Memorials for the Recently Deceased

Update: Thank you to everyone for you comments and thoughts on this issue. We read all them and really appreciate the different perspective each of you brings to the conversation. We know there isn’t a perfect solution, but we appreciate your insights and will use them to refine our plans.

We occasionally hear from people who have have lost a loved one and, when they are ready, they go to Find A Grave to create a memorial for them and find that there is already one there. Many aren’t sure how to go about having the memorial transferred to them or the memorial manager is unresponsive which can make a challenging time more difficult.

It’s an unusual case, and we need to be balanced in our response to it, but we’d like to find a way to make this experience better.

Below is a rough outline of one idea we had. We’d love to hear what you think about this idea or any other ideas you have in the comments on this page.

Thanks!


When someone creates a memorial for someone who has died within the past year we would ask for their relationship. (One year is a starting point, but we’d be curious to hear your opinion on how long this time should be.)

If the person creating the page is not related within our transfer guidelines (this is currently direct line relatives within 4 generations, but we’d appreciate your thoughts on this too), we would let them know that the memorial will be in a provisional state and that if a family member would like to claim it, we will transfer it to them.

Once the memorial is created, it would look like any other memorial, but we would add some messaging to let family members know they can claim the page. (What message do you think would be appropriate?)

Next we would ask them how they are related. If the relationship is within the guidelines they would go to the next step. If they are not related within the guidelines, we would let them know that we only automatically transfer memorials to people within those guidelines and that they can contact the page manager to request a transfer and tell them how to do that.

To continue with the transfer they would need to sign in or create an account and if they don’t already manage other pages, we would give them a quick run down of what that entails.

Once they were signed in we would transfer the memorial to them and ask if they would like the page to continue to say “Created by [original creator]” or not. If they say no, we would remove the reference to the original creator and just say, “Managed by [new person].”

266 comments

  1. I believe there should be a 90 day wait period for creating a memorial for a non family member. ask the relationship if there is none then do not allow the memorial. give the family a chance to grieve.

    also do away with the numbers. too many members are only about accumulating numbers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Although I never had issues with recent memorials for my grandparents as my grandmother’s memorial was transferred without issue and I was able to create my grandfather’s memorial three days after his death, I completely understand the issues at hand. I have encountered Find A Grave members unwilling to transfer a grave of my direct line ancestor when the creator was not a relative.

    A waiting period on all recent deaths is the right and respectful thing to do for the families of the deceased. Many non-genealogy people don’t even know Find A Grave exists to begin with, so they aren’t aware that they have the ability to create an online memorial or that they need to “rush” to create one before a random stranger creates one for them. Let alone the process to create a memorial or the ability to have the memorial transferred.

    Please put in some type of safeguard to respect the grieving families.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for addressing this sensitive issue. I think a year is too long; 30-60 days should be acceptable. I don’t have a problem with the volunteers who do all the work in the cemeteries and post memorials and tombstone photos of those not already done. If not for those volunteers, I would not have been able to find the headstones of family members. I agree with those comments that a different strategy for awarding their good work should be implemented rather than “he who gets the most wins”. I also agree that the transfer to a family member should be made in a graceful and timely manner. If a family member wants to manager the memorial, it should be transferred to them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know of certain funeral homes that take it upon themselves to make the Memorial for someone that they serviced and taken from their obit info. Sometimes they make the Memorials before they are in the ground, which I feel is inappropriate. I don’t know if they are asking permission of the families or not.

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  4. I’m glad you’re trying to address this but the solution seems very complicated for an occasional problem. Maybe consider something like this:

    1. No memorials without a portrait or grave photo.
    2. No memorials within 30 days of death unless created by a family member.
    3. Add a checkbox for the creator to indicate their relationship when the memorial is created. The attribution at the bottom of the page would then indicate Created By: (Name), Family Member; or Created By: (Name), Researcher, something like that. This might speed up the resolution of problems when they occur.
    4. Automatic transfer from researcher to family member within 60 days of creation.

    Don’t eliminate stats from profile pages. I have a few cemeteries near me with hundreds of photo requests and if there’s a request from a member who created or manages 200,000 memorials and has a zillion photo requests next to a request from someone who manages a few memorials and requests a few photos, those bits of info help me decide how to manage my time when I plan to spend a day walking a cemetery.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What about memorials created from death certificates or paid interment lists? I verify the death and burial with the cemetery. I am not going to publish the death certificate or an interment list that I paid for. I put the information in the bio section so limiting a memorial to need a portrait or grave photo is not a helpful idea.

      I know someone will appreciate finding where their loved one is interred from the research I have done.

      Gail

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with a moratorium unless the poster can prove familial relationship.
    I also agree that Find A Grave memorial ” collectors” who have no relationship to the deceased should turn over “ownership” of a memorial to the deceased’s family. It makes no sense that someone totally unrelated should retain control when there are family members available and willing.

