Find-A-Grave Forums Clarifications Update

Updated March 11, 2019: I will do my best to use the tag Find-A-Grave Forums: when adding clarifications posts.

I will be doing regular posts on Find-A-Grave Forums clarifications – I submitted a suggestion to Find-A-Grave that they need to update the Help section – whenever admins make rulings that should be in the Help section. I also suggested they should not add the information to the Help section, but include the date added and change the information if later rulings change an earlier ruling. I also suggested they split the Help section into Rules and Guidelines. Unless they implement my suggestion, you will need to do a search on the Forums to see if you can easily find the latest rulings.

In the old FAQs, they were often touted as guidelines, but there were a handful of rules. A great example is the only name on the headstone that has to match is the surname. If you had A. Z. Smith on the headstone, but she was named Arizona Zombie Smith-Jones, then you can add the first and middle names, but the surname on the memorial had to be Smith even though she went by Smith-Jones.

At some point, if a person had multiple married names on the headstone, you were supposed to include them in the surname field. For example,, has her maiden name and all five (5) of her husbands’ married surnames (Lille, Yazel, Reid, Wright, and Benson) on her headstone in addition to her maiden name. Under the old system, her surname should have been Lille Yazel Reid Wright Benson although only Lille would have been searchable. Under the new system (adopted ?), you put Benson for surname and include the other four married surnames in the Bio section.

It doesn’t help that admins and some of the memorial managers don’t have to follow the rules or guidelines, but they have no problem with going after the rest of us who try to follow the rules and guidelines. Saw a case where a member was banned years ago, but the admins acknowledged they knew she had started a new account and did nothing about it. Favoritism is a good way for a site to be hit with an expensive lawsuit they will lose.

The goal with providing the clarifications is to answer (temporarily anyway, at least until a new clarification changes it) some rules and guidelines that are not covered in the Help section – In many cases, the clarifications aren’t obvious and in other cases, an obvious answer was later changed by an unannounced clarification. It’s to help contributors be aware of those changes that have been made.

It’s not fair for Ancestry, or any other company, to allow admins to punish most violators while allowing admins and their favorites to violate the rules and guidelines. The admins are volunteers and I suspect Ancestry wrongfully assumes volunteer admins offer the company a layer of insulation that doesn’t exist. When I was a volunteer coordinator at a local nonprofit, one of the first things I was told by my supervisor was that a volunteer could get our agency sued in certain instances. Thankfully, it never happened on my watch, but I was glad of the warning. In a later volunteer coordination job at a different organization, I informed my boss of reports from clients. The volunteer was a long-time volunteer, but she let him go because he was putting the agency at risk of getting sued for harassment.

About ICT Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's
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