Casefile Clues

08 May 2013

Thinking Out Loud About Citing FindaGrave

I'm still working on a comfortable framework for citing material I find on FindAGrave.

It seems to me that there are really two types of material on FindAGrave and that it might be worth my while to make some distinction between the photographs I find there and the textual material I find on the site.  Keep in mind, I may revise this viewpoint.

Photographs are fairly self explanatory and if they are high quality I can make a transcription myself from the picture--although my citation must clearly indicate that I viewed a picture and not the actual stone. We will assume that the stone is listed on FindAGrave in the right cemetery, although occasionally there are issues with that as well.

The textual material on FindAGrave memorials varies from simple statements that the person is buried there, to an actual transcription of the stone, to additional information on the individual that is not on the stone at all and is secondary in nature. The difficulty with the textual material is that if there is not a photograph of the stone as a part of the memorial, I do not know if the transcription is accurate. If the textual material is lengthy, I might not know where the transcription ends and something else begins.  The extra information is helpful (I want to make that clear), at least as a clue or as a lead, but if my goal is to cite what is on the stone (using FindAGrave) it muddies that water. My citation to any textual material on FindAGrave must indicate that that textual information came from the site and not the stone.

Stay tuned...