22 January 2015

Using FindAGrave Information Responsibly

FindAGrave is a great genealogical source. But, like any source, it must be used with care. Like any published source used in family history research, the information it contains must be evaluated to determine it's perceived reliability.

When I cite FindAGrave pages and analyze the information that they contain, I make a distinction between information located in the "Memorial" and the "Photos" portions of the site. My citation indicates whether I used the "Memorial" page or the "Photos" page.

The information on the "Memorial" section could be information that the compiler:

  • copied from an obituary
  • copied directly from the tombstone
  • copied from a published book of cemetery transcriptions
  • copied from an unpublished set of cemetery transcriptions
  • copied from death certifiates
  • copied from an unknown location
Some of the time the "Memorial" section will include a source for that information on the "Memorial" page. Other times it does not. Do not assume what is on the "Memorial" page is what is on the tombstone. Do not assume the "title" of the page or the "name" given for the person is the name that is on their tombstone. Some FindAGrave volunteers add additional information in order to be helpful. 

I try and validate information on the "Memorial" page from other sources.

The "Photo" page is where photographs of the tombstone can be placed. If the stone was legible and the photo is a good one, the inscription can be read. I generally to view the photographs are pretty reliable. The "Memorial" pages I am more careful with and use them for clues.

I'm grateful for all that FindAGrave volunteers submit to the site.

It's just that genealogists need to use the site responsibly.

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