    In fact, I agree with Julie Miller “I agree with some of the concepts you’ve presented but you’ve made it more complicated than it needs to be. Memorials should only be accepted from the family for at least six months. Family should be defined as spouse, parents, sibling, children, grandchildren or great grandchildren. Four generations is too broad.

    No one else should even be allowed to create a temporary memorial. It seems like some of the items you have proposed will be difficult and time consuming to monitor.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am grateful to all the contributors for adding my family member’s memorials for me to find. I do think it is premature to add a memorial before the person is buried. I have found adding the obits to be very helpful though. The surviving members listed has helped me verify the lineage.

    I think a month would be a reasonable time for a recently deceased persons memorial to be a guaranteed transfer to a family member. The 4 generations is good but should include aunts, uncles, and cousins not just grandparents. I wish we could connect siblings if no parent can be found (the ancient ones especially) or if they pass before the parents.

    Building a tree on FAG should not be the intention for asking for a transfer however having a consistent family contributor will help future generations to know they are on the right track to continue the lineage. It would be helpful if there was a way for the contributor to designate if they are a relative of the memorial they are adding.

    The Virtual Cemeteries are a valuable tool for me. They can give me a clue if the contributor is related or not. I would like to be able to type in a name in the VC’s to see if someone as been added instead of having to scroll all the way through them.
    To me it’s about giving away a memorial to someone it really means something to not keeping the numbers. I think keeping the original contributor listed is a good idea. They do deserve the recognition and the thanks.

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  7. Thank you for addressing this very serious issue. I think a one year waiting period is excellent. As to relationship transfer being available for 4 generations – personally, I would like to see that extended to 5 generations. Your idea on removing the “created by” by a family member receiving the management of the memorial is also a good one.

    Aside from that, finding a way to keep “memorial collectors” from refusing to transfer memorials is becoming a huge issue. I also have one for my great-grandmother that I have repeatedly requested, over the course of the past few years, with no response. She was an avid needleworker and I would truly love to make a lovely memorial for that. I will try one more time and if my request is continued to be ignored, I will be contacting FindAGrave to help with a resolution. I would also like to see that if someone can prove with documentation a reasonably close relationship (say, siblings of up to 5 generations back) that the request for transfer be accomodated.

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    • DLCS – I like your idea about 5 generations. Like you, I had a contributor who refused to respond for more than a year. I sent notices through edits, directly to his email and finally with a certified letter to his home address. Nothing, I appealed directly to FAG that this was an abandoned memorial and was denied the transfer because it fell outside the 4 generations and (they said) that the memorial had not been abandoned. The irony is that I traveled from Texas to Ohio to get photos of the headstones for the memorial this man created, only to find that my ancestors are not buried there at all, as the cemetery didn’t exist until almost a decade after they died. While his information about the parents is correct, his dates of death and burial are WRONG! Now I refuse to offer correct information.

      I have often wondered how all the other transfers requested of this contributor for inaccurate information were handled.

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  8. My husband’s memorial was posted 15 days after he died, and three days before he was even buried. The owner did transfer it to me at my request, but I notice that he’s no longer accepting messages, so that avenue is closed to others.

    He’s posted more than 82,000 memorials over the course of his 12-1/2 year membership, or, according to FAG, 125 per week. He’s a collector. By allowing his name as the “creator” to remain on the memorial, and by posting his statistics, FAG/Ancestry is encouraging collectors, which is WRONG! If people are so interested in statistics, perhaps the only one that should be posted is how many requests for photos each person has filled. To me, that shows a genuine interest in helping instead of collecting.

    As far as a time restriction, I think only first-level relatives should be allowed to post for a six month period following the death, unless the obituary indicates that none exist. In that case, any person named in the obit (grandparents, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, in-laws) could post in that time period.

    Frankly, though, I think the major problem is the statistics. Take that away, and the problem would soon be resolved. It shouldn’t be a contest.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. THANK YOU!! This has been an issue for so many people who are grieving and would see the initial creation of a memorial as a way to say goodbye and achieve some closure. Having to request or beg a stranger for one’s loved one memorial is a slap in the face when one has just buried them.

    I’ve even seen people create memorials before the person’s funeral or before there was even a grave to find! It’s boorish, rude, and inconsiderate and I fully 100% endorse any proposal that moderates such behavior.

    I would encourage FaG to add one further step. Rather than placing a memorial created by a non-family member in a provisional state, leave it unpublished for 14 days, letting the original creator know that if a family member (identified as this proposal outlines) creates one, that will be the memorial published. If no family member creates one in that time, it will be moved to provisional status as described above for 90 days, after which is will be published as any other. One year is a bit long, and allowing it to be published even provisionally could still be insulting. But we can all wait 14 days to let a family member create an original memorial before a prior created one is made visible.

    Regardless, I am happy to see FaG and Ancestry step up and address this issue which has been concerning for many for a long time! Thank you again! a

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for addressing this issue! There definitely needs to be a waiting period before unrelated people are allowed to create a memorial. This should not be a contest to see who can add the most or do it the fastest!

