Staff Sergeant (Ret) Brian J. Ensley

Member for
10 years · 7 months · 20 days
Find a Grave ID


IF I FIND MY COPYRIGHTED PHOTOS ON ANOTHER WEBSITE (i.e-ANCESTRY, FAMILY SEARCH), THERE BETTER BE A CITATION AS TO WHERE YOU OBTAINED IT. I'M MORE THAN HAPPY TO SHARE, BUT BE CONSIDERATE, FOLLOW THE COPYRIGHT LAWS AND EITHER ASK, OR CITE YOUR SOURCES! Unlike others who have stated that some of us make our own rules of "does" and "don'ts," this is not a choice- this is law that can be actionable. I'm tired of people using my photos and passing them off as their own. And if you plan on using MY photos on Ancestry, this is their official policy on this subject:

Ancestry® Copyright Policy:
Content contributed to public area of the Ancestry® sites by users remains the property of the submitter or of the original creator, and we are a licensed distributor of such content. When a copyright violation occurs, the submitter, and not Ancestry, has violated copyright.

If you find this Harsh, Rude or Arrogant, it is a culmination of years of people not being considerate, and stealing intellectual property without giving credit or asking permission. And years of entitled people that "expect" volunteers (Keyword- volunteers) to do what they want and take what they want. It's obituary poachers who sit at home and create memorials from on-line newspaper obituaries then refuse to transfer that loved one within a day of their death because they're numbers collectors. Or people from halfway across the country that create memorials (errors and all) from on-line cemetery lists because again- numbers collectors.

If you would take the time to READ my profile, below, you would see that I'm more than happy to share, if done correctly. Then you have those members on Ancestry that have no shame in copying other people's work, then set their tree to private to keep others from seeing it. Shameful...

Despite Find-A-Grave's policy that if you upload a photo on this site, you automatically agree to give them permission to use that photo on other sites like Ancestry. 1- I uploaded many photos on here before Ancestry took over; 2- I do not recall being asked in any way or form to agree to these terms when Ancestry took over, and 3- Your photos are still your copyrighted photos and are still protected under copyright laws regardless of this policy. The more volunteers upload information to this site, the more it helps bolster the information available on Ancestry which leads to more paid subscriptions. Normally if your intellectual property is being used by another website, royalties are received.

I'm done getting requests by members for over a hundred memorials at a time because they want control over every single name in their family tree. Send the corrections and I'll process them. And if you want family members linked, USE THE EDIT TAB. Don't send me a "Suggest Other Corrections" message wanting me to list the relation in the bio.

If you want me to fulfill YOUR requests, have the courtesy of reviewing the edits that come through for YOUR memorials. If you want the responsibility of managing these memorials, then be prompt at reviewing edits. I know this site is not everyone's priority, and it's not mine, either- but if I can manage over 100K memorials and still find the time to review edits within a day or two, please return the favor. I don't just upload a requested photo- I spend hours adding extra information to help that person and it seems like a waste if these people can't see this work because people aren't processing these edits for weeks, or letting them go and "Auto" approve.

DO NOT ask me to change a person's birth date based solely on a death certificate. Death certificates in PA (especially older ones) are notoriously wrong when it comes to birth dates. I will gladly make the change if you have supporting documentation to go along with the death certificate, but not just based on it alone.

If you have a minute, feel free to visit my mother’s memorial Connie Ensley #43042891 and if so inclined leave a flower if you wish (#43042891).

I have been involved with genealogy since around 1982 and have published several books on area cemeteries as well as local history. Of the 300+ cemeteries I have transcribed, when I create memorials 99% of them are from sites that I have personally visited because I believe that a memorial represents a person's life and is more than just the minimum of a name and date. I go above and beyond by adding as much data as possible through research because I treat each memorial with the same care and respect as if they were my own family.

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) Please credit me if using my photos elsewhere!! This includes, your personal genealogy page, etc. I don't mind if you use my photos, just please cite your source!

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) NAMES / MILITARY DESIGNATIONS: While some people adamantly refuse to add it, I WILL honor their service and rank. A veteran who has served honorably in a time of war may bear the title of the highest grade held during that war. This right is conferred by Congress in law by 10 US Code 772 Section (e).

5) 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.

6) 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."

7) 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.

8) 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.

As for the addition of documents to memorials, that is the reason why Find-A-Grave increased the amount of photos that can be added. Many people don't like things such as death certificates added, but that's a personal choice. These documents are becoming more and more available, and for a reason- for us to utilize. And, the original mission of Find-A-Grave has changed from a simple graves registration site, to a full-blown genealogical site now that Ancestry took it over.

Also, if you leave me a message but there is no way to reply back, don't expect an answer. If you elect not to have a way to leave a message/reply or an e-mail, it's not my responsibility to track you down just to reply to your message, etc.

9) 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.

10) 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 15-20% of 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!

Search memorial contributions by Staff Sergeant (Ret) Brian J. Ensley