Grave Collectors: It’s a Numbers Game on Find A Grave. Have you come across people who do not want to correct information or they do not want to transfer the memorial so that you can correct the errors?
The past few weeks I have seen a few blog posts in regards to Find A Grave and issues with some of the volunteers. To be honest, I was never a big fan of Find A Grave. To me the website is clunky and is not always the easiest to work with. In the past I have had issues with photo size and uploading to the website. Which is one of the reasons I rarely use it. For me, it was more of a request page before I got involved with the Facebook genealogy community, and definitely before the days of Billion Graves (which is the website I prefer). That being said, as many of you already know Ancestry is linking to Find A Grave memorials now. That makes it hard for me to ignore the website.
A few weeks ago, I was given a hint on Ancestry that led me to Find A Grave. It was for my great-grandmother Rose (Springer) O’Connell-McAvoy. I know where she is buried and I already have pictures of her grave and the other family members at St. Joseph Cemetery in River Grove, IL. I clicked on the leaf anyway to see her memorial, more out of curiosity than anything else.
Her memorial was fine and I was shocked to see that it was linked to her second husband and one child. The reason I was shocked was because the memorial had it all SO. WRONG.
The person who created the memorials, assumed information based on Rose’s burial. She had my grandfather listed (and attached to Rose) as unknown O’Connell. Unknown O’Connell’s memorial stated that his wife was Jeanette Barr. Yeah, not so much. They were divorced 30 something years before his death. It also stated that his obituary showed his burial was private and they assumed he was in the same cemetery as Rose. So, they had an obit. They found a marriage record, his second marriage to be exact and yet they could not list his name. He was unknown. I do not understand that. Basic research was done, correct records were found. Yet, a bit of googling and you could have found more information because I have blogged about him many times. His burial photo’s are on the web. As is information on his three marriages. But that is just the beginning.
When I clicked the link from Rose to Frank McAvoy (Rose’s second husband). It basically stated that he too was buried in the same cemetery. Yeah, not so much. He is a mile or so away. How do I know. I have been there. I have taken pictures and I. HAVE. BLOGGED. ABOUT. IT. Yep, I blogged about his obituary, his burial photos too. Again, googling his name would have helped.
If you are looking into someone, why not use google and see what you can find. You did basic research, a minute to google would be helpful and maybe you would not embarrass yourself with the shotty information you are putting on the web that will spread forever unless someone puts a stop to it.
What did I do?
Well, I went to the creators profile and read that they did not want private messages. They wanted you to leave a comment open to the public. My first comment was nice. I left a link to my grandfathers cemetery pictures which would give them where he was buried and his name. Which they found unimportant.
Next, I turned to Facebook because I knew that other friends had issues there as well. The advice I was given was to ask for the memorials to be turned over to me. Since they were my direct line, Find A Grave would make sure they changed the management of the memorials over to me. So, I sent the request to the person who created the memorials.
Well, I waited a few days and did not get a reply. So, I then turned to the people behind Find A Grave to see if they would be of some assistance. I was specific with my information and why I was requesting the transfer of management. I received a reply within a few hours. I was impressed with the turn around time. I know they have a lot going on behind the scenes and to get back so quick was appreciated.
Yet, the reply told me to wait two weeks for a reply from the memorial creator. That they had also reached out to the person and we need to give them time to handle the request. So, I marked the two weeks on my calendar with when the time would be up.
The two weeks passed and nothing happened. I know you are shocked, I was too. I turned back to Find A Grave via email. Making sure I replied to them with their original email to me. I let them know the two weeks were up and nothing had happened and I heard from no one.
They quickly replied (again) and changed management of the three memorials to me.
I know not everyone has had a good experience with Find A Grave. However, I felt that whoever is working the backside of the website is attentive and helpful. Even if I had to wait two weeks to get things taken care of. I feel two weeks was too long to wait, but that is because bad information on my ancestors stayed on the internet that long. To me its unacceptable to let that information remain out there. All I really wanted out of this was to get the information corrected. I did not care about the management of the memorials. In the end, that was what I had to care about in order to get the information corrected.
For All The Grave Collectors Out There
Instead of being concerned with the number of memorials you create or manage, lets focus on putting out the correct information. Quit going through obituaries to find people to add to Find A Grave. Instead, walk the cemetery and create ones that are from the cemetery. After all, that is the purpose of the website. TO. FIND. A. GRAVE. Not just to create a memorial.
Those who use the current obituaries should really be ashamed of themselves. Family members are still dealing with the grief of losing a loved one and you are worried about a numbers game and being the first to create the memorial. Have you no thoughts of the family?
These are just my thoughts and they are based on my two weeks of dealing with Find A Grave. I do hope that all those out there volunteering to take photos of others grave continue to do so with some compassion for the families of the deceased. Lets take some time to make sure the information we are posting is correct and not based on assumptions. This is important for all of us.