    Give the family a chance to grieve and create the memorial themselves. I also agree that the memorial should be immediately transferred to a related person if they want to manage it.

    Someone who had never even met my mother created a memorial before she was even creamated the day after her death! She wasn’t even interred for almost a year after her death due to severe weather and family travel restrictions. I felt robbed when I went to create her memorial two days after she passed. I’ve had memorials immediately created for other relatives by unrelated and unknown people using obituaries, some of which had serious errors.

    A few people refused to transfer relatives memorials to me. One person even demanded documentation of my relationship to my uncle. Thankfully the staff here took immediate action.
    THIS IS NOT A CONTEST PEOPLE!

    Thank you again for addressing this issue.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I think the wait time should be at least 6 months. I recently created a memorial for my 93 yr old father in law on the day of his death at the request of my husband and his 91 yr old mother because she was afraid somebody who didnt know him would do it first. This is not something that angrieving person should have to worry about within hours of a death. Even then I had someone request that I add the obituary that had not even been in the paper yet (they included the full obit in their request!).

    I also think that. “Transfer request” button should be added to make it easier to request a transfer.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is a good start but I would like to see family members such as aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. be Included. I have been the creator of all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, etc memorials because I have the ability and other family members don’t or are not interested. It is frustrating to see memorials show up the day the Obituary is posted or when they don’t have birth/death info other than year and you know they aren’t related to the deceased but still won’t transfer ownership. I have sent in complaints about this in the past and did not receive any response back. Thank you for attempting to make this issue less frustrating.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Some people make memorials from the newspaper for something to do, some see how many they can do, and some just create them when they see them. Does it really matter why they created it? I may think it is crazy to collect FaG Memorials but it doesn’t affect me so why worry about it? I have created memorials for friends in High Schoool that have passed and also as a tribute to my sister-in-laws mother. Whatever the reason, I am just very thankful that memorials are created, I choose to focus on the positive.

    I really wouldn’t be offended if there was a memorial for one of my family members. I would be thankful. I think that people are too easily offended these days. I probably wouldn’t even think about it while grieving anyway. And obits go online very quickly too.

    I think it is great that we have memorials without tombstone pictures so that people can match them up easier with tombstones, and then we can have more pictures, and the more memorials there are online, the more people we can connect. FaG isn’t just about creating a Memorial for a person, it is also about genealogy, and that is finding the relationships between people and FaG is great for that. “Find a Grave’s mission is to help people from all over the world work together to find, record and present final disposition information as a virtual cemetery experience.”

    Let’s keep things simple and not bog things down with lots of rules and red tape. Let’s keep FaG free and freed up to focus on improvements. The current system is simple but it does require FaG to be deligent. If a family member requests a transfer and the person that created it refuses, then they should report it per the current process. A person can easily prove their family status by providing an obit or death certificate with their name on it or something of the like, and then FaG should have a fairly easy time approving those problems.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I think 3 months is an adequate amount of time to wait to post a recent death.
    But yes, I think the person creating the memorial should indicate their relationship to the deceased for any memorial posted within one year of a death.
    I also agree with others that there seems to be an incentive for “collecting.” How can someone be sure of accuracy and sensitivity if they post that much?
    Thank you for asking and attempting a solution to this problem.

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  15. I think 3 months is an adequate amount of time to wait to post a recent death.
    But yes, I think the person creating the memorial should indicate their relationship to the deceased for any memorial posted within one year of a death.
    I also agree with others that there seems to be an incentive for “collecting.” How can someone be sure of accuracy and sensitivity if they post that much?
    Thank you for asking and attempting a solution to this problem.

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  16. Agree that there should be a moratorium of a set time (6-12 months preferable, but at least 3) for our recently departed.

    As others have suggested, it will difficult for findagrave to ascertain whether someone is really a direct relative. But perhaps there could be a red flag raised should the submitter be responsible for a vast number of memorials.

    For recent deaths – at least within the past year – a complete death date should be required (not just the year), in order to avoid a workaround to a moratorium.

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  17. I agree with your approach, and thank you for it. Family members must be allowed an easy way to own the memorials of their family, rather than the numbers-grabbers.

    Before I had even buried my mother, someone had created her memorial, but thankfully transferred it to me promptly upon request. Not everyone is so lucky when approaching the numbers-grabbers.

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  18. My dad’s memorial was added four days after he died. Although I did not object per se, it did seem to be presumptuous. Your new guidelines seem reasonable and would be a good change.

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  19. I would like to see this extended to cousins. Some of us are the historians for our family and cousins are what is left.

