Member for
12 years · 2 months · 25 days
Find a Grave ID


14 Aug 2019: When I joined FindaGrave eleven years ago. it was a privately owned web site providing a cemetery inventory with photographs of tombstones. Members resisted research. I would have to request links from members and be ignored for a month before management would step in and make them for me. Ancestry took over the free web site a few years ago and it has greatly improved and is quickly becoming the backbone of their research engine. They have spent hundreds of years compiling collections of information which would allow peoples of every gender, race and religious affiliation to discover their heritage. The Latter Day Saints owned Family Search also backfeeds into Ancestry.

My first few years were spent transcribing cemeteries from inventories found on line which have been surveyed by the government, gen web groups and private organizations like Cemetery Census. Volunteer photographers have added photos of the stone along with visual descriptions of the plot which give clues to family relationships not available on records. There are military research historians who contribute biographies. A young high school student who spends his time adding old yearbook and passport photos to memorials. I am tickled to add biographical information provided by members who are identified and given credit for their contributions. Then come the researchers who constantly tweak the memorials of their family members. What a team !

When I receive an edit. I start to improve my memorials. My process is to post transcriptions of census records, military records, marriage licenses, travel and education information, birth and death certificates. I also upload their death certificate. I normally don't upload marriage licenses unless they provide parent information for someone who died before death certificates. I then try to locate their parents, siblings and children and link them all together. I understand it is my job to remain objective and do not accept edits which can't be proven with government documentation. EXAMPLE: I receive daily edits from a member who has made huge photographic and research contributions in a particular county of North Carolina. His edits provide a city birth and middle name for everyone. Back in those days, you had mostly home births in the country. Lots of family trees available on research site have multiple guesses of middle names. And maybe they didn't use their middle name because they hated it. Because of this members' compulsive need for closure and since most of his edits are not challenged, he has personally rewritten the history of this county.

I am very cautious about transferring memorials. There are great benefits of leaving them in the hands of a neutral party. While you may be credible, some of your cousins may not be. FindaGrave has suggested transfers for the 60 people you are directly descended from in four generations. When I look at your bio to see you have had thousands of memorials transferred to you I am concerned. Some new members request transfers and quickly lose interest in the hobby. I've had people erase entire memorials, remove links to unliked step parents or just erase all of my research. Feel free to add photographs of your loved ones and biographies or even flowers with inspiring words. If you don't like boring government documents which also tell a story, then don't open the collapsible biography. If you are somehow offended by death certificates, then please don't open it. This is about information for our descendents and those members insisting on a blank memorial page or refusing to make edits may see their memorials taken over by management.

If I reject your message, look for my explanation. I get multiple requests on old, pre-government documentation, memorials which I change information back and forth on a daily basis due to conflicting research of descendents. While I spend hours posting available government documentation, I have stopped updating these types of edits for old memorials since I don't have the days, months and years involved to study all conflicting online research. This site was originally set up to show you a marker picture and location and in this instance, this is not the appropriate media to post your extensive and subjective research results.

I get daily edits from the punctuation police. Some people are dot people and some people are not. If I am sending an edit to someone I try to honor their policy on periods after the middle initial. I get edits to add dots and the next day I get an edit to remove the same dots. PLEASE spend your time transcribing or photographing cemeteries. You are wasting your precious time on this ludacris research.

Every person who has joined Ancestry for one free week and entered the information they know about their family has helped myself and other researchers to unlock family mysteries. Please do not guess at information you add, document, document, document. Sometimes there are families with similar names, dates, and patterns which are built incorrectly in Ancestry family trees. I love studying and fixing these families in FindaGrave so it will backfeed the correct information into Ancestry.

I couldn't sleep last night because of an interaction I had with a member yesterday. In the last year I have added over 8000 death certificates to memorials to help inexperienced researchers, or those who can't afford $189 a year to join Ancestry, enjoy the wealth of family information and medical history contained within. Most members understand this is not private family scary secrets but public information the LDS have worked so hard to have available to you. I received a message from a member identified as an African American research organization telling me to remove the death certificate because only family members can add death certificates to their memorials.

Because I am of European American descent I could not possibly be related to this person. I have the privilege of loving, and being willing to take a bullet for, family members who have the blood of African, African-American, Jamaican, Argentinian, Lebanese, Japanese and Hawaiian ancestors flowing through their veins. I challenge anyone to come up with a more culturally diverse family than mine. I have spent thousands of hours transcribing African American cemeteries with the selfish motive of helping and trying to stir up research interest in the proud descendents of mighty Africa. My fifth great grandfather was an educator of the Delaware Indians and was one of the thousands of European Americans who helped moved the fleeing slaves out of the southern states.

But, I will try and remember the good members. In the last month a strong, objective and professional African American researcher has emerged in my area who I am determined to make my protege in building the local history. PLEASE let us honor the example set by the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints and make this the one place where all of God's children can work peacefully together to try and change our present through understanding our past.
Steward for these memorials when I pass on is Robert Terry #46537864 . Between my research and his inspired photography of North Carolina cemeteries, our team has helped so many to find their history. Most of my other late night researcher friends have already gone ahead to greet me.

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