I’ve used FindAGrave memorials for hundreds of relatives throughout my research (generally only for tombstone image). I don’t contact every submitter for every photograph or every memorial creator. There simply isn’t time. While I do appreciate the work of those who have taken pictures (and I’ve taken some myself), it does not seem like a good use of time (mine or theirs) to communicate with every person who has taken a picture of the stone of a relative. I don’t communicate with everyone who may have indexed a record on FamilySearch either.
There are times when I do reach out to the memorial administrator or to someone who has submitted a photograph or information on FindAGrave:
- when I want to use the photograph on my blog or in some other way besides being buried in my digital files
- when an actual family photograph has been submitted to the memorial–many times these are submitted by relatives and this can be a great way to reach out to potential relatives
- when I’m “really stuck” on the relative whose memorial I have found and I’m hoping that the submitter may know something more about the cemetery, the cemetery’s records, the area in general, etc.–I’ve received more information (including newspaper clippings) that way.
My initial email–particularly if I think the person is a relative–is usually short and intended to find out if the address is still valid and to gauge the person’s interest. I don’t send a 5,000 word email listing all the family’s information and exploits. That can wait until later.
Even if you think you “know everything” about a certain ancestor, consider looking at their page on FindAGrave. You may be surprised at what you find.