Pilgrims Patriots Pioneers

Member for
8 years · 4 months · 6 days
Find a Grave ID


My philosophy:

I do this day after day to help others find their family and sometimes their long-lost ancestors. Family is what it's all about.

When I submit an edit, it is only AFTER I've researched and documented the data as far as reasonably possible, relying on data in additional memorials in Find A Grave, including obituaries found there, Ancestry, and all of its many sources, and Family Search, with its many sources, along with data found at Find My past, My Heritage, Geneanet, Filae, Wiki, Google, and anything else within reach. No edits are submitted simply based "on a whim." As a result, these suggested edits are as accurate as possible, but they are subject to improvement as additional sources and data are found. Genealogical research is a process, not an event.

Unfortunately, there are some memorial managers that refuse to make changes unless they have a notarized affidavit from the dead person, certified copies of original documents, and a note carved in stone by G_d to prove the info is 100% accurate. Their embarrassing lack of experience in how actual research is done does a disservice to everyone by slowing the work. (Some have declined my edits only to immediately make the exact changes they declined from me. I just don't understand that.) Still, they "own" the memorials, so what can you do?

Suggestion I received: create a second memorial with the more accurate, more complete data. They can still protect their inaccurate memorials from correction and real researchers will be better served. If the memorials are merged, the complete info will probably show up on the surviving memorial.

If you have additional info on a memorial I happen to manage, even it's partial info, suggest it, and I'll add it. After decades of doing family history research, I know you get a morsel here, a hint there, and a clue somewhere else. These can add to what is already known, potentially leading to more sources, better data, and more documented info. Only by adding them one-at-a time, as they are found, can we all make contributions, until a full story be accumulated... line upon line, here a little, there a little.

Originally, my focus was exclusively on my family members as I researched my family history, but as I visited cemeteries to photograph family headstones, I took the opportunity to take photos of other older headstones, and I started adding new memorials for those not already listed. Then, I started adding info from the freshest graves.

As I research my extended family, I sometimes find death certificates. If there is no Find A Grave memorial and I have a death certificate noting the cemetery name, I immediately create a new memorial, generally transferring that memorial to whomever manages closer members of the family.

A few years ago, I went on a quest to track down a great-aunt's burial place. It turned out to be in a remote, hidden cemetery, located in a fenced field on private property, 40 miles from the nearest paved road (which was somewhere in a lake-bottom desert near the Utah/Nevada border.) And, the cemetery was not listed on Find A Grave. (I can't imagine why.) I took photos of every headstone and added them all, knowing no one would happen onto this place by accident. The only family member there was my great-aunt.

I also have a famous Grundtvig ancestor in Denmark, something of a national icon. After setting up the cemetery where he was buried, contacting those managing the cemetery and getting them to take photos of the cemetery, the crypt, including the casket of my great-grand something uncle, I created a memorial for him, including contemporary paintings, photos of one of his many statues, and a brief bio. Shortly thereafter Find A Grave removed his memorial and took it under their management!!? Really? That took me two months to create!

If any of the memorials I've added happens to be for a member of your family (and not mine), please let me know and I will transfer it to you immediately. I believe that memorials for someone in your family should be under your management, no matter how remote your relationship is, unlike those who create and hoard memorials for the sake of having a long list of memorials. If you suggest an edit for someone whose memorial I created from a death certificate and I have no relationship, don't be surprised if I approve your edit and then transfer the memorial to you. I'm not going to hoard memorials.

I'm proud to say that my American family dates from the Mayflower Pilgrims, and members have served in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, Indian wars, WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. One of my ancestors once admitted to participating in the Boston Tea Party, and another patriot, a "Minute Man," may have been a member of the Culper Ring, George Washington's secret spy ring, but it was a "secret."

Many of my several pioneer ancestors crossed the plains in wagons. My great-grandmother was stolen by Indians after they shot arrows into my unarmed great-grandfather. Two of my great uncles were massacred by Indians, and their brother was mutilated when he played dead after being wounded and trapped under a dead horse.

One of my grandfathers served in WWI and his son, my father, served in the US Navy in WWII. I am descended of true Pilgrims, Patriots, and Pioneers, the ID I use with Find A Grave, as a tribute to them. I am also descended of two Crusaders, one of whom actually lived through the Crusades. Isn't family history interesting?

My great-grandmother interviewed her pioneer family, including some who had crossed the plains. She wrote their histories and accumulated their genealogy. I have most of her work, along with what other members of the family have given me over the decades, several large boxes worth. I have thousands of photos, some are even so old they are tintypes. As a child, my great-grandmother and grandmother told me many, many stories of their pioneer ancestors, so much so that it was like I knew them and could retell stories of their lives. That was my introduction to family history.

I find a lot of "stuff" in my research. Rather than just accumulate information and hoard it, I share everything: names, dates, photos, and bios with Find a Grave. When I find a ratty, wrinkled, or folded photo someone has posted, if it can be restored, I have done that too, hundreds of times. Recently, I found a tool that will colorize old photos. It truly "brings them to life," so I've colorized hundreds of old photos.

While some cynics say Find A Grave is not a place to research your ancestors, I know better. In fact, Find A Grave is owned by Ancestry, whose mission is... well, ancestry. I have made tens of thousands of edits to link family members, add/correct (or more correct) dates and places, and submit the full/correct name and nickname, making it easier for others to find their deceased ancestors. A few have actually contacted me to say "Thank You!" To them, I say, "You are very welcome. Enjoy your search."

All of the work I've done is totally anonymous, the way it should be.

Pilgrims Patriots Pioneers

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