Sunday, September 12, 2010

Findagrave.com

Findagrave.com is a great website for locating burial places of relatives and viewing their gravestones.  I have placed the burial information for most of the graves that I have visited.  This is a great way to organize the burials for my own personal review, and helps me to connect with other relatives when they find the listing and then contact me.

I like to see bare facts laid out on a findagrave listing, reflecting the information on the gravestone.  If you can support additional information, such as a place of death or maiden name, go for it.  The other purpose of findagrave.com is to create living memorials of deceased relatives.  This angle encourages adding in lots of information not found on the gravestone.  I think such an idea is great for people who can't get to the cemetery or can't provide a headstone.  I feel that creation of such a memorial is best suited for recent deaths- people who living people remember.

The problem arises when people try to add in all sorts of information that they attribute to a person long dead- information not found on the gravestone.  Findagrave.com now permits linking parents with children and husband with wife.  Great for tracing a family tree, but who decides if this is correct?  Again, you need to be very wary of the genealogical information contained on findagrave.com.  The name and dates on the gravestone are second-hand information at best.  When you find a listing that adds "facts" not on the gravestone, you need to contact the contributor to ascertain where he/she got the info.

I add names and photos that do not belong to my known relatives.  These graves are usually next to the graves that I am researching, or might just strike me as interesting.  When photographing graves, it's a good idea to photograph all of the graves around your focus grave.  They could also be relatives that you have not realized yet.  Knowing the area of the grave will also help you locate the grave later when trees have grown and bushes have overtaken the smaller stones.  Having pictures of other people's relatives has caused a few to contact me to add information to the listing- info not found on the tombstone.  This I cannot do because I have no documentation, nor do I want any.  I will usually transfer ownership of the grave listing to the requester so they can add any info they desire.  Some people collect other people's work, managing more graves than they contribute.  I do not transfer to such members.


Request to add additional information to a findagrave.com posting.  Identifying information deleted.