Relatives and Transfer Guidelines

Find a Grave members have done and continue to do an incredible service by documenting burials, adding memorials to the site and managing them! Find a Grave would not exist without the work of incredible members and your continued efforts.

In our ideal world each memorial on Find a Grave would be managed by someone who had a connection to or knowledge about the person memorialized, but that will never be the case. As a community, we depend on people who generously volunteer their time to add, maintain and update information on people they aren’t related to and don’t even know. These members do a wonderful service.

Often times, after a memorial has been created, a family member, relative or someone else with a connection to the person memorialized finds it and would like to manage that memorial. Most often, memorial managers are willing to transfer these because they know that someone with knowledge of the person will likely make the best manager of the memorial, but in some cases memorial managers are hesitant to transfer memorials.

Over the years Find a Grave has developed transfer guidelines to help clarify when a manager should transfer a memorial to a family member. These guidelines are not intended to disrespect the work of those who create these memorials, but to help balance everyone’s interests and provide clear guidance.

This is difficult subject to traverse as there are many people related to one person. Our transfer guidelines have served well, but the site has grown exponentially, and we continue making improvements to best serve our members.

Right now, our memorial transfer guidelines include mandatory transfers for direct line family members (spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, great-grandparent, grandchild, great-grandchild), but the most connected family members are not always those in a direct line.

We’d be curious to hear your thoughts on the idea of our transfer guidelines being more rounded instead of only direct line – adding aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, first cousin, or _____?

We’re also interested in your perspective on the idea of transferring memorials to any family member when requested if the memorial manager is not themselves related.

Please share your thoughts with us through the comments below!

86 comments

  1. In my opinion if there is no one directly related that has requested a transfer then those who are closest kin should be able to request especially when they are avid genealogist like myself. I have cousins who go to their parents Graves znd put flowers on but aren’t findagrave members. I really don’t see why a person that created 50,000 memorials should maintain if they don’t know them. Transfer them to kin who will correct.

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    • I whole-heartedly agree that, if no one directly related has requested a transfer, those who are closest kin (i.e. nieces, nephews, etc.) should be able to request a transfer when they are avid genealogists such as myself.

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  2. When a person acts mean and crazy, harassing and demanding, no one should transfer to that person, relative or no. It encourages insane behavior.

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  3. My husband’s entire family is buried in Texas, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, and many extended family. He has requested to be able to manage these family members, to work with his siblings, and cousins, to document their family. However, one very territorial FAG member, who happen to document them before he was a member has repeatedly refused. (If she had just left them, his own family would have eventually created memorials, as evidenced by this contact to her). What kind of person withholds family members from someone trying to ‘gather’ and care for these memorials. I’ve considered the motives behind the repeated refusal, and can only assume that ‘ego’ and ‘ownership’ are far more important to this person than wanting to celebrate, or even just document, these dead. She KNOWS her handle continues with the memorial, even after transfer, so she still gets “credit” if that’s where her values lie. She’s not going to fill out bios on them herself, so this is just territorial. I find it disturbing, selfish and shameful. I think Find a Grave needs to require FAG Members to transfer to family that can show a connection, and stop allowing families to be bullied by these bullies. (One FAG contributor to another).

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    • Hi Francine, we appreciate your feedback. If there are family members within transfer guidelines to you and this member is not related in the same manner, then the member should transfer the memorials to you. If you cannot get a response you can contact support@findagrave.com and we’ll work on that for you. Please send all the details, such as memorial numbers and your exact relationship. If you cannot receive a response to updates for biographies, you can forward your copy of the “suggest a correction” to edit@findagrave.com at the 30 day mark. We’ll update the memorial for you. We’ll keeping working on improvements and appreciate your comments regarding transfers of memorials for extended family members.

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  4. I have a similar situation. One member who has entered 214,000+ and manages 212,000+ of those refuses to make legitimate changes/additions to many of the entries he manages. His repeated reply is “This doesn’t agree with my information.” Do you REALLY think he even looked!? His bio says he is not accepting messages.

    I have begun putting flowers on his entries when I have pertinent info that he refuses to post.

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    • Hi Marsha, please contact support@findagrave.com and explain this situation with details and we’ll look into this further. If you have specific examples, please forward those in the email to us. We can resolve this issue. As a gentle reminder, virtual flowers should only be used for a tribute to the deceased. Thanks for your help by sending us the information so this can be resolved.

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  5. I didn’t realize that flowers had one specific purpose, so I will not do it any more. If I come across any I have done, I will remove them.

