Challenge of the Week: Investigate Find A Grave suggestions [closed]

+15 votes

Hi WikiTreers,

Will you join our Data Doctors Challenge for this week?

Aleš does something extraordinarily clever as part of his WikiTree+ data analysis: When a profile on WikiTree can be connected to a memorial on Find A Grave, the data here is compared with the data there. If there's a discrepancy, he alerts us to it.  

Sometimes Find A Grave has a birth date or location or a death date or location that's missing from WikiTree. These are golden nuggets for those of us who are obsessed with making profiles as complete as possible.  

This isn't mechanical, thoughtless work. This isn't like fixing typos. A genealogist needs to look at each one of these items and consider whether the information on Find A Grave is reliable. A lot of the information there isn't better than what we have here. Just like on WikiTree, the information on Find A Grave all comes from its members.  

Generally speaking, if there is a photo of the grave and you can see the information written in stone it's worth using. Even then, gravestones aren't always correct. If the gravestone is the source for a date, location, etc., make that clear in a source citation.

What do you say? Will you help us sift through the mountain looking for the golden nuggets? Here is the table of suggestions to investigate. 

Please post here to say you're participating. That helps avoid working on the same items at the same time, and gives us the opportunity to cheer each other on.  

Also post here if you have any questions. Find A Grave suggestions aren't as easy to use as some of the other types, so if you're not sure about something, just ask.  


P.S. Here's a tip: There is an easy way to put a link on a WikiTree profile to a Find A Grave memorial that will always work, even when Find A Grave changes their website (as they did recently). It's like this, where 1234 is the Find A Grave memorial number:  

== Sources ==  
<references />  
See also:  
* {{FindAGrave|1234}}


Top 10

closed with the note: Challenge is finished
asked in The Tree House by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
closed by Eowyn Langholf
I have just begun to come across Find a grave, been a member almost a year, but too busy with life to do as much as I would like. I have asked for memorials to be transferred to me with success, and also have run into a problem with someone that added my parents gravestone picture sideways! AND, she's not cooperating. I will likely have to write Provo, UT! Also as mentioned by others, it's only as good as the transcriber as well. One of my Cary Gr. grandfathers death date is 2 years off! I will try and remember to start considering adding the info to here.

Often a significant time elapses before a stone is erected.   The date may be based on the recollection of the purchaser.  I find many that don’t match the official death certificate. 

  •  Is the type of stone representative of the time period that the person died?  It could be a replacement stone or one erected by great-grandchildren.
  • Did one spouse die many years before the other?  That may be a clue that the first death date may be less accurate.
  • Of course some are not easily readable resulting in a transcription error.

I usually record all plausible dates with their source, including newspaper account, death certificate and grave stone – which may give you a calculated birth date which should be recorded as calculated birth date.  Which leads to a pet peeve, recording baptism date as birth date.  I remember an island family that had 6 or 7 children baptized on the same day.


I like your approach: 

I usually record all plausible dates with their source, including newspaper account, death certificate and grave stone – which may give you a calculated birth date which should be recorded as calculated birth date.

Can you point us to a good example of this as a template and suggest a standard way to do this here.  Which date do you choose for the Birth and Death dates in the recorded data and do you put all different sources in the text under headings?


If it is the only source I can find I will use it but I really like to have other sources to go with it.  Personal knowledge, newspaper, or some other connection.

If I have more than one plausible date, I would suggest putting most likely one in the person’s data sheet and check the about/uncertain button.   I there is a primary source then check the certain button.  A primary source can be wrong too.

