1) Harold Henderson, certified genealogist, has a great blog poat on why you should always try and get the original marriage record and not rely on an index. I have talked about this before but Harold's post is a great reminder. Please take a look at Marriage Records and Indexes: Choose the Original.
2) When you send me a question I send a response via email right away. Your question will appear on the blog for all to see at a later time. Sometimes I hold questions and then bring them out in blogs on specific topics. I just wanted to let you know that you won't have to wait for your answer.
3) Today is Marian Pierre-Louis's much anticipated Legacy Webinar, Ten Brick Wall Tips for Intermediate Researchers. Marian's webinar last year on Ten Brick Wall Tips for Beginning Researchers was a smash hit. The webinar is at 2pm EST today (17 Oct 2012). It is free but you do have to register. There is a 2000 person limit for the webinar and I will tell you now that a lot more people than that will be trying to get in so you need to join the webinar early. If you don't get it don't worry, the webinar will be archived for free for 10 days and you can watch it whenever you want to. After that it will be put on CD and offered for sale. You don't want to miss this.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming:
Someone posted something very disturbing on the Edgefield County, SC mailing list at Rootsweb. This is copied and pasted from the publicly available archives on Rootsweb:
"It came to my attention, at the last meeting of the Nevada State Genealogical Society that some tombstones found on Find-A-Grave, may not really exist. The wife of one of the Society members received a message through Ancestry that there was a tombstone at FAG for someone in her family tree. When she checked, there was a tombstone for her husband's great-grandfather. They had visited the grave in a San Francisco cemetery at Colma, and knew the grave had no tombstone. He called the cemetery, they confirmed the grave had no tombstone. He wrote to the submitter who was only willing to provide general information as to the location and finally stopped answering his e-mails. This individual has a website that offers find-a-tombstone service for a fee. The image did not correspond to the location of the grave, although the information on the fake tombstone was correct, it was incomplete. This and other clues indicate the tombstone itself was Photo Shopped.
Another member told about tombstones in FAG for a cemetery in Virginia City, Nevada, where someone has posted photos of actual graves, along with biographical information and photos of the dead person. The problem is the biography is fiction and the photos are those of other people and were copied from the collection in the local historical society. My advice is to be very careful of the information you find on Find-A-Grave, and give it the same kind of scrutiny you should give any other genealogical information you find on the web."
Call me naïve but I would have never suspected that people were photoshopping tombstone pictures for profit. I am sure that this is very isolated but still.
I thought I would point out a couple of other problems on Find-A-Grave that you should be aware of. Before I go into that, I want to say that I think Find-A-Grave is wonderful. I have been a volunteer photographer for almost 3 years. I have had many of my own requests fulfilled by other photographers. However, there are just a couple of things you need to watch out for.
Always look at the photograph. Blow it up if you need to. Sometimes the dates the person inputted into the memorial do not match what is actually on the marker. It is a simple data entry error. People will also add things that aren't on the marker like full dates when only the years are inscribed or full names when only initials are inscribed. If your ancestor has a memorial but no photo you need to request one. Seeing the marker yourself is more credible than relying on a cemetery surveyor.
Many times people will add extra info to the memorial including biographies, links to other family members, obituaries etc. Remember not to take this as gospel. If they transcribed the obituary you need to find it in the paper yourself or you will never know if the transcription is accurate. Don't believe the family links on face value either because they could easily be in error.
Copyright © 2012 Michele Simmons Lewis