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  6. I think adding uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces and cousins would be fantastic. I had a very bad experience dealing with a contributor that would not make transfer of my aunt & uncle’s memorials. I had requested aunts, uncles, great-aunts, great-uncles, nephews, etc…and kind contributors were happy to make the transfer. I just feel that if any relative has an interest in any family member’s memorial then they should be granted a transfer.

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  7. There is a system already in place to et whatever edits and additions are needed for any memorial. There is no need for expanding the transfer requirements. The resulting scramble to collect one’s tree would be ridiculous. Memorials currently managed by Find A Grave are available for transfer to anyone, and as contributors died off, theirs will become available as well. Until then, assuming a manager is active, there is no reason to strip them of management.

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    • Yes, there are guidelines for changes and additions, but it does no good if the “maker” ignores your suggestions.

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  8. I think it’s awesome that Find A Grave contributors have created so many memorials. It creates a lasting electronic memory of someone’s loved ones who have passed away. They are gone but not forgotten.

    Nonetheless, I believe family members, including aunts and uncles etc. should be able to manage their loved ones memorials.

    I have requested the management of my great-grandmother’s child who passed away in the first year of his life. I have not heard back from the creator of his memorial. After 30 days the edit suggestions were automatically done. These updated included more about his name, dates, and connected him to his parents and siblings. I contacted Find A Grave support about transferring his memorial to me. I was told I couldn’t manage his memorial because I am not a direct descendant. Well, he has no direct descendants because he passed away at the age of about 4 months old.

    I hurts me that someone who has no ties to our family, and manages about 9,600 plus memorials, won’t let me manage his. I am very grateful that this person created his memorial. I only found out about Find A Grave after doing a DNA test and creating my family tree with Ancestry’s website about 2 years ago. If I knew about this sooner I would have created his memorial.

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  9. I have been a contributor for 13 1/2 years and have only come across a few people who will not transfer. I do feel that it would be nice to maintain Aunt’s, Uncles and 1st Cousins.

    We have had someone go through a few cemeteries with family members in them and requested transfers. The creators of the memorials were people who were photographing the entire cemeteries. They gladly transferred them to her. She will not transfer my aunts and uncles to me so I can update them, nor will she transfer to my cousin. I asked how she was related twice and her reply was different each time. These memorials are in the United States and she told me once she was in Germany another time she was in another country. She replied that she was an ex-wife of someone’s aunt’s, uncle’s, cousin, etc.

    Myself and my cousin try to create memorials as quickly as possible, when family passes, before she does. Then we transfer the to each other depending on who is closest related. She maintains many, many memorials. We are only interested in maintaining our own family.

    I have mowed the rows in a cemetery before and know how much time it takes. I am always happy to transfer to family. I simply ask them to indicate how they are related.

    My husband and I actually are joint contributors. He has followed me from cemetery to cemetery to find and photograph my relatives and his.

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  10. I do believe you should also include transfer aunts, uncles, & cousins. In-laws should also be included. I have been trying to manage my mother and father in laws memorial. Been told that my husband needs to become a Find A Grave contributor and he needs to request them. He has no interest in trying to manage them as he knows that is where my interest is at. Memorials managed by family members means more care & love will go into those memorials

    I also have requested transfer of memorial of my grandparents and the person says Find A Grave wants documentation of my relationship. They also do not accept messages. Not sure why or how I would get documentation to them.

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  11. Expanding the current mandatory transfer rules would be useful. I would suggest expanding it to include uncles and aunts, up to 3rd great granduncles/aunts, and cousins up to 1C4X cousins. Of course if a closer relative is already managing or one requests to manage they should take precedence. I do believe this would be of service to family members who are seeking information about their families. A relative managing a memorial is far more likely to add accurate additional information about parents and siblings than a non-related manager who manages thousands or in some cases hundreds of thousands of unrelated memorials. Additionally there is a control aspect to this. Related family members should be given precedence over what edits are made because they are generally in a position of greater family knowledge than an unrelated manager to know if a requested edit is accurate and relevant.

    There should always be latitude given by Find-A-Grave and current memorial managers to any set policy as there can be extenuating circumstances that prevail. For example, a relative that falls outside of the mandatory transfer requirements could in fact have had a much closer family bond than the actual relationship indicates. My personal experience has been the majority of managers are willing to transfer a memorial to a relative irregardless of the actual relationship. There are those few mangers who refuse to transfer if the relationship is outside the current mandatory rules. In this case I would hope an email to support@findagrave.com would receive an earnest review and if the circumstances warrant they would transfer the memorial to the requestor?

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