How do you feel about Find A Grave memorials with no gravestone photo? [closed]

+13 votes
I have a problem with Find A Grave memorials where there is no gravestone image. It's like providing information and neglecting the source. It is heresay so I will use the information to try and locate something that is sourced but I try not to use it as a source.

How do others feel?
closed with the note: Comments are getting away from original intent of question.
in The Tree House by Eugene Quigley G2G6 Mach 7 (75.6k points)
closed by Eugene Quigley
You can request a phot.  Also contact the person that has done other phoyos for that cemetery  (The contirbutor)
Not everyone buried has a headstone. My husband's great aunt is definitely buried in the cemetery where his dad and multiple other relatives are buried, the cemetery and death certificate records confirm this, but she doesn't have one. We've discussed having the family chip in to purchase one for her, but it hasn't happened yet. She does have a findagrave page. I have several relatives that show their cemetery on their death certificate, and the cemetery confirms their records, but no headstone has been found.
Our church cemetery  has people buried in it since 1840.  Lots of people have no grave markers, just rocks placed at head and foot of grave.  I have went to the church library and read through the minutes and indexed all the people mentioned that died back from 1840 to 1940's. My husband and I also indexed all the cemetery head stones and made a map/plat of the graves there. I then compared the list of names in the minutes with the list of names on the grave markers. and listed the names from the minutes with the index of the cemetery indicating that they only appeared in minutes and  had no grave marker.  I contacted family descendants of the names and some knew where their family member was buried.  Some that did not have family local, were identified and we place a small marker for that person.  For instance, I have kept obituaries of the people buried in the cemetery since 1970, if the family have all died or we have no way of finding them, My husband and I placed a small marker with the name, birth year, and death year on the marker to make a record and also to mark an unmarked grave.  It has all been a labor of love.  I siad all that to say this.  The church minutes has much information, for instance, when they joined the church, or moved their letter, and sometimes when they died.  So old church minutes are a wealth of information. when all else fails.
These days, more and more findagrave profiles, especially for distant ancestors, are just as bad as, with no burial information and perpetuating errors with disproven old secondary sources or no source at all.

3 Answers

+11 votes
Best answer
I use it as a source but not as an only source unless none other is available.

When I find an ancestor on Find a Grave the first thing I check for is others buried in the same cemetery with the same last name, as many are not linked to each other. I also try to provide more information through the edit tab if I have it and suggest the famial links.

Not many could afford markers for their loved ones.

Also some who create the memorials have no access to obtain a picture of the marker and like above there is no marker,

I contact the cemetery also some are very good about sending the burial card and information via email or snailmail. They can also tell you if there is a marker.
by Jacqueline Clark G2G6 Pilot (159k points)
selected by Dale Byers
Just piggybacking on your answer.............some of the older cemeteries like the Shelby county cemetery (old one) became defunct.  The city bought up the cemetery and turned it into a park.  The graves are all lost.  There are thousands that were buried in paupers grave.......  I myself posted a Memorial to a great aunt that was buried there.........she no longer has a grave stone......if she had one
+7 votes

I can't say for other areas, but I know the many RI cemeteries have been painstakingly compiled and verified through many sources, including cemetery record, without photos, and are then placed on findagrave.   I have actually found findagrave records and then traveled to the cemetery to take those photos myself.

On the other hand, I have also found many citations on findagrave to have inaccurate information - spouses, children, parents etc.  When possible I have sent the submitter the correct information and sources.

So, i guess I would say 'with a grain of salt'.

by Chris Hoyt G2G6 Pilot (730k points)

Along the same lines as Chris's comments. Connecticut headstones were surveyed in the 1930's - Called the Hale Collection of Cemetery inscriptions. Many towns are available here. Many of the towns have then been copied to Find a Grave. They are all indexed at Ancestry and most (?) at American Ancestors.

A word of caution. They are not all accurate. I have photographed a lot of them. There are varying degrees of accuracy.

