No tombstones today - I thought instead I would get on my soapbox in regard to the current abundance of bogus grave memorials on Find A Grave. I have always felt that Find A Grave was a wonderful resource and have submitted all of the cemetery photos I take to that site. I also search Find A Grave in the course of researching various individuals. It’s a great source of birth and death dates for those who lived long before birth and death certificates existed.
However lately I see more and more bogus grave memorials entered there. Yesterday I discovered a fictitious grave memorial for a great great uncle. One of his descendants had previously submitted a photo of his gravestone and entered a memorial for the cemetery where he is actually buried which is in the same county. There was another bogus memorial in the same Kentucky cemetery by the same person (not a descendant) for another great great uncle from the same family who had actually died in another state.
Am I the only one who is concerned about this practice and how rampant it is becoming on Find A Grave? Find A Grave doesn’t seem to care and apparently has no restrictions as to whether entering a memorial should require the presence of a legitimate grave in the cemetery. They also don’t make it very easy to contact them to complain – hence my post here.
It concerns me that these practices will eventually ruin the site as a tool for researchers if they haven’t already. I’m not sure whether I will stop submitting my photos there but I may investigate the new Cemetery Transcription Project of the US GenWeb Archives as an alternative to Find A Grave.
Anyone else have an opinion?
January 2014 - Update
This week I've encountered another incident concerning a bogus Find A Grave memorial. I received a message through Find A Grave requesting that I add a relationship link to the memorial I had placed several years ago for Thomas Slayden at Maplewood Cemetery in Mayfield, Kentucky. The link was supposedly to his father Stokley Slayden, memorial number 123010442, at a cemetery in Weakley County, Tennessee. Several years ago a memorial (84242079) had been entered for Stokley Slayden at the Baltimore Cemetery in Graves County, Kentucky where both he and his wife Nancy are buried. The person who made the duplicate memorial in Weakley County had copied the photo from the legitimate first memorial and used it for the bogus one. I wrote the person and nicely told them that I had linked the grave of Thomas Slayden to his father's actual grave in the Baltimore Cemetery and that they should delete their duplicate. Today I see that they have now added their duplicate memorial along with the purloined photo to the Baltimore Cemetery.
There are genealogists who praise Find A Grave and promote it, but I personally have serious misgivings about the entire site based on the numerous incidences of fraudulent memorials.
I have to wonder how many people have made trips, possibly from some distance, to visit a cemetery where the grave as listed on Find A Grave doesn't exist.