FindAGrave Can Hold Off on the Recently Deceased

rant alert: If this post about FindAGrave offends you, please unfollow, unlike, as appropriate. Do not message me in an attempt to change my opinion.

My father passed away the morning of 7 March 2020. Unlike my Mother’s passing, it was sudden and not expected.

We split the duties of notifying various relatives as our immediate family is small. Sometime early that afternoon when I had completed notifying everyone on my share of the “needs personal contact list,” I wrote a draft of Dad’s obituary and created a FindAGrave memorial for him. I knew where he would be buried. The cemetery location was not a problem. We had not finalized any arrangements, but I knew enough details to create a shell of a memorial on FindAGrave.

A few days later, I went to add his obituary to his FindAGrave memorial and someone had already added suggestions to it. His picture was not immediately posted on the funeral home website (it took us a while to choose it) and at some point before the funeral someone added that to his FindAGrave memorial as well.

All before he was actually buried.

Can’t you people just wait a God-damned minute?

Can’t you people just wait a God-damned hour?

Or, heaven forbid, wait a week or two?

Please do not tell me these people mean well or it’s something to do to occupy their time. You can read the obituaries a month late. It’s not a race to see who has the most memorials on FindAGrave although I suppose that is something these people will want on their own FindAGrave page when they pass.

The only reason I created the page the day he died was because of “well-meaning” obituary creepers who create FindAGrave pages for the recently deceased and then make it difficult for family members to become administrators of their FindAGrave memorials. There’s no reason for anyone to create a page that fast for someone who recently died. You can wait a month. Seriously you can.

And Ancestry.com, can’t you find a way to “turn off” suggested modifications to FindAGrave pages that have been created for the recently deceased? Or do you just simply not want to? Odd how you can do all that high-falutin’ programming for the DNA analysis, and yet are unable to figger this sort of thing out.

While I’m frustrated about the way FindAGrave handles memorials for the recently deceased, there’s an important thing to remember. The people who really mattered at the time Dad passed were either those who were at the funeral or communicated with my family during that time. It was not a FindAGrave contributor.

If that sounds a little harsh, so be it.

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31 thoughts on “FindAGrave Can Hold Off on the Recently Deceased

  1. Bless you for this post! I cannot tell you how difficult it was to correct misinformation someone posted about a family member that they did not even know. I have had some wonderful people that walked a cemetery creating generic records that then quickly transferred them to me when they were contacted. So, Find A Grave is definitely a mixed blessing. As with most things, there are those who work really hard to provide us with the information and those that just get in the way and make it difficult for family members.

    I really appreciate all of your articles and all of your information.

  2. I totally agree and love your newly coined term “obituary creepers.” It is a sad commentary about today’s society that grieving families have to think about Find-a-Grave’s memorials as soon as someone passes away. Judy Russell also wrote about this not all that long ago. It seems the admins at Find-a-Grave don’t seem to care.

    • Yes she did–not long before my Dad passed if I remember correctly. There would seem to be some way that they could handle this issue in a way that was sensitive to the family and the need to have the site be as complete as possible.

  3. I cannot agree with you more. Last year when my aunt died, and my uncle is extremely private, I added her Find A Grave and immediately transferred it to her son and daughter in law so someone else couldn’t seize control. They put a one sentence in the bio that said “Please do not submit edits. The family will update this as we see fit.” and within days, they were not only getting edits and pictures posted from old year books, but one Find A Grave Cretin even sent a threatening note that essentially said “Find A Grave rules do not give you the ability to tell people not to submit edits.” People need to get an effing clue. Let families mourn, stop threatening people for not upgrading the information of the memorial if they are mourning. These gravers need a life of their own.

    • Oh, how sad it made me to read the responses made to the family!! I don’t understand how some people can be so unsympathetic!!

  4. Hear, hear!

    I created an unfinished memorial page for my dad when he entered Hospice care last October for this very reason. It was traumatic, but it would have been even more so if I had to deal with a FindAGrave numbers collector creating one in my stead.

    I suppose I should create an unfinished one for my mother as well, although I don’t foresee her imminent death at the moment. With COVID-19 lurking, however, it just might be a good idea. 🙁

    • Hmm, do you realize you’re ONLY supposed to create an “unfinished” (aka pre-need) memorial for yourself IF you have a marker installed in a cemetery?

  5. Totally agree with you. Give family time to grieve, and let them after a time do a FindAGrave listing of person, and also go by the wishes of the family regarding editing/adding info (as said above). 🙁 🙁

  6. Sorry to read your father passed. Ours did also unexpectedly. Thankfully you have the knowledge to take of the FindAGrave business, before others. Sad to have so say that, and re funeral, obits..ect.

