John Mallory Land

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11 years · 1 month · 26 days
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***SPECIAL NOTICE: I have identified several individuals whose graves are not marked, each of whom is eligible to receive a military headstone, to be provided by the Veterans Administration as a benefit of their military service. I have all the documentation needed to apply for each grave marker, except that the VA requires authorization by a relative (they don’t care how distant or indirect). I have set up a Virtual Cemetery, listing the memorials for these persons. If you have any connection to any of these or know of someone who does, please contact me via my message board below or by emailing me at The VA will pay for the manufacture and shipment of each headstone, and volunteers will place it on the grave — there is no cost to the applicant or the family. Thank you.

I lived most of my life in and around Dallas, Texas, but in December 2010 moved to Columbus, Georgia, where my parents were reared and married, so I am now a 7th-generation resident of Muscogee County. I hold a degree in Directing and Design for the Theater and am currently employed in that field. I came to my interest in locating, documenting, and preserving graves and cemeteries through my longstanding avocation of researching my family history.

I have resisted stating my personal policies on this bio page, rather than dealing with individual cases as they come, because such statements can sound like griping and sometimes come across as negative. However, since I am handling such edits in increasing numbers, I feel the need to articulate some of my views and practices here. I realize that others have their own way of doing these things, and that’s fine. This is my approach.

As hard as I try not to, I make lots of mistakes. I appreciate any and all corrections and will do my best to implement them as quickly as my schedule allows.

Regarding suggested edits, I generally apply a “reasonability” test and try to verify details with records. If I cannot verify, I will probably contact you, asking for your source. If you volunteer your source(s), it is likely to speed up the response time on your suggested edit(s).

If you send me a suggested edit, particularly on a date or a place, for which there is no verifiable source, it is very likely to be declined. My practice is to place inferred details (e.g.: born ca. 1818, possibly died in Hooterville) in the biographical section; this is because there is no way to qualify (ca., about, before, between, near, maybe, reportedly, etc.) the information in the date and place fields. Information having been posted on a family tree—or a number of family trees—not showing where the information came from (besides other family trees) does not constitute a source. If I put a quote on a billboard, the billboard is not the source. It is merely a medium on which the quote appears. If I don’t say on the billboard who originally made the quote, or when and where it first appeared, or from what record I got it, then it is just something I wrote on a billboard that is undocumented and may or may not be accurate. Family trees on Ancestry and elsewhere are like that billboard. If they are unsourced, they can still be great for clues that we may attempt to verify (or discount) with records--but the information on them is not proved. If, on the other hand, a family tree cites verifiable sources for the information contained on it, then the records cited are the sources for the information, not the family tree.

If I have stated in the biographical section that, based on her age on this census or in that death record, the individual was probably born about 1818, please don’t send me a suggested edit to add 1818 to the birth year field, unless you can cite a verifiable record that shows the individual was born in 1818. My reason for this is that, generally speaking, the ages reported at the time of death or on the census are often approximate, and sometimes are just guesses; moreover, even if they are accurate, most of the time they do not indicate a specific year of birth. Also, because FindAGrave memorials generate “Hints” for family trees on, if I put a specific year in the birth or death date field, that is then included in the hint presented to family tree holders, many of whom will accept that date as if it were proven fact and simply add it to their trees. So even though it may be just a guess, and possibly very wrong, it gets incorporated into family trees and copied by others, and may prove difficult to correct, if and when more reliable information becomes available.

There are quite a few more memorials I maintain than I have created, in part because I was asked to adopt memorials created for the Thomaston-Upson County Archives. (The original plan was that they were to be all placed in my care, but only a fraction of them were actually transferred.)

I will gladly consider, on a case-by-case basis, transfers of my memorials outside the 4-generation guidelines, if they are not my kin or part of a research project of mine. (For the present, however, I prefer to maintain the memorials I hold at Linwood Cemetery--unless they are related within 4 generations to the requestor, of course) I greatly appreciate all of the memorials that have been created by other Contributors and placed in my care.

At this writing (June 2017), I am about a year into a volunteer project to help update the records of Linwood Cemetery here in Columbus and to simultaneously make the Linwood presence on FindAGrave as complete and accurate as possible. This project will probably take several more years.

Another volunteer service I provide is obtaining grave markers for veterans and placing them in the local area. If you know of a veteran from any American conflict who is buried in the Columbus, GA, area, and is eligible to receive a headstone from the VA, please contact me and I will see if I can help. (Please note: a veteran who died before 1990 are only eligible to receive a military headstone free from the VA if her or his grave is not currently identifiably marked.) I have created a Virtual Cemetery showing the memorials for veterans whose graves I have marked in this way, including that of <a href=""> my father </a>, who fought in the European Theater during World War II.

Please note also that the cases for some veterans of World Wars I & II and other 20th-century conflicts can be difficult to prove because a 1973 warehouse fire in Washington, DC, destroyed millions of Department of Defense documents. I have worked several cases of men I know to be eligible but for whom lack of documentation for military service so far has proved unobtainable.

Thanks to all of those kin who have assisted by authorizing the applications for many of the headstones I have obtained; the Columbus, Georgia, Sexton’s office for receiving shipment of the stones and storing them as needed until they can be set; and the kind volunteers who have assisted in setting the markers on the graves.

Not that I’m planning on going anywhere anytime soon, but. . .In the event of my demise or incapacitation, I wish for my memorials to be transferred to LoveInFamily, Contributor #48149498, and she has agreed to this arrangement.

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