While a number of bloggers and other reviewers have posted about some of the major changes to Find-A-Grave’s recent update, I stumbled across a couple of things that haven’t been mentioned too often.
First, Find-A-Grave now limits you to one flower/memorial/day. Prior to the update, the FAQs restricted flowers to one/day for any memorial. However, it was possible to leave more than one. In general, unless you were doing it excessively or repeatedly, a person can do it. After the update, you can only place one flower/memorial/day. I believe it is a 24 hour limit instead of a simple once/day. If you go to https://www.findagrave.com/list-faqs?faqkeyword=Flowers, and click the third item, it shows the limit.
Limit flowers to no more than one flower per memorial per day.
Should you try to add a second flower before the clock resets, you get the following message:
You can only add one flower per day to any given memorial
The next little known change involves the Nickname field. The FAQs used to make it clear nicknames weren’t to be added if the nickname was a first or middle name.
Memorial Naming Conventions: Non-famous Memorials
If a hyphen or an apostrophe is part of the name, use the punctuation. Use a period after names where only an initial is known. If the full name is known, use the full name and not the initial. Do not use any other punctuation within any Name Field. Do not use Full capitalization (ALL-CAPS) in any Name Field. Suffixes, Prefixes, Titles, or honorary do not belong in any Name Field.
First name of the deceased. Put the entire first name (if known), even if the grave marker is only an initial. Do not include titles or other prefixes in the First Name field.
Middle name of deceased. Put the entire middle name (if known), even if the grave marker is only an initial.
A familiar name of the deceased, if known; the nickname is automatically placed in quotes. A nickname is different from the real name (first or middle).
Maiden name of a married individual, if known (otherwise leave blank); the maiden name is automatically italicized and is only used if the individual was married and took the spouse’s last name as their new last name. If the deceased was never married, then the last name is placed in the Last Name field, NOT in the Maiden Name field.
Last Name as you would find it on the tombstone, if the interred had more than one marriage or other possible spellings, place this information in the bio and use the family links. Do not include honorary or other suffixes in the Last Name field.
Memorial Naming Conventions: Famous Memorials
Famous entries are to be listed under the name by which the person became well-known. For example, Archibald Leach is listed under his well-known name Cary Grant.
In my mother’s case, she went by her middle name most of her life. However, her headstone issued by the V.A. has her name using First Name Middle Initial Last Married Name. I did not change the memorial to add her middle name as nickname. Under the old system, I could add it as a nickname even though I would have violated the FAQs to do so. I didn’t add it as a nickname because I do my best to follow the FAQs although it can be hard keeping up with the changes as often as some of the FAQs change.
Now, if you try and add a first or middle name as nickname, it won’t let you and you get this message:
The Nickname cannot be the same as the First Name or Middle Name
It will be interesting to see how they address nicknames from the old system that are first or middle names. Easiest solution would be to run a clean-up program that removes nicknames that are the same as first or middle name.
If anybody runs across something that hasn’t been mentioned by me about changes resulting from the last update, please let me know.
Another change was the possible duplicate memorial when you add a memorial to a cemetery. It isn’t perfect as it looks at name and appears to ignore birth/death date which can be a mixed blessing. I don’t recall seeing anybody reporting this yet, but I think it has been mentioned in some Facebook groups.
We might already have this memorial. We found 1 matching memorial for Person X in Fill in the Blank Cemetery.
I changed the name of the person and cemetery in the above attempt. If you realize, it is not a match, then choose Add Memorial. You have to be careful because sometimes the person didn’t add a birth date or they got birth and/or death dates wrong. I ran across this recently as the person added somebody with a death date that was in the future so they changed the birth and death years to get around the death date supposedly happening almost half a year after the memorial was added.
Another change is the addition of Male and Female for Gender, but being an optional field instead of a required field. I expect a few will wrongly add gender based solely on name or what appears to be a maiden name. While maiden name is often shown on headstones inside ( ), I have often seen nicknames using ( ) and some maiden names using ” “. Traditionally, ( ) is typically for maiden names and ” ” is for nicknames, but not everybody follows these conventions so you can find maiden names using ” ” and nicknames using ( ). If that’s not confusing enough, some adopted males include Nee or have the birth surname with ( ) or ” “.
Another change, for the better, is the addition of Inscription as part of the Add Memorial field. In the past, you had to save the memorial, then go in and add an inscription. It’s important to realize the inscription/epitaph field is not intended to be a full inscription of the headstone.
From the FAQs:
The inscription field is to be used for words, phrases, or sentences that are found on the headstone other than the person’s name or birth and death dates. Examples of these would be “Loving mother”, “Here my love lies”, “Served in Company 212”, etc.
However, I see many people including name and birth/death dates in the Inscription area.
The inclusion of Father, Mother, and Spouse(s) field in the Add Memorial update is a welcome addition as is the ability to change spouse in the Edit section if the spouse is linked on the other end instead of being linked in the memorial.
The ability to add GPS when adding a memorial is a good one. In the past, you could only add the plot information initially, and then you had to edit the memorial to add GPS.
A big change that hasn’t generated a lot of blog attention involves the birth/death date and location information. When you add the birth or death date, it is now in Day Month Year format compared to Month Day Year format. Also, for birth and death location, it appears to pull from Ancestry’s city, county, state, country. You have to be careful as it doesn’t pull up all of the possible choices, but it starts an auto-fill so as long as you keep typing, it should give you the correct location if it’s in their database. In the old system, it tended to be based on Find-A-Grave’s locations which often included townships which do not appear to be included in Ancestry’s database for the upgrade.
BillionGraves is in the processing of updating its website and I will post about it in a future blog post. If you are a member of BillionGraves, you can check out the new transcription by clicking on the Try New Transcription Page in the upper left corner of the transcription page. You can always switch back if you don’t like it; at least until they fully implement it.