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  20. There are two conflicting goods to be balanced here. On the one hand, we don’t want family members to either have to rush to post on FAG, or be upset over what a stranger has entered for their loved one. On the other hand, it is very helpful for people to create memorials even if they are not relatives. I suspect that many would not be on FAG at all except for people who add many. But I would like to see a strong preference for people who post a photo of the grave, over those who just use obituaries. After all, obituaries are not always accurate; it should be possible to correct errors and strangers would have no way to know the actual facts.
    Some delay is a good idea. Questions about how one is related are a good idea. And a requirement that the entry be transferred from a non-relative to a family member who requests it. Perhaps there’s a way to automate this transfer instead of getting the original creator to agree.
    I think the most effective idea I’ve seen in the comments is to remove the public counters. They just motivate competitive behavior, and not in a good way. Let people see their number on their private profile.

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  21. I have seen where some volunteers appear to create memorials from the obituary printed in their local newspaper. Sometimes the family member does not appreciate ALL the information provided in the obituary be made public on FAG. I understand the logic that the information was taken from a public document and placed in a public website, but I believe that somehow if the basic memorial can be posted but the text/obituary portion hidden for a minimum of 6 months prior to its release. And of course, yes, give direct family members and relatives a method. I find it offensive by members who post census information in lieu of personal data and attempt to use FAG as an ancestral family tree of sorts because they either cannot afford to purchase family tree software online or in hardcopy. And I too believe that Aunt and Uncles should be included in the line of descendance verification. But a sub rule should ALSO be that if a direct descendant from an Aunt or Uncle desires to be the memorial manager, said memorial should pass to them. Also there needs to be a better clarification of posting infant and minor children memorials, such as no less than 10 years after their death or only after their parents’ passing, unless of course the original post is generated by the immediate family members of the deceased. It is in these infant memorials where there is a death certificate issued, that many genealogists discover additional siblings that were born to a particular family.

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  22. I believe the proposals are too cumbersome. If there is to be a moratorium, it shouldn’t be more than 30 days. I also believe a 4-generation direct line is too restrictive. There are many researchers who are looked upon as the ‘family historian’ and maintain extensive records on generations of aunts, uncles, and cousins. There should be a requirement to transfer records to them, as well, unless the current owner is also a family member. Perhaps it would be helpful to require the owner to indicate if he/she is, or isn’t, a relative – not so much for policing purposes, but to help relatives identify each other.

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  23. There is no timeline for a family to mourn a loved one no matter the circumstances behind his or her death. The focus is on losing that person not the need to add a memorial. A family’s mind is not on adding them, but on mourning them.

    Between death and burial it can take up to at least one week to give family who live far away a chance to travel and be there for the funeral. That in and amongst itself should also be respected.

    As much as I appreciate all of the people who truly add memorials out of the respect and care for the deceased and the family, I do not like it when there are people out there doing it for the numbers, which to be honest. Nor do I like non-family adding a recent obituary that should be left for the living family to do. The obituary watchers / adders need to respect the family.

    Having said that, a year is suffice to give a family time to mourn and respectfully allow them to add their loved one to FindAGrave. I have read, understand, and respect the opinions of other. The person who responded about the timeframe being six months has a great point, but from my own experience a year would be best.

    Although I have already added my aunt and uncle this wouldn’t pertain to them now. However, not all aunts and uncles were blessed with children, so I feel that a family member should still be able to add an aunt and uncle. Some people may have an aunt and uncle who were like a second set of parents just like mine were.

    What I would like to see is when a memorial is transferred to a family member the original creator is automatically deleted, showing only the family member as being the creator, as it should be. I feel that would clear up a lot of issues.

    There is no animosity in what I am about to say here. Just a heartfelt comment. This goes along with the above paragraph. I manage my parent’s memorials. I would like to be able to have the choice to keep or delete a picture a non-family member took of their headstone in March of this year or any picture a non-family member took at anytime. I appreciate the person taking his or her time, however their grave shows evidence of being cared for and it shows I’m managing their memorials. Please allow this choice. I continue to appreciate the people who do this for non-family, but let’s see it as something family has a right to update.

    Thank you!

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  24. I think the idea to ask submitters to indicate their relationship is a good one, not just for recent deaths but also for older graves. That makes it easier for a close relative to open communication about transferring.

    With regards to preventing premature memorials, I don’t think the provisional state goes far enough. If I understand the proposal correctly, this proposal still allows non-family members to prematurely publish memorials, although family members can have it transferred. That’s basically what the current rules already say. This proposal does highlight the possibility of transfer more clearly, but it doesn’t prevent publication by strangers..

    Instead, I would propose that the memorial should only be published after a waiting period, say 90 days, unless created by a close family member.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It would not serve any useful purpose to ask for a relationship on older memorials. I create memorials for my two local cemeteries, I am related to none of the deceased I create memorials for in these two cemeteries. I donate many hours per week by checking that they don’t have a memorial, digging up the obituary to get the facts to write a brief bio (the paper isn’t on line, I personally look in the old actual newspapers, going back to 1898), and taking grave photos. I should not be allowed to create these memorials because I am not related? 99.99% of the memorials would never get added in that case in these two cemeteries.

