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Brian J. Ensley (#47190867)
 member for 7 years, 9 months, 11 days
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Bio and Links
Bio Photo 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 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 ask permission to use it in your own personal family tree such as Ancestry.com. or just properly cite the source from where you obtained the photo. HOWEVER, on any of my photos, be sure to cite the source to give proper credit.

2) 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.

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.

9) I AM NOT a memorial collector. Since I transcribed over 300 cemeteries in the area and did the legwork to find this information in the heat of summer, swatting bugs, climbing through jagger bushes, and looking on a mountain side all day for a single grave, I've entered many of these graves on here so the information would be preserved, thus the large numbers. BUT, when family wants to manage a memorial, I rarely deny any transfer. Balance that number against the large number of requests fulfilled which shows my real dedication, despite 2 in 10 members ever bothering to thank me for my time and fuel, etc.

I appreciate all of the hard work my fellow volunteers and contributors have made to this site!
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Messages left for Brian J. Ensley (3813)[Leave Message]
Janis Wrean
RE: Sarah Cover
Yes, I see their message and then the photo you've just added. It does make for a nicer page for Sarah though. Thanks for doing that. It is a rather complicated procedure the way it's set up isn't it? There's room for improvement in several areas there. But there are some good people contributing a lot like yourself, which is inspiring,and so important.
Added by Janis Wrean on Jul 22, 2017 11:26 AM
Janis Wrean
RE: Sarah Cover photo request
This is so horrible - how do these things get allowed? And you having a Great Grandmother "resting" there has to be much tougher to take. Sounds like you're handling it very well though with your humorous philosophy on this situation.Good for you Brian.
Added by Janis Wrean on Jul 22, 2017 11:16 AM
Janis Wrean
Sarah Cover photo request
Thanks for letting me know the situation - too bad so many detrimental things have happened at this graveyard.I wonder what the percentage is of such unfortunate places. Reading your profile, I'm most impressed with your dedication and the hard work you've done, it's so important, and of course invaluable. Keep up the good work !!
Added by Janis Wrean on Jul 21, 2017 11:53 AM
klassikat
RE: Bennett, J.
:) I'll take the "meow" I'm surrounded by them all day. HA!!
Added by klassikat on Jul 19, 2017 7:24 PM
klassikat
RE: Bennett, J.
Will do...and I really goofed in my last message. I meant "you AREN'T" the only one but I think you read my mind...hehehehe.

Take care.
Added by klassikat on Jul 19, 2017 5:29 PM
klassikat
RE: Bennett, J.
Ha....you are the only one. Me too!!!

Take care.
Added by klassikat on Jul 19, 2017 3:38 PM
Ohara720
Thanks for the Gilroy pics!
Added by Ohara720 on Jul 19, 2017 12:45 PM
Barbara Janney Desanzo
RE: Janet Harris Schmidt
Thank you Brian! I'll let you know, I have tons of dead relatives up that way. You have been most helpful!
Best,
Barbara
Added by Barbara Janney Desanzo on Jul 18, 2017 4:50 PM
Ted Dombroski
Pvt. John A. Widman.
Thank you so very much for the photo of John A. Widman's headstone. I am researching the men of the 81st Pa. This adds a great deal to his information. His name was actually listed as Witman. I am sure a mistake was made when ordering the headstone. I have come across. others. Thank you again for the help. Keep up the great work.
Added by Ted Dombroski on Jul 18, 2017 4:08 PM
Barbara Janney Desanzo
Janet Harris Schmidt
Thank you Brian so much for posting the picture of my great grandmother's headstone on Find-a-Grave.

I appreciate your commitment and service to all of us who are unable to get to the cemeteries ourselves.

Enjoy your summer!
Best,
Barbara

Added by Barbara Janney Desanzo on Jul 18, 2017 2:36 PM
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