I know of many pre-"Civil-War" cemeteries in and around Hanover County, Virginia were desecrated during the war. Most marked graves had their markers destroyed and most of the historical regcords were lost as well, so having a picture of a marker is not possible.

On the other hand, I know of some genealogies being spread out on Find-A-Grave where the information is not supported by facts.

Like many sources, user beware.
+5 votes
It is a source!  There may be better sources and you should keep trying to find them but even a poor source is better than no source.  I know the cemetary that my Grandparents are buried at but I have never seen their grave markers, if they even have them, so if I created a Find A Grave memorial for any of them it would not have a photo, but that would not make the information heresay just because you do not have a picture, it still tells you where to find the information.
by Dale Byers G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
One of the nice things about Find a Grave is that, when you create the memorial for your grandparents, you can then request a photo of the headstone. If it's a large cemetery putting the plot information on will help someone find it. Then depending on how active the membersin the area are, you could get a photo in days or never. I have a few requests that are years old...Either no one can find the stone or there are no volunteers in the area.
I will get around to finding and photographing the grave sites, but it is going to have to wait until spring at least because at this time in Northeast Ohio everything is covered under the snow and with a total for the season of 70" average it is not going away soon.
Yes Dale it is a source - just no a very good one in my opinion. BUT if I see an image of the gravestone then the quality of the source improved greatly in my opinion.
My point is that in the case of my Grandparents, and other family members, I do not even have photo's of their gravesites and there is no Find A Grave memorials that I know of but I list the location of their graves and dates if I can remember them. For you to say that this information is not a good source makes me wonder if I would be better off just putting my information in another location and only spend a minimal amount of time here.
Dale, I believe Eugene is still refering to find a grave memorials without photos , being not the best source. In your case, if you tell me that your grandparents died and are buried somewhere, I'm going to believe you. Photo or no photo I know where my grandparents are buried also. That goes for other peoples parents and grandparents also. It's pretty much first hand knowledge.

That's correct Anne B. My earlier comments ONLY refer to Find a Grave. There is absolutely nothing wrong with first hand knowledge - sometimes first hand knowledge is all we have. I know where my parents and grandparents are buried but I have never bothered to take a photo. If I was going to post the Info on FIG then, personally, I would include a photo but that is just me. - the point of that websight appears to be to add a photo as they include a tab for just that. 

Dale, look at it this way, are you more likely to believe me if I just told you your GGparents were buried at cemetery X or if I told you and included a photo of the gravestone as proof.

All I'm saying is personally my confidence goes way up if i can see the proof as opposed to just reading or hearing about it. 

Sorry if you were offended by my comments it was not intentional. I just wanted to generate a discussion.

My BIG problem is there are too many people on here that are too worried about having their definition ov a "good" source being the only ones used and there are too many profiles on here that have NO sources. When we have less than 10% of the profiles site wide unsourced then we could spend the time picking and choosing what sources should be used, Until that time it is just a waste of time fighting about the value of any source.
Eugene my final comment on this thread is this, I have taken a photo of a grave marker for one of the profiles that I manage and I will tell you flat out that the birth date on there is wrong. I have records showing that this person was born in 1926 with 2 younger siblings listed in the 1930 census, one of them being only 1 year old at that time. In the 1940 census she is listed as being born in 1929 and her younger sister, is shown in the 1930 census and listed as bieing born in 1930 in the 1940 Census even though she had a younger brother in 1930. All of the information for the person who was born in 1926, including the headstone has the 1929 date. So even a photo would not make a Find A Grave memorial more accurate.
Headstones can be just as inaccurate as any other source because sometimes people simply don't know the correct information. Heck, even people didn't always know their exact birthdates and just estimated. One of our relatives was stunned when I showed her proof that her mother was born earlier that she'd always been told. People lie about their ages all the time. My own grandmother lied about her age because her employer would have forced retirement on her, so she said she was 10 years younger than she was. Today we have lots of documentation, that isn't always true of ancestors and often there is conflicting information, including in cemetery records.

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