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      • The limit to next of kin would only be for recently deceased. It can be get upsetting to find a memorial for a loved one star’s not even buried yet, created by a stranger. That’s why I propose waiting period.

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  25. I had this happen to me. I attended my aunt’s funeral and on the day of her funeral I suggested to her daughter, my cousin that we prepare a memorial to her on FindaGrave. I found that someone had already submitted on. It was the obituary from the newspaper and the picture. Obituaries are prepared to notify the deceased’s community of their death so it can be supportive to the family and attend the funeral. My cousin does not do genealogy and the creator did transfer management to me easily. I was able to make the changes my cousin wanted to the memorial.

    I think a 90-180 day moratorium on non-family members creating memorials is fair. Not all people are like my cousin and I and are able to prepare a memorial so soon after a death. Also, I think family members should include aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. I have created memorials for great aunts and uncles who had no children and aunts and uncles whose children are not genealogists and agreed with me creating a memorial for their parents.

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  26. The other issue not covered by this policy is how to prevent a contributor creating a memorial with information from a dual grave marking when the spouse has not died. My grandmother had a memorial created years before her death. I found it when an ancestry hint appeared the day after she died. I plan to create one for my Mom when my Dad’s stone is installed to prevent someone else from making a memorial.

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  27. If the memorial is held by a non family member it should be transferred to any family member that requests it. I have an entire cemetery four miles from my home and over half of the people there are my family. But I can’t get a transfer to my great aunts and uncles. These are held by a ‘bone collector’ with hundreds of thousands of memorials so these memorials go unconnected.
    I also was highly offended to find my father’s memorial was made by a total stranger before we even had Dad in the ground!!! I agree with the year before anyone other than family can make a memorial. When I lost my grandson to SIDS, I was sickeningly compelled to make his memorial when I wasn’t ready to but had to before a total stranger did it.

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    • “Those memorials go unconnected?” Why? There is an edit mechanism in place for that very purpose. There is the option for creating virtual cemeteries, again, for that purpose. When someone created a memorial for my Aunt before I did, I just nicely requested a transfer, and they nicely complied, even though they didn’t have to. And if they hadn’t? I’d have sponsored it, added flowers, added it to a virtual cemetery, and asked for a bio to be added. I added my Mom’s memorial the day she died, and I was glad to do it, it felt like one last gift I could give her. But if someone had beaten me to it, I’d have asked for the transfer and been grateful they thought to create it for her. It feels unkind to assign selfish intentions to people who work hard to create memorials.

      It seems people really want to condemn those who work hard to make sure folks who’ve passed are remembered. Words like “collectors” and “hoarders” are used to beat up people who are, at least as much as anyone else, responsible for the site’s success. I’ve seen obit people smack cemetery record people, I’ve seen family history folks smack obit people, I’ve seen cemetery record people complain about public records people, etc. This isn’t a family history site, this isn’t a genealogy site (though it is sometimes a good tool for those things), and it isn’t a contest, and yelling about “collectors” comes across every bit as competitive and weirdly jealous as do big numbers. It’s Find a Grave, and we’ve always been told it’s about final disposition. And that doesn’t require a stone, a portrait, an obit, or relatedness.

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  28. I agree with Judy Russell, and paste her words here:
    “… the provisional memorial should not be made live online until the end of the moratorium period. Only family members should be allowed to post within some set time after a death.”

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    • Only problem with this, I see, is now you will have many duplicates created because you dont know if one is created or not.

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  29. Thank you for addressing this issue, which can be very sensitive. Someone posted my mother’s obituary and picture from the newspaper before she was even buried. Ridiculous. Thankfully, he did agree to transfer the memorial to me.

    I support the idea of a 90 day moratorium. I like the idea of a family member including cousins who may be the family historian being able to do this before that point. I support the idea of automatic transfer to a family member if someone else jumps in for up to a year. I do not believe that the interim memorial should be “live” until a few weeks or a month after death.

    Bill Greggs

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  30. In case we get a vote, here’s mine:

    1. I do like a time limit to allow families to post. I probably favor a 3-month time period. My father’s memorial was created the day he died. I was understandably busy that day. We didn’t even announce his death until the next day, so the person who created it apparently had an “in” somewhere. It was transferred upon request, but still burned. When my mom died, I created a memorial with just initials, which I filled in some days later. I knew my family wasn’t going to be ready to see a full memorial, but I couldn’t stand the idea that someone else was going to post it first.

    2. I like the generational limit, because who really knows their 3rd great grandparents? (And how many might have that same relationship?) Virtual cemeteries, or Ancestry family trees, are a great place to collect your relatives. And chances are, the creation of the memorial has helped you in your research, so “thanks” instead of “gimme” is more appropriate. But I would like to see the required transfers extended to in-laws. I’d also like to see aunts, uncles, and cousins added to the list. We have several aunts who never married, and we are their closest relatives. I hate the idea that, the day they die, I have to stop everything and create a memorial or lose the right to it. I don’t want to see an “unlimited” family relationship or name collector have priority, though.

