Friday, August 27, 2010

A Day Spent at Find A Grave

I spent most of the day today at Find A Grave. I spent a few minutes doing searches and then the rest of the day adding to Ellisburg Cemetery. The photos I have were taken over a year ago - so shame on me! Here are some random thoughts from today.

  • If you add a memorial you agree to manage it. I understand that typos happen but if I ask you to make a correction I feel you are obligated to do so, or transfer the memorial to someone who will.
  • Ditto if I ask you add relationship links or other information.
  • Is there a prize I'm not aware of for managing the most memorials?
  • Copying newspaper obituaries is plagiarism and not allowed under FAG rules, so why are there so many there?
  • What happens to memorials when contributors die?
  • I find it maddening when a photo of a stone was added but not transcribed. If I can see that he died on May 10th certainly that should have been added rather than just the year.
  • A search for the last name "Unknown" results in 21,085 records! 13,655 of those also have the first name "Unknown."
  • Am I the only one that feels the need to poke around and see if I can find out a little more? For example today I had two stones next to each other. Her stone said she was the wife of Samuel and daughter of P & A Williams. The next stone was for S. Eugene. Ten minutes later I knew that her husband was Samuel Eugene and I also was able to determine her parents names and link them. (This led to an hour detour through old newspapers but I found some great stuff!)
  • I really need to spend more time adding memorials for people I am related to.
  • I also need to organize my virtual cemetery.
  • There is a way to add someone even though you don't know where they are buried.


Linda McCauley said...

I've wondered the same thing about "owning" the most memorials. I once asked someone to add some relationships for me and the response was they didn't have the time to do that for the # they had added. So I asked for them to be transferred to me. They were all relatives and the cemetery was on property that had been owned by my gg grandparents. Anyway, the next response I receive was that the "owner's" wife was related to the family. I was excited thinking I'd found a new cousin and responded asking how she was related and explaining my relationship. I never heard a word back but all of the memorials I had requested were silently transferred to me. I guess he figured he was never getting rid of me so he gave up but he really didn't want to give them to me.

Sheri Fenley said...

Hey Apple! I am with you on each and every one of these points.

FYI - I did look into the prize thing for you and from what I can tell the prize is an "Atta Boy/Girl." Awesome.

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

Linda - You were lucky! I am usually just ignored. My solution has always been to just leave a flower and a note with the corrected information. I really don't get it. I'd happily hand over any of the memorials I have to someone with a family connection.

Right now there is one memorial that I would like to have corrected but when I click on edit I get "ERROR - That contributor's account is disabled so they can not receive suggestions." I guess I'll have to send a message to Find A Grave. I know at one point she had over 10,000 memorials that now no one can access.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, Apple. I lose all track of time when I visit Findagrave. My biggest pet peeve is when someone adds a nonexistant or a duplicate cemetery. Good post!

Sheryl Ramin said...

I admit I am guilty of posting obituaries on FAG with the source of where they were obtained. Using my own words without a source seems misleading, I might word it so that it is interpreted differently. Are there any suggestions as to how to give readers clues about who the person was without copying the obituary?

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

Rather than copy the obituary I'd hit just the essentials and then state that their obituary appeared in Such&such paper on whatever date. Anyone looking for further information should then be able to find it. My personal focus is on cemetery headstones but I'll often get additional information from the census or old newspapers and I'll state that in the bio section.

GeneaDiva said...

I am always grateful when I find an obituary on FAG and I may have posted one myself :)

Mary said...

I wrote my husband's obituary and our newspaper published it verbatim. Do I own the copyright?

I was surprised several months after his death when I went to add his information to findagrave, to discover that his information and obituary were already there. The man who post it transferred it to me right away. I'm glad his obituary is out there, easily found on the web for old friends and future generations to find. Our local newspaper keeps them available online for one year and then they are no longer available.

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

Hi Mary,

I would say that you own the copyright but copyright but I am far from a copyright expert. If you are fine with that person copying and pasting the obit that's fine but not everyone is. I've seen many obituaries from our local papers turn up on FAG with no mention of the paper that they came from.

And when I wrote this I was not thinking about obituaries from old papers that have passed out of copyright. I will transcribe them to add with the name, date and page of the paper where they were found in hopes of helping someone down the road.

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

From the Find A Grave FAQ's:

"Can I add an obituary to my interment listing?

It is best to not copy obituary notices from newspapers to an individual's memorial record unless you have permission from the newspaper to do so. In general, obituaries in newspapers are submitted by the family. If the obituary is added to the memorial record, it should list the newspaper and date the obit was printed. Find A Grave reserves the right to remove obituary notices from memorial records.
Obituaries for "famous" individuals are usually written by newspaper staff and can not be posted to Find A Grave.
Please do not include website addresses that may be listed in the obituary as they usually expire within a year after the obituary is printed."

Brenda Joyce Jerome said...

My personal FAG pet peeve is the person who copies entire cemetery books - often complete with errors. I would rather see actual recordings with correct information and photos, which also avoids copyright issues.