  7. Peggy L Lauritzen says:

    Someone we know created a memorial for our son before we even knew where we would be burying him. They know us! They know of my profession as a genealogist! Did they think this is something I wouldn’t take care of? It’s been over ten years, and there are still two memorials for him.

  8. An awful find a grave member was nasty and unresponsive to me about my grandmother’s listing. This person is one of the top Find A Grave contributors. He is not related to my extended family in any way. He is clearly there to get his twisted glory over being a top contributor. I spent months fighting with him to make edits and transfer my grandmother’s listing to me. It was a very upsetting process. Something clearly needs to be done to not add grief to families. Close family members should be given ownership of the Find A Grave listing when asked.

    • I had the same thing happen and the man refused to take my mother’s memorial down ,and/ transfer it to me til sent him her obituary , which I had not completely written yet.
      I was with my Mother holding her hand when she past .
      I’ve argued over this for years when my father died.
      Mom had his /their gravestone set and within 2 days of that it appeared on his memorial before I could take my own photo..and the jerk had the audacity to add a memorial for my mother who was clearly alive
      Families have so much to do for a funeral that they don’t have time to make a memorial
      There should be at least a 2 week waiting period

    • You didn’t have to spend months fighting with him. If they are within the 4 generations and that person was not a closer relative, then they have to transfer to you. Otherwise you contact FindAGrave and they will do it.

  9. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your father and especially to have it compounded by the insensitivity of the Find-a-Grave trolls. I agree that Ancestry needs to do something about this. It is criminal that one needs to be concerned about this when in a time of mourning.

  10. When my father died, someone created the memorial for him before I even had a chance to think about it, much less do so. It was like a punch in the gut when I finally was able to sit down to create it and saw that it was already there. The person did transfer it to me immediately, but it was still upsetting because I wanted to create the memorial and I should not have had to ask. I also didn’t want her name on it as the original creator which is what happened. I know it really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but like you said, can people not even wait? This person had created it from funeral home obituary and it had not even appeared in the newspaper at that point and my father had not even yet been buried. When I complained on the Facebook Find A Grave group, some people understood and agreed with me; however, many others disagreed and tried to say that it wasn’t about the numbers and that it was a hobby for some people, and they were just being helpful. Well, I still think it’s about numbers and, I am sorry, but I think people who scour the obituaries and funeral home sites in order to create memorials before people are even buried and before loved ones catch a breath from their grieving are insensitive, cold ghouls. First, the number of memorials created, the number of pictures added, and any other number count that is on there should be removed. They are not needed. It isn’t a contest. Second, instead of just transferring a memorial of a recently deceased loved one, those ghoulish creators should be made to delete their created memorial so that the loved one can then create their own. Yes, I know the same information is going to be there, but it is the principle of the matter. I am so sorry you had to experience that in your time of grief. Hopefully though, with enough well known genealogy people starting to complain, something might get done about it.

  11. Mary Butash says:

    My son died in a sudden freak accident three and a half years ago. We carefully crafted his obituary and published it in a local newspaper. Only weeks later I found it published on Find a Grave. It was like a punch to my gut! I would have put it up but I needed time. It was not possible to make my pain worse at the time but the shock was immense. It was someone from my own genealogical society who thought he was helping, I guess. He didn’t.

  12. As a long time contributor of Find A Grave, I can honestly say this blog and the responses thus far reveal an overwhelming lack of understanding of what Find A Grave is (why it exists) and the very nature of the site. Perhaps that explains why you are frustrated and angry with a site that is working exactly as it is intended.

    • There’s absolutely no reason to post information from obituaries the day there are posted. There are plenty of long-dead people who have no memorials on FindAGrave. Posting information on them would provide more of a service to the genealogical community at large than posting information readily available online for recently deceased individuals.

      FindAGrave’s original mission (which I’ve long been aware of) was posting images of tombstones in cemeteries for those who could not view the stones in person. That mission was great. It’s mission has morphed into something else.

      • Actually, the site’s original purpose was to showcase Jim Tipton’s hobby of visiting famous graves.
        The site’s mission is to “find, record and present final disposition information from around the world.” It is not to provide a service to the genealogical community at large. It is not intended to serve as an extension of a family tree.
        It is a collaborative website. Meaning if you manage memorials, you must expect to receive edits and accept that others can add photos and tokens to those memorials.

        • Yes. Graves. Graves are usually there after people have actually been buried.

          I’m aware of the original purpose of finding famous graves.

          I’m not arguing about this. I fail to understand why a memorial needs to be created by someone immediately upon seeing a death notice.

          And if the site’s purpose is not to provide genealogical information why are there links to parent/sibling/child memorials? That has nothing to do with the individual’s individual memorial.

