Monday, May 30, 2022

Why I'm Staying with FindaGrave

Despite the many criticisms of, I'm sticking with it. 

There are valid criticisms, to be sure, as this post by "Legal Genealogist" Judy Russell shows. Rather than throw the baby out with the bath water and stop participating because some volunteers misuse FindaGrave, I'm choosing the other path. 

I'm doubling down to improve the memorials of ancestors and in-laws in my family tree and my husband's family tree. 

The site, now owned by Ancestry, is completely free and available worldwide. 

Not every cemetery on the planet is represented, and certainly not every burial site or columbarium. 

Still, FindaGrave has long been a convenient site for me to memorialize ancestors, link relatives to other family members, and create virtual cemeteries so I can share with my own family. It's genealogy but it's also a whole lot more.

On Memorial Day and Veterans' Day, I like to leave virtual flowers or flags on the  memorial pages of ancestors (mine and hubby's) who served in the military, honoring their memory and service. 

Above, three generations of my husband's Larimer cousins who served their country, one in the Union Army, one in World War I, and one in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

All were memorialized on FindaGrave by other volunteers who took the time to photograph grave stones and list the names. Picking up from there, other volunteers (including me) have linked these men to their spouses, parents, and children, and in some cases, written bite-sized bios to add more detail about their lives. 

In my view, virtual memorials help keep alive the names of these ancestors and make info about their burial places (and their lives) discoverable for anyone doing a search. 

For me, this is a great way to share family history now and to publicly show my respect for those who came before me. That's why I'm staying with FindaGrave, despite the ongoing and quite valid criticisms and definite need for improvement. I will also add my voice to the chorus letting Ancestry know about the need to take action and address misuse of its FindaGrave platform.


  1. Good for you! You have fantastic reasons behind why you use FindaGrave, and the reasons all seem to do you well! I usually only use it if the info was added by the cemetery or someone who actually took the time to walk the cemetery to add headstone info, along with the cemtery info and/or photograph the headstone. I have tried for years to have my family's info corrected, to no avail, and I notice that way too many entries created by individuals are incorrect, and sometimes very incorrect. I did not now that Ancestry now "owns" FindaGrave; thanks for the heads up. :)

  2. I agree. It's awful when unrelated people claim 'ownership' of your relative (I had a client go through that), but for far-flung relatives, like our Continental Europe lines, it's a real lifeline to connection. Hopefully if enough folks stick with it, we'll improve it for everyone.

  3. I completely agree with your thoughts on Find a Grave. Although I am not as active on the site as I once was, I still submit family information to connect siblings and parents, etc. Everything evolves, it seems, and I am thankful Ancestry did not entirely alter the site, or put it behind their pay wall...

  4. I agree with you, especially your last sentence.

  5. I'm not sure I agree. While I find Find a Grave very useful, if we just say "I'm going to continue using it unchanged", we do nothing to discourage the ghoulish and disgusting behavior of the minority of people who are more interested about their stats and sense of entitlement, than in what Find a Grave was created for. I wish you had led with your last comments, and expanded on that. If we can get rid of that appalling behavior, we can use Find a Grave in good conscience. For the next while I'm staying away as otherwise I am condoning and encouraging Ancestry's lack of action. And of course, we should all contact Ancestry about their atrocious policies.

    1. Thanks very much for your comments. Find a Grave must change and quickly, we definitely agree!

  6. I am staying. I mainly put together the "lost soldiers" on the site with their parents and families. This is after I have added birthdates etc that the original posters did not. Most of my work is with Canada's war dead. My hope is someone in the families will come to the site looking for family and discover they have someone remembered at Vimy in France or elsewhere.