Various Changes to Find-A-Grave’s Latest Update

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, and click the third item, it shows the limit.

Is there a limit on leaving Flowers?

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.

Creating Memorials

What are your memorial naming conventions?

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
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
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
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
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:

Creating Memorials

What information do I include in the inscription field?

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.



Posted in BillionGraves, Facebook, Find A Grave | Leave a comment

Native American Facebook Groups

Here are some Native American groups on Facebook: (“Native American Ancestry Explorer: DNA, Genetics, Genealogy & Anthropology” (NAAE)) (Indian Territory and Early Oklahoma – People and Places) (CHEROKEE NATION AND THE CIVIL WAR) (Native American Events) (Friends Who Like Native American Indian History) (Talking Leaves-Native American Quotes) (TRAIL OF TEARS – Cherokee Genocide – ᏅᎾ ᏓᎤᎳ ᏨᏱ – NEVER FORGET) (Being Native American) (Native American groups on Facebook)

The last link should provide a detailed list of groups on Facebook that include Native American. The other links are a few groups I came across in my research.

This link provides a detailed list of Facebook pages with Native American.

You should be able to find specific groups or pages using tribes (Choctaw, Cherokee, etc. although you may have to use the tribe’s preferred name as an alternative).






Posted in Facebook, First Nations/Native American | Leave a comment

Patients Like Me Website

An interesting site,,  if you suffer from any number of conditions, ranging from Autism, Bipolar Depression to Migraines, Thyroid issues, and over 2,800 medical conditions. A partial list can be found at: If you don’t see a condition, you can search for it.

The site is free to use and I use it to track some of my medical conditions. I receive a daily e-mail that allows me to enter information on how I am doing every day. I can also do monthly updates and make other notations on a regular basis as appropriate.

Posted in Bipolar, Facebook, Mental Health | Leave a comment

My 300th Blog Post – Sort of

Disclaimer: None of the information in this blog post (or any other blog post I make) is intended to be taken as legal advice nor should it be construed to be legal advice. I am not a lawyer and if you need legal advice, consult a lawyer or law firm that specializes in the specific type of law that you want legal advice about. Please don’t rely on any advice from the Internet as legal advice although it can be a guide (good, bad, or so-so) as to what to do or avoid doing in certain situations.

Shout-out to my friends Ashley and Billy on the birth of their daughter, Jewel, earlier this week. Looking forward to the birth of my first grandchild who is due next month.

As I approached my 300th blog post, I reflected on what a bumpy ride it has been to reach this point. I lack reliable Internet connection at home and rely on my phone’s limited 3 GB LTE service and various hotspots to access the Internet. For those who think blogging is easy, try it for a while and you may find it isn’t as easy as you think. Coming up topics and balancing length since Google and other search engines prefer blog posts in the 650+ word range, but many readers prefer blog posts under around 300 – 450 words. This particular post is around 1,800 words in length.

If I count the first blog post that I tried to post on WordPress back in July 2013, this would be my 301st blog post. If I count the 41 unposted blog posts that are in my Draft folder, this would be blog post #343 (around half of those will eventually get posted as I finish researching the information and the other half discarded). From a slightly different standpoint, this would be close to 600 blog posts if I count the several hundred posts on my original blog ( – link not activated as it’s been down for a while due to a technical issue that I haven’t been able to get resolved, but I am hopeful one day I can afford to find somebody who can resolve the issue and get it back up again). Thankfully, I saved the old blog posts to my computer a day or so before the technical issue popped up and was able to upload the posts from the old system to this blog. Sadly, my very first blog post got ate by WordPress and I learned not to trust auto-save on WordPress. Now, I tend to copy/paste from Notepad if I am planning on posting and it’s going to be a somewhat long post. It’s a lesson I pray nobody else will experience if they decide to blog post.

I decided to start a blog about two (2) years before my first blog post and I spent much of the first year researching copyright law. After reading a horror story from another blogger about copyright in mid 2012, I felt it was very important to read as much about copyright law as I could find online. Before reading the article, I had been studying copyright to learn the right way to reduce the odds of being sued for copyright infringement. After reading it (note: best to either hire a copyright attorney or law firm if you have specific copyright questions; you can also learn a lot by reading the copyright law of your country or asking specific questions of a knowledgeable employee in the Copyright Office; in the U.S.,  you can find it at; a quick and dirty guide that works for many U. S. copyright instances can be found at – couple of points: 1) it doesn’t cover certain unusual exceptions and 2) there is a difference between published date for items created  before 1978 and creation date for items created after 1977 – before 1978, if it wasn’t published as defined by the U.S. government, the timer for copyright didn’t start until it was published; after 1977, anything that had been created before 1978 and not published fell under the new laws copyright), I made it a point to dig deeper on copyright to avoid the pitfalls of what happened to the blogger. It’s important to realize the need for a circled c or the word copyright by or any other similar verbiage does not apply to anything new created after 1977 in the U.S. (for other countries, check with your copyright law to see how it applies; also realize something can be copyright protected in one country, but out of copyright protection in another – for example, the  original King James Version of the Bible (originally published in the 1600’s) is still under copyright in the United Kingdom and will be for a while longer – It’s worth noting the laws on copyright in the U.S. changed greatly over a long period and you need to read the appropriate copyright law covering the time frame of a published work (for pre-1978 works).

