Monday, July 18, 2011

Adopting Grave Memorials

Recently, I’ve been “adopting” gravesite memorials at Find A Grave.  There are lots of generous people out there who have uploaded whole cemetery’s worth of memorials, including those of many who are strangers to them.  We can show our appreciation by adopting the memorials of our ancestors.

When adopting a memorial, the current custodian needs a few pieces of information:  your name, your Find A Grave id (accounts are free), and your relationship to the person whose memorial you want to adopt.

The best way to request a transfer is to do the following:
  1. From the particular memorial page, click on the Edit tab near the top.
  2. Click on the “Suggest a correction or provide additional information” link.  This brings up an e-mail entry form.
  3. Provide the needed information:  your relationship to the person of the memorial, your name, your Find A Grave id number.
  4. Click on the “Send This Message” button.
Here’s a sample e-mail text that has worked well for me:

If you are not a relative of John Parker, who was my 2nd great grandfather, I would love to take over responsibility for the memorial.

Your name here
From one memorial to the next, the only thing you would need to change are the parts in italics:  the name of the person memorialized and their relationship to you.
If you’re adopting multiple memorials, it is polite to send a message for each memorial.  Asking someone to do something like “transfer all of the Perrymans in the Oaklawn Cemetery” places a burden on the current custodian and should be avoided.
Sometimes you will find that the memorial is already maintained by a relative.  When that happens, you can get excited – you have just found a distant cousin.  I recommend contacting them via e-mail and sharing your connection.  You’ll likely receive a timely, equally excited, response.
Here are some graves that I have recently adopted:

By adopting memorials on Find A Grave, you can take ownership for the accuracy and completeness of the information online, and long lost cousins may also find you some day.

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