 In the bio put all other dates with in-line sources:Calculated birth date 20 Mar 1858 {{FindAGrave|114442}} Baptized 05 Apr 1858 <Maine Births and Christenings, 1739-1900," database, FamilySearch ( : 10 February 2018)</ref>

Thank you for the example.  I like the find a grave shorthand and will use that in the future.  Is there a similar shorthand for the records?
I seems that the challenger tracker is not working.
It seems that the challenge tracker is not working at all it been an hour and it has not changed I know I have done more than 38 that was what it was at when I started at  9:00.
There will be templates for all mayor linked sites. But I will make them one at the time. First are existing ones.
A name on a tombstone does not necessarily mean that the person is actually buried there. When my aunt died, my uncle purchased a headstone and had both her name and his name inscribed on it. Her birth and death dates were also inscribed on the headstone, as well as his birth date (the thinking being that when he died his death date would be added). A year or two later, my uncle remarried, moved to another state, and when he died was buried next to his second wife. His name is now on two headstones.

15 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer
I added suggestions 841, 842, 843 and 848 to this week's challenge. Only FindAGrave related errors.

They are often connected to 571 error.
answered by Aleš Trtnik G2G6 Pilot (347k points)
added to sheet.

I also redesigned navigation between reports.

Nr of Statuses by User for week 20180211

Created: 15.02.2018 14:25:30 - Slovenian time

Reports By User By Suggestion By User and Suggestion Update frequency
Simple User Suggestion User and Suggestion 5 min
Detailed User Detailed Suggestion Detailed User and Suggestion Detailed 1 hour
By Day User by Day Suggestion by Day User and Suggestion by Day 1 hour
Total By Hour By Hour 1 hour
It seems that it is not working it said when I started at 9:00 at 38 and at 10:10 it is still 38 it has not moved at all and I know I have done more than 38.
They are working. I think you have to refresh the page (F5 on windows) I will see if it is possible to bypass that.
Ales I did that and it didn't work and it hasn't changed it has ever since I started that I have done 46 and I know it is more than that.
Linda L. Barnett - Barnett-3517 571 - FindAGrave - Link without Grave ID 56

user and suggestion
+4 votes

OOPS, I've been on the wrong one. spreadsheet instructions

Challenge Tracker Link.


In cases where the memorial was removed I've changed it to  the familysearch citation with a note the memorial is gone.

As far as the 586 merged profiles, is that actually an error? they merged the birth name into the historical name so they don't match but are the same people. Just add sameas=yes?

answered by Steven Tibbetts G2G6 Pilot (173k points)
edited by Steven Tibbetts
+4 votes
Hi! will participate, errors #571 Link without a Grave in the 1500-1699 slot.
answered by Bonnie Saunders G2G6 (7.3k points)
+3 votes
I will have a go at #586 - Done as much as I could find

Now working on #572
answered by Esmé van der Westhuizen G2G6 Mach 7 (79.5k points)
edited by Esmé van der Westhuizen
+4 votes
I've been working on Error # 571 for over a week now. Fixed a bunch. I will continue working 571 unless there is a greater need elsewhere.

If I would be best to work on another error (other than 571) please let me know.

Living to serve...

God Bless,

Jim G.
answered by James Greiner G2G Crew (970 points)
571's are fine James - thank you for your work on those profiles!
I spent the morning clearing the 15 Error 572's from this century. The Error 571's from this century (2) cannot be cleared. The profiles are locked and the manager is seemingly unresponsive.

I will go back to working 571 and / or 572 from the last century...
+3 votes
I'll work on 577 errors.
answered by Carolyn Martin G2G6 Pilot (123k points)
+3 votes
I would like to work of some profiles.
answered by SM Reaper G2G5 (5.8k points)
+3 votes


Not many people picking their cells.

answered by Steven Tibbetts G2G6 Pilot (173k points)
I colored mine in - just started a little while ago :D
I selected a time period on a challenge a few weeks back, but found a bunch of other people were working on them too.  I just gave up and don't use that spreadsheet anymore.  I just start down a list, and when I bump into someone else's work, I just jump down the list 10 or so until I find some that have't been done and proceed on.
Part of that is people that do them by location, part is people doing 1 error and while there correcting all errors, and part is people not using the sheet or letting anyone know so we end up working the same areas. If people here gave an error and date range I would transfer it over. If they only give an error I won't block out the whole thing.
Me too, Carolyn.  There's plenty to do without fiddling with extra open tabs.
nobody said you had to leave it open unless you wanted to chat. I honestly didn't think putting a spot of color in a cell would be considered that complicated. It was an attempt to make it easier for us to work together instead of against each other. And saying it didn't work 100% for you now means you are going to make it LESS effective for others?