    3. I volunteer in a large, historical cemetery near me, and work there as researcher and historian. It’s an old cemetery, with many mistakes in the records. Correcting those mistakes on findagrave is a big task, made bigger by someone who creates memorials with wrong info, or plops them in where they don’t belong. I can keep things so much more accurate and easy when I manage the memorials, and rarely transfer out of guidelines from that cemetery. No, I’m not related to any of them. Please don’t condemn me because I’m not. I’m actually helping you by keeping them.

    4. I have no problem with numbers. People have different reasons for posting. And if numbers are motivating to some, well, whatever works. I started creating memorials via my genealogy research, which then spread to random cemeteries I photographed, because I love cemeteries and history. I think my numbers are high (not anywhere close to the highest) but it is because I spend so much time in cemeteries. Isn’t that the point? It’s laughable that people think I might be motivated by having a big number on findagrave. What do I win? A toaster?

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  31. Agree that only close relatives should post memorial within first few months (3-6?). My MIL’s was posted off the obit with a horrible pixelated version of the newspaper photo attached. Took way too much trouble to get the transfer and get HIM to remove that photo. AND, he’s STILL listed as the creator.

    I REALLY agree that the stats are the problem. This person (who admittedly probably is unable to “mow the rows”) does his part by combing local papers and posting memorial directly from them. No grave photos and NO research (I’ve had to correct a bunch of his family connections) but his stats are AWESOME! It’s helpful but making him wait a few months to do ones not done by families would be reasonable. Most of us are not in it for statistics and awards but to document the final resting places for those interested.

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  32. You’re forgetting about all the people who use obits and other sources to add memorials. If it wasn’t for them, many, many memorials would not be added. Family members should be able to manage memorials, but I don’t think we should wait for them to get around to adding a memorial.

    If anything is changed, it should be people who won’t transfer memorials to family members. I have grandparents’ memorials in Ohio and the manager of the memorial refuses to transfer to me because he has a collection of memorials for people born before a certain date. This kind of thing should be stopped.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. I agree there should be a three month waiting period. Aunts and Uncles should be included as my Aunt raised me and I had to post her memorial the day she died because there is a newspaper grabber in her area that is not a nice person. There is no way he would have transferred. First cousins as well. I agree there are too many on find a grave that only care about numbers and a way around this must be implemented.

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  34. I think immediate family should have 3 to 6 months to create a memorial. Anything created by someone else during that time should not be posted, but held back. If, after the agreed-upon time, no family member has created a memorial, then the one produced by the non-relative can go online.

    There are surely lots of old graves for which memorials can be made.

    Perhaps too much attention is given to the stats of memorial postings.

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  35. I think that there is a big disconnect here between some family members and what the purpose of Find A Grave is.
    The whole purpose is to document the final disposition of people, It is not to create monuments to them. Most of us who volunteer our time and work to create memorials are doing that for one reason-to document where people are buried. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Some people work off of obits, others off of cemetery records (the people who found my family), others of us photograph cemeteries. I specialize in cemeteries that no one goes to. I just finished working on a cemetery that had only 19 photos of graves and took it to over 2000 entries of which only 35 did not have photos. All of those memorials (the 35) were created either from family or someone else doing them from obits. I suspect that they are all unmarked.

    Some of the graves I photographed were recent There’s a marker there, it’s public. I took a photo, saw if there was a memorial, if not I created one, then posted the photo here. That’s what I do. I document cemeteries. And if there was some arbitrary prohibition over created a memorial within a particular time frame after the person’s death, the odds are that by the time had expired I would have forgotten about it and the memorial would never get created because like I said, no one went to the cemetery and I’ve moved on to another cemetery.

    I don’t care about keeping the memorials I create. Ask me, I’ll transfer it as long as it isn’t my relative. The people who created the memorials for my family are what some of you call collectors. Well, they found them, put them up here, so I could find them. I thank them as I have some idea of the work that they do as I only have a tiny percentage of the memorials they created. And I pay them back by doing what I do.

    I understand about people being upset with memorials created before people are buried. I get it. I don’t do it. But almost every proposal for longer than a month is unrealistic. If there’s a marker up, even a temporary funeral home marker, it’s fair game. Some cemeteries are very popular. Someone may find it and post the photo.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. I believe there should be a moritorium on non-members posting a memorial for a recently deceased person for at least three months if not longer. For goodness sake, give the family time to grieve. Families shouldn’t have to deal with transferring memorials when they are still in pain. Maybe they would like to have the first day on what is written. Find-A-Grave, you have a responsibility here to do what is right.

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  37. If I am understanding the proposed change correctly, the only thing that will change is that there will be a process in place for any memorials created with a date of death that occurred within the previous 365 days.

    This process will require the person creating the page to identify their relationship to the deceased. If the relationship fals outside the “direct line relatives within 4 generation” mandate, the creator of the memorial will be notified when the memorial is being created that if a direct relative puts in a transfer request a mechanism is in place for the transfer to happen automatically.

