I'm retired from Active Duty after my Apache Helicopter (AH-64D) Attack Reconnaissance Battalion was disbanded and due to service connected injuries that led to permanent disabilities. So with retirement coming earlier than expected, I'm afforded with more time to devote to research.
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.
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 Ancestry.com, 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) 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 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!