I'm just gonna stop because any further and someone will think I'm trying to insult them. :( (sigh)
Okay... I'm going to admit my ignorance, in the hope of getting help that will help us all reduce confusion...

I don't know how to "claim" or "mark" an error and era to indicate I am working on it...

Help me please...

The spreadsheet is on Google. On the 'Weekly Challenge' tab is a list of the errors suggestions for that week. You can color in the cell you are working on (i.e. 574 FindAGrave - Imprecise birth date, 1700-1799) using the paint bucket at the top. You can get to that list by clicking on the number in the cell (i.e. that 574 suggestion has 1536 profiles. Click on the 1536). You can close the sheet out and work, or open again if you want to use chat for a question. Or - you can post here in the G2G what suggestion (plus location or time period) you are working on, and Steven marks it on the sheet for you. So that we know someone is working on that section.


Thanks Much. Found it.

Please bear with me as I learn...

Couple more questions:

1) Any significance to the color(s) used to mark a block of errors?

2) Do I need to identify myself in some way, and if so, how?

3) Does the link in your comment stay the same or does it change, and if it changes, where does it live?

I'm keeping hands off until I know I can proceed without causing any problems...

Thanks again.

Jim G.
Personal preference. Be colorful but try to avoid dark colors that hide the text. If you keep the same color then we know how much you do. Think christmas tree. :D
No color preference. Just light colors that don’t block out text. No need to identify: we’re just trying to find a way not to ‘bump’ into one another. Once you bookmark Data Doctors spread sheet, or have Steven add you in and bookmark - you are ready to go!

Welcome to collaboration Data Doctor style!
+2 votes
The new suggestion report does not appear to acknowledge the template {{FindAGrave|1234|sameas=no}}.  Is this not a valid template to use?
answered by Elizabeth Coltrane G2G6 Mach 1 (12.4k points)
it is but the useage is for mention on a relative's memorial. those bottom 4 green lines on the left of the sheet show them and explain them.
I don't think you are understanding my question or I'm not understanding your answer?  Why am I receiving 'suggestions' when I AM using the template for the relative's memorial?  I've used them on many profiles and now they are all showing up on my suggestions list - as an error- I presume?
+3 votes
I will work on the #585 errors in the 1900-1999 block.
answered by Susan Hughes G2G6 (9.7k points)
I magenta'd you on the sheet
Thanks Steven!
+3 votes
Sure!  I'm super busy but better late than never.  I'll take a look at #576 in the later years.
answered by Susan DeFoe G2G6 (6.7k points)
Gave you light red berry 2 for 1900-1999
+2 votes
Collen and Steven are correct. I am in for this challenge.
answered by Linda Barnett G2G6 Pilot (255k points)
+4 votes
I'll give it a go, I'm searching that area a lot as it is, and fixing things
answered by Joann Copeman G2G Crew (440 points)
+4 votes
I'm in. Spent yesterday on my own profiles - fixing or explaining briefly why FindAGrave is wrong. I'll work on errors #572 for the 1800s.

Case in point - The gravestone for one of my ancestors only had his name and the year he died. A while back I asked one FindAGrave member about the detailed - and incorrect - information he had posted in that ancestor's memorial. He told me that he often got additional information from Ancestry family trees. I explained about the notoriously inaccurate family trees on that site. Some are great, but others.... He said he understood and corrected my ancestor's memorial. But I doubt he went back to others he had posted.
answered by Beverly Benfer G2G6 (8.1k points)
edited by Beverly Benfer
I gave you light orange on the sheet.
+2 votes
Go ahead and count me in (I know I am late to the party).

578, 1900-1999
answered by Steven Harris G2G6 Pilot (138k points)

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