          • There’s that misunderstanding of the site again. It’s known final disposition rather than “graves”. When the final disposition is known, a memorial can be created.

            Links to family members aren’t required – a memorial is perfectly complete if it identifies the person and the disposition. Everything else is a “bonus”.

            Have you ever checked out Ancestry’s true memorialization site WeRemember, which is also free. Not only that, you don’t have to abide by those pesky rules regarding what to include or exclude in a bio (like the names of survivors) or put up with other people submitting edits!

          • I’m going to repeat myself: For some the accumulation of submitted memorials is a game.

            There’s no reason for a non-family member to submit a memorial when the person has not yet been buried. No reason at all.

            For some, FindAGrave has turned into a contest to see who can have the most memorials and who can submit them fastest.

            Bonus or not, FindAGrave has moved beyond the original mission and the mission of the site.

            My complaint was with those who rush to submit the memorial as soon as they can–whether they have any connection to the person, the cemetery, or the general area. There’s no reason that there can’t be a delay for the submission of recent burials. If there’s a rush to enter deaths, then it appears that FindAGrave is morphing into an online version of the US Social Security Death Index, which it’s not.

          • Michael, memorials have been being created as soon as death was made public for as long as the site has been open to public usage (rather than only the webmaster being able to add to it). Tell me, the day you created the memorial for your father, who many other memorials were created for people who had not yet been buried? Probably thousands, as approximately 7000 people die a day in the U.S. How many of them were complained about? Probably none. Because the vast majority of the population have never heard of Find A Grave or they don’t care. We hear about it because those like you and Judy Russell have a platform. You’re not making waves about someone creating the memorial for your father – you’re ranting because someone submitted edits on a site that is crowd-sourced. Do you see the problem with that?

            Actually, Find A Grave is very similar to the SSDI. SSDI is a database of deaths. Find A Grave is a database of known final dispositions.

            Saying “there is no reason” is like a petulant child plugging their ears. You’ve closed your mind to anything other than what you want to hear.

          • You overestimate the number of people who visit this site.

            I hear complaints about the speed with which individuals post memorials for the recently deceased all the time.

            I’m not saying others shouldn’t edit this “crowd-sourced” site, I’m saying it doesn’t have to be before the person is buried. Edits can wait a reasonable amount of time after the person has passed. That’s all. FindAGrave is not a news site.

            I’m not petulant. I’ve made up my mind.

        • Do shut up. Ancestry bought it. Why would that be? Maybe because GENEALOGISTS USE AND CONTRIBUTE TO IT? Could it be that the purpose of the site has expanded over time? People like you give me the red ass. Truly.

          • Shut up? Seriously?
            Ancestry bought it six and a half years ago and did not change the stated purpose of the site. They totally recoded the site and did not change the stated purpose. They re-did the FAQs and did not change the stated purpose. When Footnote was purchased by Ancestry, they changed the purpose of the site to focus just on military records. What do those things tell you?
            Genealogists do use the site but they are by no means the ones. The site attracts a myriad of interests such as military historians, taphophiles, local historians, tv and movie fans, royalty watchers, religious historians, sports fans, folk art enthusiasts and more!
            I guess I shouldn’t be surprised your comment containing profanity made it through the “moderation” and yet, I am. There was a time when I thought the genealogical community was respectful and courteous. These and other conversations have changed that opinion.

          • It’s my site and I’ll allow a little profanity if I so choose. Any one who is bothered by that can simply not comment.

        • Ah yes, the condescending “you don’t understand what Find A Grave is” argument to justify causing hurt. People are not names, people are not graves, people are not collections and Find a Grave shows the final resting place of actual, real-life, loved and still impactful PEOPLE. When, in our great quest to collect information, we hurt others— we must not be complacent with that. Your personal ability to disconnect feelings and humanity from the issue does not justify the actions that take place there. The collectors, the obituary chasers, the puppet masters of our deceased loved ones and their memories. There is a problem at Find a Grave and those who see it as their playground. There is a problem with any attitude that justifies hurting the living so one can get their fix of getting to be the first to share information that wasn’t their’s to share. Give it a month. Give it a year. The deceased will still be there and for heavens sake don’t create a memorial for a deceased child who has parents still living. Do your research, collectors.

  13. God bless you and your family. I’m so sorry for your loss.
    When my Mom died unexpectedly, four years ago, I was forced to create a memorial that very day because of this nonsense. I didn’t want anyone else to create MY mother’s memorial (unless it was one of my siblings).
    I am beyond sick of this incredible insensitivity.
    Enough is truly enough!!!!
    Rules MUST be put in place now.

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