Sunday, January 16

Find A Grave Policy Change...for the Good?

Find A Grave has implemented a major policy change effective immediately regarding posting of memorials for the “recently deceased.” "Recently Deceased" is defined as anyone who has died within the past year. Find a Grave is owned by Ancestry and although a valuable tool in genealogy research it has some major flaws...more on this below. This change is an effort to give the families control the death reports and memorials for their own loved ones. 

Yes people love adding recently deceased people to Find A Grave whether they are a family member or not and this policy change doesn't fix this issue. It does however ask the contributor whether he or she is closely related to the deceased i.e. first cousin or closer. The problem with this, the relationship between the deceased and contributor can be made private. Anyone can claim to be a "cousin", right?

If someone passes, should the family post the memorial or a total stranger? From the site, “If the member adding this memorial is not related within our updated transfer guidelines, to be sensitive to family members, the memorial displays with limited information to others on the site for the first three months after the death date. After three months from the death date, the view of the memorial is no longer limited. The memorial will show as others do except that for up to a year from the death date, the option for a close relative to ‘Manage’ the memorial will show on the memorial.” Continuing, “During those first three months after the death date (when the memorial displays with a limited view), we have added a simple way for close relatives to request to manage the memorial. A close relative can click the ‘Manage’ button, add their relationship, and become the manager for a new memorial for that person."1

Most genealogist agree the new change is a start, but doesn't go far enough as "grave trolls" will still be driven to to create memorials in order to drive up their number of memorials created. Here at the BIN, we have stopped creating memorials on Find A Grave unless we have a direct lineage to the deceased, i.e. within 2-3 generations. Our problem with Find A Grave are memorials with erroneous information, duplicates, incorrect relationships with others in the directory, and the BIGGEST issue for us, a deceased listed in the wrong cemetery! Trying to correct these discrepancies is a daunting task and some contributors absolutely refuse to admit to their mistakes and correct the info, even after being provided with proof.

In closing, Find A Grave is a wonderful research tool, but remember to verify verify verify before sourcing. If you're a contributor to this network, be respectful to the family of the recently deceased. It's not about the numbers or how many records you manage.

1. Source: Memorials for those who are recently deceased,”

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