Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Find A Grave Genealogy....A Rant

I've been a member of the "Find A Grave" website for over 2 years now.  (In a month and a half it will be 3 Years!)
I joined once I started getting into genealogy seriously as a hobby.

But I have a love/hate relationship with the F.A.G. site.

I have tired for years now to get a few of my family member's memorials on there transferred to me for upkeep.
Specifically my maternal grandparents and that grandmother's siblings and parents. 
Their memorials were created by a guy who lives in that county of Virginia where they lived whom I don't know personally nor is he related to my peoples.  He's just an avid genealogy freak.

Or WAS an avid genealogy freak.
This person NEVER responds to requests for transfers, nor does he respond to emails AT ALL.
And it's just not me as I've contacted others who have tried to correspond with him and he doesn't answer them either.

I find this very strange because on his member bio page he states, "If a family member contacts me I will gladly transfer their memorial over to them."
This is a down right LIE!

And this guy manages over 4 THOUSAND memorials!  Or rather "has ownership" of that many....he doesn't manage anything.
Clearly he is a memorial Hoarder.  He is standing in the way of correct memorials and loving family members who want them updated and accurate.

And I know he has not passed away himself because as late as last June 2014, he was still taking photos of headstones for other people's memorials!

Now it's not like I HAVE TO have all my dead relatives memorials.
I have written to him with information on these ancestors that needs to be updated and/or corrected on their memorials.
And he sees fit to not respond and/or fix any of the information either!

I have even written to the Powers That Be at F.A.G. to let them know about the problems this guy is causing numerous members.
And their response is to NOT RESPOND to my inquiries.
I tell ya, I am about at the point of making duplicate memorials for these relatives so I can get the correct/proper information out there......even though making duplicate memorials is a no-no.

At least if I did make dups and this guy objected, he's have to actually email me, right? ;-)

I at least went ahead and got some information put onto my family's memorials that he "maintains"(ha!) last week.

There is a feature on F.A.G. where you can submit family links to the person's other relatives' memorials directly to F.A.G. and they will check them out and edit the memorial held by the non-responsive member themselves.  But they won't correct specific information(name, dates, places)just the links to their other family members.

I am just so frustrated I could chew steel!!



  1. Great now I am having vision of Sluggy with those metal teeth that the James Bond Giant bad guy had. How am I gong to sleep tonight?

  2. Find-a-grave drama is one of the reasons I am much less active than I once was.

    I have had some success using the edit@findagrave.com.email address. They will not reply but I have had success in getting them to force transfers or delete duplicates.

    I wait 30 days after my most recent email to the unresponsive contributor. Then forward that sent email to the 'edit' address asking them to resolve the issue. They won't reply but they often take action.

    Another option is to create the duplicate with all the edits you've requested without success. Forward your ignored emails along with a request to merge the two memorials. They will probably delete your new memorial but they will merge the data and probably transfer it to you. It will still show as created by the original manager but you'll have management,

    Good Luck

    1. Thanks David. I'll keep this in mind going forward if my latest attempt to get them to take action doesn't work. I have used the info@ email before, didn't know of an edit@ email.

    2. No, creating a duplicate is never an option! Ask yourself this: would I tell my child (or grandchild) it's okay to cheat and lie?

  3. I am sorry you're having so much trouble with a site that has such a funny acronym. Also, I want to say that hoarding graves of people you don't even know so that you can have total control over them is the weirdest hobby/interest/all-consuming-life's-purpose I have ever heard of. How bizarre to be King-of-Everyone's-Graves.

    1. 444,
      You are so correct about weirdest hobby.

    2. I won't disagree with that comment.

  4. I had to go to Wikipedia to understand what this was all about. I still don't really get why this guy, or other people, would submit listings/memorials for people they don't know and who aren't related to them?? I've noticed there is now a Canadian version so I'll check on some of my family's graves and see if anyone has nabbed them or not. Is it a separate membership from ancestry.com?

    1. Yes Jane, it's a separate entity from ancestry dotcom.
      FAG began as a way to document where people were buried for genealogical purposes or to just remember your dearly departed relatives. Most folks who create the memorials will turn them over to family members but some won't. There are also organizations that HOLD onto memorials. I came across one of those when I found a Virginian ancestor who died as a POW during the war of Northern Aggression outside of Columbus, Ohio. The Martha Reid Chapter(FLA chapter) of the UDC "owns" him on FAG. Not being a direct ancestor they won't transfer him to me as he is a ggg uncle.

    2. I understand finding these graves and documenting them. But is this case of "She or he who dies with the most graves wins"? Maybe is there was a way to give credit to the finder, people would give up the graves. Maybe the "King of Graves" is not a bad idea.

    3. Hi Jane. I am Canadian and am very interested in seeing the Canadian version. Would you have a link to that site please?

    4. I was on Facebook recently and a friend had left me a link to read. Apparently the name CHRISTINA on the FAG site has created a lot of problems for people who want transfers to their loved ones but as a hoarder she won't do it and FAG won't help. Personally I picture a very sad person who's only connection to social media is via FAG. I could be wrong.

  5. Replies
    1. No, he is alive and possibly well.....just obstinate!

  6. Slugmama, like many, you misunderstood the purpose of FAG. It was never "for genealogical purposes". It still isn't. It is to record grave locations, period. The founder of FAG, Jim Tiption, wasn't interested in genealogy and, until the sale to Ancestry, didn't see it as "a genealogy site". My recommendation to all users is to understand the purpose of the site and accept it for what it IS rather than what they think it should be.
    That being said, you CAN get the names/dates/locations corrected and transfers of "in guideline" relatives. Go to FAG and click on the "Help with Find A Grave" link found in the menu on the left of every memorial. These FAQs contain the answer to nearly every question you could possibly have about the site and how to use it. If you cannot find your answers there, try the Discussion Forums > General Help with FAG.

    1. I realize the founder didn't intend for FAG to be a genealogical resource but truth be told, THAT IS the role it has taken on.

      I have read the FAQs numerous times and contacted both the management of FAG as well as Users yet not a one takes action on problems or responses in my experience.
      I will however now slog through the discussion forums when I get fed up again, thanks.

    2. FAG can be used as a genealogy *resource* but that does not change the purpose of the site any more than using the census as a genealogy resource changes its true purpose.
      How are you trying to contact the users for corrections /request transfers?

    3. FAG admins do not typically respond; they do whatever it is that was asked and go on. The best advice I can give is
      A.) Use the correct address to contact them; and
      B.) Be concise.

  7. Use the edit tab to submit edits. If no response on the sixth edit option after 30 days, forward the copy of the email to edit@ All is addressed in FAQ of the site. Duplicates are totally wrong

    1. I have entered edits and they have been ignored and asked for transfers but also ignored. ;o( The will merge duplicates I have been told so to get the information out there I have done that since my edits and requests for transfer have been ignored.

  8. I just can't understand why fag allows the hoarders to put in memorials for people who are not in the ground yet. They can't very well say that they are buried there if they haven't even died yet but it keeps the family from getting to the memorial fast enough. I have one man who has a headstone photo of the same one I have on all my memorials. I have ask him to remove his but he won't budge.


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