Where people who violate copyright tend to get into trouble falls into wrongly assuming something is in the public domain (posting something online doesn’t place anything in the public domain – one of the most common mistakes people make); “fair use” is probably a close second – Note: not all countries have fair use exceptions and the fair use exception in the U.S. is pretty narrowly defined which makes it pretty easy to figure out if your use falls under fair use; assuming that posting where you got it protects you from copyright infringement (it doesn’t, all it does is prevent you from being sued for plagiarism; for CCL copyright exceptions, it is important to note if the exclusion applies to commercial usage or not – my blog is not a commercial site, but I plan on turning it into a commercial site down the road – end result – I choose not to add any images or content that has a commercial restriction to avoid having to dig through years old posts and remove the content once I cross into the commercial realm). Much easier to address the issue before you start blogging (commercial or non-commercial) than to have to address the issue years later. For commercial, there is wide disagreement on what defines commercial; I tend to go with the broadest definition for commercial to avoid guessing wrongly on someone who intended it on a more narrow basis. Best to operate with the theory that anything on your site that generates money for you (and in some instances, if it generates income for a third party even if you receive none of the money), including but not limited to affiliate links, ads that generate income for you; links to donation page for nonprofit websites (yes – for commercial purposes, some copyright holders don’t make allowances for nonprofits having a donations link or page on their website – check with the copyright holder to find out if they allow it or not). Another area where people make bad assumptions involves owning a photograph. I own photos that I paid a professional studio to take, but the studio owns the copyright to those photos so I can’t use them for much unless I want to risk getting sued and losing. Simply paying for a photographer or photo studio to take pictures for you doesn’t mean it was a work for hire unless the contract specifically states it was a work-for-hire or the person was your employee (i.e., you paid employment-related taxes to the photographer).  I have some photos that I can use because I paid the photo studio extra to gain copyright permission to use them as I see fit. It tends to be expensive if a studio or photographer doesn’t include this as a standard part of the contract.

Eclectic Mix of Genealogy, Bipolar Depression, Mental Health, Mental Illness, DNA, History, First Nations (aka Native Americans), Military History, World War II, and Cemeteries.

The above is how I describe my blog. I focus a lot on genealogy, DNA, cemeteries, and to a much lesser extent on World War II, military history, mental health/illness, bipolar depression, First Nations, and history in general. My goal is start focusing more on the topics I haven’t covered in many blog posts. In addition, I also focus on reviews of products that I use or link to others who have used them. I picked up this habit from several people (Paul Harvey, Dick Eastman, among others).

I have been working on a blog post for several years now that covers Mississippians (link is to the Wayback Machine since I can no longer easily find it on the MDAH website) who were killed or died as a result of the attack on Pearl Harbor. It’s been slow going as I am relying on information provided by MDAH (Mississippi Department of Archives and History). It provided the names, but not the burial locations. If anybody has knowledge of the burial locations, please let me know. I am trying to include links for Find-A-Grave, BillionGraves, and any other graving site (U.S. GenWeb Tombstone Project, GenealogyTrails, the various state sites, Interment,net). This has slowed research to a crawl as it means searching many graving sites for the information. Once I finish it, I am willing to update it as needed when additional information comes to light.

Another goal is to include links to Facebook groups and pages that cover some of the topics. One of the first will be Bipolar In Order – a program designed to help people who have bipolar along with other resources for those who have mental health issues (DBSA, NAMI, etc.).

For First Nations related stuff, I hope to add posts that can help people try and research Native American heritage although DNA can sometimes help if you have recent Native American in your line (recent being defined as full-blooded within the last 3 – 4 generations).

With history in general and military history specifically, I will include some Facebook groups and pages, plus updates on missing ships or unidentified remains gets identified. A great example is an ongoing attempt by the military to identify the several hundred U.S.S. Oklahoma bodies recovered that could not be identified. As of last month, DNA had identified 100 of the bodies and is expected to potentially identify 80% of the remains.

