Monday, October 15, 2012

Tuesday's Tip - A Little Find A Grave Class...and a Pet Peeve...

OK, I'm not the Find A Grave police.  Wouldn't want to be either, but is it really that difficult to use it?  Seriously, if you've got the skills to submit a spreadsheet with almost 500 names on it, you would think that you could have figured out to check against the database so you aren't submitting 300 duplicates.  I'm not joking either.

Each week I would drive 18 miles round trip to the local veterans cemetery in Killeen.  My goal (at least it was before we found out we were moving away) was to eventually have a photo with every grave that's in there.  I would go to Find A Grave and click on the name of the cemetery, in this case "Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery", I click on "view all interments" and the sort by those without a tombstone.  So I make a list of those that need a picture taken and I head out to the cemetery.  They've got a great computer system there that tells you the location of each person buried there.  It's such a pleasure doing this.

Well, as I went to upload my most recent batch of 40+ photos and create my next list, I saw names that I recognized.  I often question my sanity, but this was just too much dejavu.  I went to the file I have of photos I submitted and wouldn't you know I had already uploaded a photo for this person.  So my intuition kicked in and I sorted the cemetery by those memorials that had been added in the last 24 hours.  Someone apparently submitted an enormous spreadsheet (almost 500 names) and didn't check to see if they were already in the database.

Why stress Cherie?  I really didn't want to, but I also really didn't want to spend a rather large chunk of time, effort and gas money (not to mention the heat in Texas) to be going out and taking pictures of stones...again.  So I very patiently went through and sent an edit link to the person that submitted the duplicates, informing him/her of the error.  My purpose wasn't to spam his email, but it would give him the link to each memorial and could therefore be removed.  I also wanted to send the links before people started posting flowers and remembrances, because it's then really too late to correct the mistake.  Will he ever remove the duplicates?  I don't know.  I hope so, but apparently a class needs to be given on using Find A Grave.

I say that with sarcasm because the people that care actually look into what they are doing.  Doing a spreadsheet with almost 500 names shows some dedication on that person's part, but doing such a large job and doing it in a half-assed manner shows another side of that person.  So a brief class...

Aside from what I already mentioned above such as sorting a cemetery if you are looking to add photos/memorials, there are a couple of other points I'd like to make.  First, what do you do if you notice that there is a memorial for someone, but they are missing some information?  Well, it's actually not that difficult and you certainly don't have to create a duplicate.  There is an "Edit" tab on the top right of each memorial created.  Just click on the "Edit" tab and click "Suggest a correction or provide additional information".  Type in your correction/addition, click send and BAM!'re done!  Easy!

If you have a Find A Grave profile (and if you don't WHY don't you?) and you'd like to add a cemetery to your profile so you can easily find it again, just go to the cemetery's main page and at the top right, click on the "Add this to My Cemeteries" and it's done! Then if you want to quickly get to that cemetery again to do some work just go to "Contributor Tools".  Under "Customize" on the left-hand column you'll see several subcategories such as "friends", but for our purposes, just click on the "Edit" button by "My Cemeteries" and it will take you to a page with all of your saved cemeteries and you can go from there.

Find A Grave is a great resource and we all put so much time into genealogy research as well as helping others.  If we're going to be helpful to others we also must be considerate.  Wouldn't we want that directed at us as well?

Pet peeve over.  Tip(s) conveyed, now let's go do some good work!


  1. I love findagrave and, thankfully, I've had nothing but great experiences with members. I've heard others have not been as fortunate. The only thing that troubles me is what will happen as the years go by and members are either no longer active or die so that it won't be as easy to request corrections.

    1. I've actually run across a few memorials where the creator had passed away. If you email Find A Grave and give them the name of the person that created the memorial and the memorial number they will transfer the memorial to you. I'm sure they attempt to contact the owner first to ensure there is no response. It did take a few days before they transferred it, but they do have a solution out there.

  2. Thanks for the tips. I learned some things about the site. Always a good thing.