    Did I understand correctly? If so then 1 year seems reasonable as it still allows for a creation of the memorial. If not then I think the waiting period should be 90 days.

    There should be a system in place to penalize abusers to this new process.

    There should also be an expansion of the “direct line relatives within 4 generations” to allow nieces and nephews of family where the deceased never had children, but that is another issue.

    Gail

    I posted this last night but I don’t see it. If it ends up being a repete post, I am sorry for that.

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  38. A memorial should not be created for at least 6 preferably 12 months and sooner only by close relatives. Distant relatives do not need to know by public memorial. I agree collectors should be discouraged – I can’t believe strangers would be so insensitive and tacky. I like others ideas of numbers of photo requests or something would be better than number of memorials – why make that a contest?

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  39. There are some good ideas that have been suggested. I can’t read them all, so may be repeating what has been posted. Keep in mind that most people are not Find A Grave contributors, and don’t even consider posting or managing a memorial for a loved one. I appreciate that there are people who create memorials for people they never knew. A period of time before a memorial can be created will lead to missed memorials, not only those created from obituaries and funeral home notices, but also those created from newer graves in the cemeteries. Also,many of us create immediate memorials for friends or extended family.

    A period of time before a newly created memorial becomes publicly visible will lead to duplications. Why not add a transfer button, so that the transfer process is easier? Also, there could be another option, remove and replace for close family, but only if the death has just occurred.

    I would continue with the current policy, but add an option for immediate family to easily request and receive a transfer. There could also be a short window, such as a week, to replace such memorials with their own.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. I have a conflict between genealogy research and identity theft. I very much appreciate the info I find for an ancestor in Find a Grave. But I have also heard of people who use the names of the deceased to rent apartments, don’t pay the rent, abandon the apartment, and the landlords/police come after the family of the deceased. Even if it’s determined they are not liable for this cost, they do have the extra stress of this investigation. Because of things like this, and because strangers are allowed to advertise a death, and newspapers/funeral homes put these things online, in the interests of not adding to my family’s stress, I’ve decided it’s best not to have an obituary at all. Which I’ve requested for myself. And which is a sad state of affairs. So my vote here is to not allow strangers to build memorials on Find a Grave at all – even if it is good for genealogy. Another sad state of affairs.

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  41. How will you enforce this?
    What’s to stop people from lying about relationships?
    What will you do if two people on the “same level” of relationship make memorials?
    Why must there be a “managed by” option, what is the problem with just leaving “created by” and “managed by” as they are now?
    Why are you bowing to the complaints of people who have no respect for your service or the hard work others have put into it?

    Listen to me closely: the more you give in to the people who whine the loudest, the people who do not support your mission, the people who do not understand the purpose of your database or the fact that it is NOT a genealogy site, the more you will have to keep giving in.

    You are going to alienate those of us who have been with you since the beginning. Those of us who have done the bulk of the work making your site what it is. Those of us who are adults and who understand that Find A Grave is not the site for some weird-o genealogical pissing contest.

    All I can imagine at this point is that such a misguided policy is your first step toward going to a paid model. Hope the whiners have deep pockets, and you don’t mind the rest of us deleting our memorials when we go. Spitting in the face of your most loyal members like this is an ill-advised business move.

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  42. This happened to me. I have been using Find A Grave for many years. After my parents died, I waited a while to put up a memorial, because I wasn’t ready. When I did decide I was ready to post one, I discovered that a stranger had already put one up. Fortunately she was very nice and transferred both memorials to me. but it was a shock nevertheless. Personally, I think a year would be an appropriate amount of time to wait before a recent burial can have a memorial. Another point, I understand that some people are doing entire cemeteries so that others at a distance can see the location of their relative’s burial. However, a problem with this that I have encountered is that these people who put up tens of thousands of memorials put limits on what relationship you need to have to the deceased before they will transfer. Some will not transfer at all. Many are quick about it and kind. I would say that if people have so many memorials that they can’t keep up with legitimate requests for transfers, they should reconsider what they are doing.

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  43. I also document cemeteries. I think it would be a disservice to skip the newer graves, and hope it does not come to that. I am hoping that any change would be to ensure that a family member gets an opportunity to create a memorial immediately after a death without finding that someone beat them to it.

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  44. Thank you for addressing this issue. The memorials for my parents were made on the very day they died! While I was dealing with the hospital and/or nursing home and the funeral home, they already had Find A Grave Memorials made. Even if I had known about Find A Grave at that time I would never have had the time to make one for them myself. Thank you for working to find a fix for this problem.

