Tag Archives: FindaGrave.com

What to do when Shaky Leaf gives 2 FindaGrave.com records for 1 person

Even with the best search techniques it is possible to miss finding a person in FindaGrave.com: the spelling could be a touch off, the place the next state over, the date incorrect. Ideally there should be only one record per individual unless there is a cenotaph. (This is one of the things I love about FindaGrave -one record per person means that there are many people contributing to a single record instead of each person working independently and many records existing separately.) So duplicates do exist, BUT, we can help reduce the number of duplicates by reporting them to be merged.

Here is a screen shot of a Shaky Leaf Search for Croner Meletus Hess (my 3rd cousin 3x removed) that shows two records existing in FindaGrave.com:

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 5.54.24 PM

I clicked on each one and then clicked on ‘Go To Website’. This opened both pages up in Safari and I can CAREFULLY compare them to MAKE SURE that they are the same person.

I then open Mail and create a new email msg to info@FindaGrave.com with subject: Please combine two memorials. I then copy/paste the URL for each onto separate lines in the email and send it.

Next I want to record BOTH FindaGrave.com memorial numbers in my custom FindaGrave Memorial ID fact field separated with a semicolon. That way I can search for records that have a semicolon and make sure they were combined.

I glean all of the info that I can from both the memorials and add it into my FTM record.

Next I want to go ahead and source one of the Shaky Leaf FindaGrave records. I usually pick the oldest record or which one has the most accurate info. I will do a separate post on how I Create a Source for FindaGrave.com with a video.

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Where is that FindaGrave record on Ancestry.com?

Adding a brand new FindaGrave.com record is kind of like finding cookies in the cookie jar! Frustration can turn into reward when you do a thorough search for an individual and can’t find even a close match. Now you get to add a brand new record yourself. Fun!

Fast forward a bit. I am currently working on documenting all of my FindaGrave.com records using Ancestry.com Shaky Leaves. Sometimes the Shaky Leaf doesn’t show a FindaGrave record. I know there is one because I store the unique FindaGrave.com memorial numbers in a custom fact field for easy reference. I discovered the reason why by reading great blogs, like GeneaMusings.com. It turns out that Ancestry Updates their databases periodically. So that means that although I have added the record to FindaGrave.com, it won’t show up at Ancestry.com until they update their records. Ah yes, the hurry up and wait. I now mark my FindaGrave memorial numbers with the date I added them so that I can match them up with the Ancestry Updated Databases and see just when I can document that source.

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How many FindaGrave Matches Do You Have?

I have been a member of FindaGrave.com for about 5 years now. I created a Fact to hold FaG Memorial #s and saved the numbers for each match I found. In the beginning I didn’t worry about documenting FindaGrave and I’m kinda glad I didn’t cuz then Ancestry purchased FindaGrave and added their records to Ancestry.com. This meant that I could use Shaky Leaves to find FindaGrave records and add them easily. The only problem? I have 10,289 records to document! I really didn’t realize how many I had found but was thrilled, and I have been working hard, using Shaky Leaves to document each one. I have about 1,000 left to do. And yes, I do each one separately so that there is a record for each individual. While I am at it, I am also merging birth/death/ssn records. I am overlooking census records for now but will come back to them later. I am focusing on individual records right now.

How many FindaGrave matches have you found?

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How To Take Pictures of Tombstones (Updated)

Pictures of tombstones are a wonderful because they preserve the info indefinitely. Tombstones are worn away a bit each and every day and eventually become unreadable or even destroyed. I volunteer for FindaGrave.com and visit local cemeteries as often as time/weather permit. You should try it. It gets you out and about for a bit of fresh air and exercise as well as helping other genealogists that live across the country and cannot visit their families graves. When I go I try to canvas an entire cemetery instead of just those that I am looking for. Usually a lot of the pics have already been taken so you only need to work on those that aren’t added already or don’t have pics.

Here are some tips:

  1. Plan the time-of-day you will visit. You don’t want the sun shining in your camera – behind or overhead is best. The direction that most of the graves face is also a factor.
  2. Things to take with you:
    1. Smartphone with FindaGrave App.
    2. Whisk broom for sweeping off pebbles, leaves and the like.
    3. Small shears for cutting back grass from edges.
    4. Gloves if you like.
    5. Hat or sunshade.
    6. Sunscreen if needed.
    7. Large sheets of paper for making rubbings – only if allowed.
    8. Chalk for rubbing on top of the paper – only if allowed. Some graves are crumbly and even this method can damage them. It is wise to get permission.
  3. Be careful!
    1. Some cemeteries are a bit ‘squishy’. I try not to walk on the actual graves if possible.
    2. Here in Georgia there are wild pigs in the woods and one must always be on the lookout.
    3. Leaves make good hiding places for snakes so if there are a lot of leaves you will want to come back in the winter or with a leaf blower.
  4. Plan! Take an overall look at the cemetery and make a plan. Start in a corner and work your way around. Many times I have had to stop working and it is nice when you can return and start right where you left off.
  5. Taking pictures:
    1. Clean up by trimming any grass, removing gravel, etc. Be careful not to remove any rocks/pebbles that were intensionally placed. Many people leave a pebble when they visit.
    2. Set any flowers that obscure writing to the side – be sure to replace them exactly as they were!
    3. Get as close as you can to the tombstone or zoom in. You want to get a good clear shot so that the entire tombstone is in the picture. Remember those family pics where the head was cut off in the pic? Same thing applies here. People want to see the entire tombstone. If the writing isn’t close enough then take another close-up shot of just the writing. If there is a plot or a family plot it is nice to take a pic of that too.
    4. Squat down so that you are level with the writing.
    5. If one person is still living you can protect their privacy by only taking a pic of the deceased person’s half.
    6. If a tombstone is illegible and you have permission, make a rubbing.
    7. Make note of husband/wife/family names so that you can link them up later. Also note anything of interest. If a tombstone is hard to read, write the info down.
  6. If you leave before you are finished make a note of your stopping place. Usually the names of the graves on either side suffice but noting large trees, bushes, etc. help too.

Happy hunting!

Update: FindaGrave also has some info on the subject on their FAQs page see the Cemetery Preservation links.

Here is a link to what looks like a great book on the subject at Google Books.

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