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Don Toms (#47529406)
 member for 6 years, 4 months, 14 days
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Bio and Links
Bio Photo As a lifelong resident of Lead and an avid genealogist, I have been interested in cemeteries, especially the local Black Hills area cemeteries, for a long time. My current major interest is the historic South Lead Cemetery here in Lead, Lawrence County, South Dakota and the approximate 4000 individuals interred there. This work was especially important since records at Lead City Hall only date from about 1914, while the cemetery itself dates back to about 1878. The missing interments, marked and unmarked, were pieced together from headstone inscriptions, mortuary records and newspaper obituaries.
Along with Darlene Burns of Lead, I was an organizer of the Friends of South Lead Cemetery group several years ago, which volunteered many hundreds of hours in the cemetery and which raised over $120,000 in grant money for restoration work there.
I have also always been interested in history in general, and for 19 years I was the director of the Black Hills Mining Museum here in Lead. I also have served on numerous boards on the local and state level including the Lawrence County Historical Society, Historic South Dakota Foundation, Association of South Dakota Museums, Lead Cemetery Board, Lead-Deadwood Chamber of Commerce, the Lead City Fine Arts Association, and the Hearst Library Board. I have also actively been doing genealogical research for over 35 years.
To me Find A Grave is one of the most extraordinary genealogy sites on the web. However, it is not without problems. Anyone wishing to contribute information might consider that the project is not a race to see who can get the most notches in their belt for adding memorials, especially if the quality of the memorials suffers because of it.
It is also frustrating to see the poor quality of some of the photos being taken - poor lighting, odd or bizarre angles, weird portions of headstones with missing parts, etc. I have also seen cases where the individual stood ten or fifteen feet from the headstone and took a photo! Is there a weed or some grass sticking up in front of the headstone? Reach down and remove it and then take the photo. Quality really does matter. Also, the inscription on the monument is certainly of great importance, but please don't just take a photo of the inscription. Family members would like to see what the entire monument looks like as well.
Is the photo that you took a little crooked or dark? Most computers these days come with simple and quick photo editing software which allows you to straighten and lighten or darken or crop photos etc. before posting them. All that is required is a little time and effort. It's fast and easy.
Making up cemeteries and pretending that various people are still buried in them, such as is the case with "The Historical Cemetery at Deadwood" is utterly ridiculous. Fortunately, that is more of a rare occurrence for the Find A Grave site.
In conclusion, racing through cemeteries wildly taking photos does not benefit the site in my opinion. If someone is going to create a memorial, he should take as much time and effort as possible to provide correct and adequate information and quality photos that a family member of the deceased would be pleased to see!
I hope that all contributors are also willing to transfer management of memorials they have created if asked by family members of the deceased if they are not a relative of the deceased themselves.
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Contributions to
Find A Grave
 • 4,427 Memorials Added
 • 4,350 Memorials Managed
 • 13 Memorials/Week
 • 7,209 Photos
 • 1 Photo Request
 • 47 Volunteer Photos Taken
 • 6,508 Virtual Flowers
 • 7 Sponsorships
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Messages left for Don Toms (157)[Leave Message]
Larry Ciet
Deleting process of a Find A Grave
I am sorry to have mentioned the deleting process twice. I didn't realize I had already mentioned it once before. If you swipe your finger on my messages to your post it will allow you to omit my messages. I don't want it to look as a negative thought in your posts. Was just trying to get the word out that a merging process is possible.

Larry L. Ciet
Added by Larry Ciet on Sep 08, 2017 12:22 PM
Larry Ciet
RE: Thomas Memorials in South Lead Cemetery
Before deleating a memorial, info should be transferred. Also deleating a memorial is not the best process. Merging a memorial through is the proper way. Both memorials need to mirror one another including cemetery info. Merging allows a persons who has saved a Find A Grave memorial to their family tree with the Find A Grave Memorial number that was deleated to attach to the proper one automatically. Thanks for your time and all that you do for others.
Added by Larry Ciet on Sep 08, 2017 12:08 PM
Karen Dennis-Hickson
RE: John Alfred Tausta Memorial in South Lead Cemetery
Added by Karen Dennis-Hickson on Sep 05, 2017 3:22 PM
Larry Ciet
RE: Thomas Memorials in South Lead Cemetery
Before deleting a memorial info should be transcribed so info is not lost. Deleting a memorial is not the best way to go. Merging is the correct way to deal with a duplicate. Merging process can be done through Both memorials need to mirror one another then Find A Grave will merge the two. Deleting is a cheep way to do it however deleating a memorial in some cases may be nessesary. I do believe I went ahead and copied and pasted the info and had the other creator of the other memorial add it. Thanks for your time and all you do for our Find A Grave community.

Larry L. Ciet
Added by Larry Ciet on Aug 12, 2017 7:23 PM
Ellen Bishop
RE: And Calvary South Lead
I understand this was true of most early cemeteries, I know , Including St Onge which was two and now is one. The one that drives me over the edge is Pine Slope and ST what ever it is, one cemetery but two names and people are not always sure which is which and I have people in one that should be in the other and from time to time someone tells me and I move them!
Added by Ellen Bishop on Jun 15, 2017 11:09 AM
Ellen Bishop
RE: And Calvary South Lead
Ok ,thanks, I had never heard it called Calvary South Lead before, so I am glad you are on top of it for me.
Added by Ellen Bishop on Jun 15, 2017 9:40 AM
Ellen Bishop
And Calvary South Lead
is just South Lead now?
Added by Ellen Bishop on Jun 14, 2017 8:28 PM
Ellen Bishop
And Calvary South Lead
is just South Lead now?
Added by Ellen Bishop on Jun 14, 2017 8:27 PM
Joseph Allen Archibald
Thanks so much for the photo!
Added by WintonTaylor on Jun 14, 2017 4:38 PM
August Mattila
I just went through the extra information you added to my great-great grandfather and I can't say thank you enough. This is the first time I have seen evidence of his parents' names. I can't say thank you enough.
Added by finchap15 on Jun 07, 2017 8:45 PM
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