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  45. I have read through the comments. I have been a member of Find A Grave for over 13 years. I have become disabled. I am no longer able to take photographs or walk cemeteries. Does this make me a collector? Some people and their comments do not take the disabled into account.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. I think that there should be a 14 day moratorium from the date of death until the memorial is created but by anyone. I could lie about my relationship while creating a memorial and for 99.99% of them no one would know the difference. And given that my family goes back to the founding of the town in 1654, I am related to about 40% of our local celestial residents. After 14 days, anyone can post a memorial and no ID (family/non-family) should be required and “provisional” is an unnecessary and complicating step to get a memorial transferred. The next complaint will be that “edit” didn’t transfer the “provisional” memorial fast enough.

    No photo of the person or grave should be required to create a memorial. I have created memorials and years later there still is no grave marker. In 1 case, the family has more pressing economic issues. In several others, the family members will erect a marker for both spouses after the other passes. And if no marker ever is added, the deceased don’t care and the living will at least know in what cemetery to ask for a location.

    Transfers should remain within the 4 generation, direct descendant rule. I am the family genealogist but I don’t need to manage any memorial I did not create. I’m grateful that someone took the time to add it. Information will be sent via the edit system. If it gets added fine; if it doesn’t fine. Again, the deceased don’t care and my time and energy are better spent tending to the actual graves than worrying about a memorial existing in cyber-space.

    I used to freely transfer outside of the guidelines but I have virtual cemeteries for those transfers out and check on them after transfer to see what updates were made. 20% (105 of 538) have had additional information or photos posted. The remaining 433 memorials haven’t had so much as a comma changed since the transfer. So much for the “I’m the family genealogist and have so much to add” or “this was my dearest aunt/cousin/next door neighbor” stories. If the person means that much, there is a quite usable edit system for updating memorials and I try to get them done within 48 hours of receipt so I know they will be updated. Any biographical text info added is credited to the contributor.

    As to my numbers, there are people who will accuse me of being a “collector”. I am not collecting grave memorials; I am entering transcriptions not readily available to the public and walking those cemeteries taking photos and posting them. I am researching memorials and updating the information as time allows. If I hadn’t added that transcription then trekked through the woods in the middle of East Nowhere to find that little cemetery, you wouldn’t know where your 3rd great-grandmother was buried or that she had children that appear in no vital records. Note: I do collect postcards of cemeteries.

    This is VIRTUAL reality. Do something for the deceased in REAL life. Remember them by telling their stories to younger generations; remember them for their service to their country, and their contributions to their families and communities; remember them by donating to their favorite charities; remember them by tending their graves. The underlying issue is not anger over who contributed the memorial the memorial first. It is a convenient place to aim your grief and anger over their passing and “owning” an itty-bitty piece of cyber-space isn’t going to make that feel any better.

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  47. Here’s my biggest concern, other than the obvious: if we go with a “waiting period,” most people will stop relying on obits because it’s a gigantic pain for them to dig through newspaper archives months out, and many newspapers don’t keep obits in their free area for that long, just as many funeral homes don’t keep notices up that long. So, for the dozen or so memorials this would apply to, there will be thousands of memorials not created. Ever. Which means that those folks don’t get memorials. And when their distant family or friends or old classmates come looking, there will be nothing to find.

    It’s not about “vultures,” “hoarders,” or “collectors.” It’s about all of us contributing in different ways. Obits are a wonderful source, as are public records, cemetery records, and headstones. This site was never about “only family members,” and if it were, it’d have sunk years ago. People working off records and obits are hugely important, and people making memorials for strangers are what keeps the site going. Instead of viewing it as selfish and invasive, look at it like I do–it’s strangers creating memorials for strangers so those strangers will be remembered. It’s a beautiful thing, and it’s sad to see people make it something awful.

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  48. “Once the memorial is created, it would look like any other memorial, but we would add some messaging to let family members know they can claim the page. (What message do you think would be appropriate?)”

    The sad part about this is you will get people who will lie about their relationship just to get “their” family memorials. It already happens now with some people claiming someone is a grandfather, for example, however, when you check it out they are really their 3x or 4x grandfather.

    I’ve had someone mad at me for “usurping” her family because she didnt know about Find A Grave. Thing is I created the memorials almost 8 years prior to her finding the website and the family members where way out of the guidelines for transfer.

    So it really doesnt matter how short or how long a time you give to create a memorial someone is always going to get upset or mad. There are good transfer guidelines now and they work. I think they just need to be more prominent and easier to find.

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  49. A tiny percentage of the world are creators of memorials, a fraction of that are complaining about who created a memorial first. If creators are stopped or slowed, we will have loved ones that slip through the cracks and will be forgotten. Simply add a button to request a memorial transfer, but please do not take credit from the creator. I see a future of people taking control of memorials that have no intention of taking care of them. There is no sense in allowing a temporary member to take memorials from someone that has walked hundreds of miles to document headstones. The title of the site is Find A Grave, not make a family tree, too many people are using the site like a free Ancestry site, those are the ones complaining the loudest. Is a cousin that joined today, that is one generation closer to a grandparent going to take a memorial from a member that has been contributing for 10 years?

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    • I totally agree. If some of the changes that have been suggested were implemented, Find A Grave would no longer be the valuable resource that it is today.

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