In addition to occasional product or service reviews, I will also be blogging about writing tips. These tips will cover things that work for me, and also what some experts suggest. I hope to self-publish a book or series at some point and the tips will include why I believe self-publishing is the better way to go for most authors. Hint: the odds of being picked up by a traditional publisher are very low and the pay-outs tend to be much less than if you self-publish. Also, there are many myths and bad assumptions about traditional publishing that need to be busted.





Posted in BillionGraves, Blog Specific, Cemetery, Copyright, Find A Grave, Kansas, Mississippi | Leave a comment

Eastman Blog Turns 22 Years Old

Congratulations to Dick Eastman’s blog,, as it turns 22 years old. I first started following Dick Eastman’s blog around mid-August 2012 and for a while, it included being a member of his Plus edition. If you aren’t familiar with his blog, it covers a wide variety of topics, ranging from genealogy-related to other things that aren’t genealogy  Most of the blog posts are about genealogy and some are behind the Plus edition (direct subscription link if you are considering subscribing) paywall which costs $19.95/year or $5.95 for three month subscription.  He does a tease with the Plus blog posts as you can see the first portion of each Plus article which may help you to decide if it’s worth it.

I don’t have the extra money right now or I would subscribe as I found it worth the $19.95/year. You can sign up for the regular subscription which is free. You get updates on what he posted sent to your e-mail and it lets you sift through posts that interest you and ones you may not want to read as the e-mail includes a brief synopsis of each blog post.


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January 14, 1986 – A Day That Changed My Life

Update: In response to a Facebook question, yes this is a real event and it happened to me. I left out how much pain was involved in removing the cath or the threat of putting it back in due to lack of bathroom usage which thankfully didn’t happen as I made it clear they were only putting it back if I was either unconscious or heavily sedated.  For those interested in where this happened, here is the Google Maps location,+Bel+Aire,+KS+67067/@37.7958989,-97.2472519,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x87bb02dfc9e28f9d:0x1f9b5f1684c9923!8m2!3d37.7958989!4d-97.2450578

It was a little before lunchtime and I was a front-seat passenger in a car heading from Towanda, Kansas to Wichita, Kansas. I was just waking up from a light nap so I didn’t tense up when the wreck happened. Corner of Rock Road and 61st Street North. We were turning south onto Rock Road when the other car hit the front passenger wheel area. Not tensing up probably saved me from more serious injuries. I had a deep cut on my neck as I hit the passenger side window. It took a lot of internal and external stitches to fix. In addition to that injury, I also suffered three (3) broken bones – lower jaw (mid-section below the nasal area); right upper arm, and right shoulder. I also suffered the loss of two (2) teeth (happened soon after the wreck but a direct result of the wreck) and two (2) root canals on other teeth about where the jaw was fractured. I went in shock about the time I hit the side window. I briefly came out of shock to see a fireman standing over me. I recall being put on Lifewatch helicopter, but went back into shock. I next woke up being wheeled down the hallway to the E.R. in Wesley Hospital. I always wanted to ride a helicopter, but since I was unconscious for the ride, I don’t count this as done on my Bucket List. The chopper ride was cheaper than the ambulance ride to Wesley for the driver and I had both oxygen and an I.V. as part of the chopper bill. They were concerned my neck might be broken and I recall the neck brace. Turns out my neck wasn’t broke or seriously injured from the wreck.

I was in the Trauma Center for 75 minutes (at least I was billed for five (5) 15-minute intervals at $650/15 minute session, not counting anything else done during the trauma center visit. During the procedure, they set my arm, no biggie until they asked how it felt. Apparently, it tingles was the wrong answer as they reset it and this was the first half of what brought me out of shock. At some point, they sutured my neck because I was bleeding enough, but not enough for a transfusion. Next, they gave me a catheter. That fully brought me out of shock. If you have never had the experience, it’s best to have it done while you are under sedation. They noticed blood in my urine (probably due to the insertion of the catheter) so they did X-rays to rule out kidney or bladder damage. Side effect of the catheter was a bladder/UTI that was treated with antibiotics. They thought I would be in the hospital for a prolonged period (longer than Tuesday- Friday that it turned out to be). Let’s just say that having me flip – back – left side – right side every few hours was painful when they put me on right side. As a result of the accident, I was without glasses for several days because I was wearing a contact at the time. Eventually my glasses were returned to me. I was able to give them contact information for somebody in Wichita and my sister who lived in Mississippi. I don’t recall them mentioning my broken jaw (saw it later on a bill and had to look it up since I didn’t know what a fractured alveolar was). They informed my sister, based on a later conversation with her, but I don’t recall them informing me.

