Saturday, July 01, 2017

Why I Will Never, Ever Transfer That Findagrave Memorial To You

Hi.

You don’t remember me, but not long after I started adding pictures and memorials to Findagrave.com, using my trusty camera and the online records of the neighborhood cemetery, you found your relative’s memorial among the ones I added, and you decided you needed to "own" that memorial.

At first you were polite about it. On April 24 you wrote:

“I see you’re in my old neck of the woods. Thank you so much for what you do. My husband and I use [sic] to visit The Cemetery and clean graves, because I have many relatives buried there. I’ve worked on genealogy since the 70’s, but only recently joined Find A Grave. I see you have a memorial for my [relative] and if possible could you transfer that to me? Would also like to request the transfer of memorial for my [another relative]. Thank you again.”

Then a week later, May 1, you wrote:

“Just following up on a memorial request from last Tuesday, no hurry on it though. It was for my [relative]. I know he is not in the 4 generations, but I forgot to let you know that him and his wife did not have any children, so there are no closer relatives. Thank you again.”

Still perfectly fine.

However, at the time I received these emails, I was a busy mother of five young children, married to a sweet man who worked full time and coached our children’s sports after work almost every night, living in an apartment the size of a cardboard box, active in a very demanding and time-consuming religion, and – it cannot be overstated – completely overwhelmed by life. My occasional visits to the cemetery with two good friends were an escape, one that I loved because it also provided a service to other genealogists like me. I enjoyed it, and I certainly didn’t get into it to engage in drama with strangers over the Internet.

Busy as I was, I didn’t have time to constantly check this particular email address for requests like these, so imagine my surprise at receiving your last letter, sent on May 27:

"I've been going to The Cemetery since I was a little girl in the 60's, with my family. Many of us have been there to funerals and to clean, maintain the graves for all that time. In fact my husband and I have been there a couple of times this month to clean and photograph at least 10 headstones of my family. One of them was my [relative whose memorial I asked you to transfer to me]. His headstone was practically all covered up, but I guess you girls just hadn't gotten to it yet. Kept an eye out for you, but haven't seen you there. Did you make a trip to the Archives in Washington D.C. to look through microfilm to see when [this relative's] parents came from [their native country]? No. Did you make a trip to [native country] to the town he was born in? No. I don't recall you being in the kitchen listening to my Dad tell stories about his uncle [this relative] and others? Didn't think so. Did you work on the [surname] genealogy for 35 years? No. Not sure why you feel it necessary to hang onto a memorial of someone you're not even related to, unless it's a power or greed issue. You're certainly not in the direct line, 4 generation category. You'ld [sic] think by now you'ld [sic] understand what it would mean for family members to handle their own family memorials, instead of a complete stranger who doesn't know what to add. See you haven't added anything, but then you know him so well. I would appreciate it if you would please send me his memorial."

This being the age before smart phones, I read these emails in order from newest to oldest, so the May 27 email was the first one I read. As I read your earlier requests for this transfer, I decided that your going from zero to butthole in 60 seconds was not something I wanted to reward. I consulted with a friend, another Findagrave contributor, and she advised me to keep the memorials. After all, according to Findagrave policy, I have no obligation to transfer a memorial to you unless it fits under the "direct line, four generations" criteria. So I kept them.

After reading this latest, very polite email with your very polite request for the SAME memorial (don't screw with me - we both know how you really are), I looked at your Findagrave profile. You've turned off the ability for fellow Findagrave contributors to communicate with you via public messages - gee, go figure. Of the thousands of memorials you currently manage, less than one fourth of them were added by you personally. Not only do you like to prey on others' hard work, but you have a compulsion to "own" every single one of your relatives' Findagrave memorials - which, as you know, is not how Findagrave works. How many other contributors have you tried to menace with your bratty demanding emails, Verruca Salt? How many were like me, and said "HELL no"?

Sorry, honey, it's not happening.

Have a nice summer. :)

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