and photos to the memorials on Find-a-grave thus making it a much richer experience for others to enjoy.

As in the past, I’ll happily add information , add family links, etc., to any memorials that I can’t transfer for the above stated reasons.

To those of you who will undoubtedly make transfer demands in the future, don’t waste your time unless you have a close lineal relationship to the requested person  or have a good reason to want to manage the memorial.  I created the records for their families, not for scalpers and hoarders.  Be prepared to hear “NO” in the most pleasant terms I can think of. 

If nasty requests continue after that, just assume that I’ve marked your email address as trash and have set up a rule to immediately send notes from you to the round file rather than to my inbox.

To anyone asking others to transfer FAG memorials to them for management, ask pleasantly. Common courtesy goes a long way in creating friends and eliciting a response from others. Surely, you use pleasant language when you talk face-to-face with others. That rule should be even more true when communicating via text in an email. Body language and voice inflections are non-existent in them and your ‘folksy’ way of speaking probably won’t translate well in text.

Always remember to say thanks!

Lastly, some of my best genealogy ‘friends’ have come from Find-a-grave contacts. I think you’ll find the same thing to be true as you interact with other users of the site over time. Don’t loose them as friends before a friendship can even develop because of the ‘timbre’ of your voice in your written communications.

Copyright (c) Lee Drew 2011-06-11 19:10:00
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About lineagekeeper

Family history research is a favored avenue of relaxation. It is a Sherlock-like activity that can continue almost anywhere at any time. By leveraging a lifetime involvement in technology, my research efforts have resulted in terabytes of ancestral data, earning me the moniker of Lineagekeeper. And yes - We are all related to Royalty.