Some take-aways from the wreck. I hadn’t eaten lunch as we were going to eat lunch in Wichita. They let me have some kind of nutritional milkshake during the day, but because the driver threw up, they wouldn’t let me eat supper. The next day, the “dentist” (he got me mad when I saw him the next time and called him a dentist; he informed me he was an oral surgeon) installed archbars (silly me, I asked if it would hurt and he said no more than when braces are put in – NOTE it hurt a lot and he didn’t leave instructions for painkillers so the staff would only give me Tylenol which I declined). This visit and archbar placement happened shortly before lunch and I wasn’t in the mood to eat because of the pain. It was dinner/supper before I was able to get a decent meal.
On Friday, the doctor came in the morning and asked if I wanted to go home later in the day. I thought he was joking, but said yes. I was discharged after lunch. My doctor of record for the hospitalization I would not see until the next week as he had some kind of accident himself. My pastor came to visit me shortly after the accident and I was impressed because he doesn’t like hospitals. After a couple of days, I was moved from ICU to a semi-private room. Turns out under Kansas law at the time, my insurance was initially responsible for paying my medical bills even though the car was driven by someone else and the car was owned by her parents. End result, my insurance paid the medicals bills and the insurance company of her parents reimbursed my insurance. I was out of work for over six (6) months and received partial compensation from the insurance company to cover lost wages.

I spent several weeks in a sling for the broken arm and it was removed too early which has caused loss of strength in the arm. There was no P.T. (Physical Therapy) and didn’t realize it should have been provided. I was back to driving as soon as I was allowed in the driver seat.



Posted in Genealogy, Kansas, Mississippi, Sedgwick County, Wichita | Leave a comment

V.A. Grave Locator Website

If you are not familiar with the V. A. Grave Locator site, it’s worth checking out. There are a couple of restrictions on who can be found.

The database of burial information is updated each day.

Search for burial locations of veterans and their family members in VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, various other military and Department of Interior cemeteries, and for veterans buried in private cemeteries when the grave is marked with a government grave marker.

The Nationwide Gravesite Locator includes burial records from many sources. These sources provide varied data; some searches may contain less information than others. Information on veterans buried in private cemeteries was collected for the purpose of furnishing government grave markers, and we do not have information available for burials prior to 1997.

Erroneous information can be corrected, but we are unable to add to the information contained in the existing record.

If your search returns incorrect information about a veteran or family member buried in a national cemetery, please contact the cemetery directly to discuss your findings.

To report incorrect information about a veteran buried in a private cemetery, click on “Contact Us” at the top of this page. Names cannot be added to the listing if a government grave marker was not furnished for the grave, or if the existing government grave marker was furnished prior to 1997.

For more complete information concerning individual records, we suggest you contact the cemetery or local officials.

The Arlington National Cemetery provides information on service members buried there. The American Battle Monuments Commission provides information on service members buried in overseas cemeteries.

In addition to the above restrictions, you may be able to find veterans who are in buried in non V.A. cemeteries if they died after 1996. Wording indicates existing grave marker was furnished prior to 1997 as the limiting factor. That may include those who died before 1997, but who received a replacement headstone provided by the V.A. in 1997 or more recently.  However, it is not clear and I suspect it only applies to those who died after 1996 and received a V.A. marker of some sort if they are buried in places other than those covered by the V.A. Important to note that Arlington is not run by the V.A. so you need to click on the Arlington linMok above to search for those who are buried there. The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) covers burials overseas for the most part. If the person was originally in an ABMC cemetery, but was later moved to the United States, they may not have information on the person.

The ability to search non-V.A. cemeteries for veterans who died in 1997 or later is huge. For example, I can find an uncle who died in 2000 and is buried in a city cemetery in northwest Kansas. He was in the Air Force and the V.A. issued him a headstone. He’s on Find-A-Grave and I hope to eventually get him on BillionGraves if I get a chance to make it to that part of the state.

Some V.A. cemeteries have kiosks where you can print off a grave location, but there is no guarantee the kiosk will work when you are there so best to get the information before you get there and see about trying to pinpoint the location based on section if the office is closed when you visit. In my parents’ case, the V.A. cemetery is laid out in the order of death date of the first person to be buried in the case of couples or parent/child. My mother died after my step-father so finding her grave is a matter of knowing his death date if I wasn’t familiar with the cemetery. I haven’t been to my niece’s grave that is in the same cemetery, but I know her death date so I would be able to find her by searching the rows in the section she is buried. She has a headstone photograph on Find-A-Grave; it’s an upright and I can see some background items that would help me if I get the opportunity to visit her grave. There are different sections so it helps to know the section to narrow down where you need to search.

If you find a misspelled name on their database, it may be correctable, but only if there was a transcription error when the name was added to the database or on the headstone. My brother was given a second e in his first name by the military and it’s recorded that way on his daughter’s headstone. The V.A. won’t correct it because the military has his name spelled wrong in their records.

Posted in Arlington National Cemetery, BillionGraves, Cemetery, Find A Grave | Leave a comment