I started out in the Air Force for a short time in the early 1980's, had a 15 year break and now I'm active duty with the PA Army National Guard (AGR) in an Apache (AH-64D) Attack Reconnaissance Battalion (soon to retire). My family has served in the military since the French & Indian War, all from Pennsylvania, down to two of my sons who served in the PA National Guard.
I have been involved with genealogy since around 1982 and have published several books on area cemeteries as well as local history. I finally earned my Master's Degree in 2006. It has been my goal to document as many cemeteries in my area as possible before much of the information is lost to time. Besides transcribing cemeteries I have recently found the value in photographing headstones as a way to help preserve this valuable information for future generations. It seems that most families have that one person who seems to answer a calling in life to be the family historian- I guess that's me as well as for my wife's family.
What I find incredible- I went from using a typewriter and carbon paper in the early 1980's, to now being able to take a photo of a headstone and upload it to this site instantly while in the cemetery, from my iPhone.
If you want to see why what we do is so important and photographing headstones in order to preserve the information for future generations is vital, check out Blough Cemetery to see how a cemetery's condition can change in 15 years. This is NOT a numbers game- Again, it is a quest to preserve our heritage for future generations.
Now for the "Fine Print...:"
1) If you suggest any corrections/links, PLEASE use the edit link on the memorial and include all pertinent information. DO NOT e-mail suggestions, corrections or photo requests directly to me. Also, if I have created a memorial that is a relative, please feel free to ask to have it transferred. Just be sure to include your member number and relationship. If transferred, would appreciate any information that I have added remain intact after transfer. If I do not transfer a memorial, it is only because it is a relative of mine as well, unless you're more closely or directly related.
2) If I have a photo on here, I am the copyright holder unless I cite the source in the caption from another contributor. If it is a photo that I own, please feel free to use it in your own personal family tree such as Ancestry.com. HOWEVER, on any of my photos, be sure to cite the source to give proper credit.
The new agreement with Ancestry does not allow people to post photos from this website to Ancestry without first getting permission. Both sites make it very clear the copyright holder retains copyright and you need his/her permission to use any photo. Under U.S. copyright law, photos taken after 1977 are covered by copyright without the need to register it, use the (c), circled c, copyright, or any other notice. Using someone else's photo with citation is not a substitution for needing permission.
3) When I add memorials for non-relatives, I try to be as complete and accurate as possible, and I do so with the same care and respect as I would for my own family member.
4) If I post a photo on a memorial in which you had already posted one, please don't take offense- sometimes additional photos under other conditions (ie- light, weather, etc.) can provide a whole different perspective. Many times I've swapped out my own photos when conditions were different the second time around and the new photo had more detail, especially with worn stones. If you are the owner of that memorial and don't want someone else's photos just ask and I will remove it. Likewise, if you have a photo to add to mine that can help enhance the memorial, please feel free to contribute.
5) Please show proper etiquette when it comes to people volunteering their time and gas. A simple thank you goes a long way. If you want multiple monuments photographed, please take the time to create a memorial for each person rather than attach a message to one request asking for multiple photos or "everyone else in that cemetery with the same surname."
6) Through my publisher I have published over a dozen books just on cemetery transcriptions alone, taking the time to carefully transcribe hundreds of cemeteries. I've noticed that people have taken that work to enter memorials "en masse" and are then uncooperative when it comes to transferring, correcting, linking and editing these memorials for family members and other researchers. This is not a numbers game so I would encourage a team approach in this project.
7) I will post obituaries to my memorials as long as the proper citation is made to give the proper credit for the source. If family members want their information private, then they should consider not having it published in the local newspaper/website and funeral home website. There is no legal expectation to privacy when the information has been made public.
Death certificates are public record as well. As long as these sources are properly cited there should not be an issue in regards to copyright laws. AND, Find-A-Grave FAQ's page states that they allow Death Certificates to be placed on memorials.
8) The mountains of Southwestern Pennsylvania can be brutal during the winter. But with snowbrush in hand, that doesn't keep me from fulfilling requests. Unfortunately the quality of my photos in the winter months isn't normally up to the standard that I set for myself. Please- don't hesitate to ask for a re-take during the summer. Just send me a reminder.
I appreciate all of the hard work my fellow volunteers and contributors have made to this site!
Susie Smith Rager Susie is my 3rd great aunt. I recently learned her sad story while I was working on my family tree. I really appreciate you taking the time to document her final resting place. Thank you!
Moore Photo Brian, thank you for taking the time to take a photo of Edwin's headstone. It is wonderful when a photo can be put with a memorial. It just makes it feel more complete. Edwin was married to Vera (Watkins) which whom her first husband was Weldon Seese a cousin who was killed in the war. I'm not sure if you have a Seese connection to Weldon's family. Again thank you and have a great summer.
Etheleen A Harteis Brewer Hi..I know you took a picture of the headstone (thank you). The date of death is not recorded on headstone. Is there anyone at South Fork cemetery that could confirm exact date of death for me? Thanks, Maureen Betz
BTW: THANK YOU so much for filling all those requests the last few days.
I was just thinking all over again of the invaluable help you have been to me and to so many others! If it wasn't for your passion and time, FindAGrave would not be as special as it is today. Thank you for you countless help to me. Future generations will be in your debt.