I was told by a "bully" on findagrave that I had no say if I did not like a photo of my father's grave posted on the site. Too bad they told me. "If you had not wanted a photo of your father's grave taken you should not have buried him in a cemetery with a headstone." They told me that a volunteer had a right to take a photo of a grave just as they would have a right to take a picture of my house if they took the photo from the street.

I'm in the legal profession and I KNOW BETTER. So if you think your are being kind by using your time to add photos to findagrave and help family members find lost family you need to really pay attention to my advice. I say this in a kind way because I believe most people who take photos are retired individuals that feel they are helping people using their hobby of photography. They enjoy taking pictures and helping at the same time. Dont mind at all giving up their time.

Did you know that MOST cemeteries are Private??? A private cemetery is not just a family plot on private property on the back lot of the family homestead. A private cemetery can also be a cemetery that can be owned by a Business such as a funeral home, a Church,(and a church cemetery is very special because it is holy ground) Individual Groups, and of coarse the family plot we mentioned earlier located on a family's land. Some of these are "marked as private" some are not. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Many of these are huge cemeteries located right in the middle of a city. These cemetery Managers are begining to feel the heat and wrath from its owners who purchased plots, memorials to loved ones, and pay for the upkeep of the land. As findagrave has become more popular with some volunteers walking row to row taking photos of every grave in the cemetery just the image of them now called "cemetery stalkers" upset many individuals. Many families are so concerned after finding a photo of the family member's grave on this site that they have asked the cemetery to take action. I feel that most families would not feel this way if when they contacted findagrave they had been treated with respect. Any ethical company with a photo posted would remove it or transfer it if a family member did not create it and asked them to do so. Its just professional behavior.

The private cemetery in my city is sick of this behavior and tired of unsatisfied family member complaints. Several hidden cameras have been placed to track people who enter the cemetery. Private off duty police have been hired to patrol the area taking note and talking to people that they do not know that are walking from grave to grave taking a photo. Individuals have been hired by the cemetery to do nothing but search findagrave for illegal memorial photos. They mean to use examples and take the people to court. If you are in this cemetery you could be arrested for taking that picture just as if you could be arrested if you walk on my land and take a photo of my house. Most people never were upset if they saw someone in a cemetery taking pictures of interesting memorials as a hobby. This had CHANGED when the family sees the photo on a website. And the family becomes very upset when they request the photo to be removed and they are insulted verbally. Not to mention that they also see adds earning money placed all around the family grave photo. They feel that their loved one buried on private property is being used by an unethical company making money selling adds from the grave. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT IS HAPPENING.

You can take a photo of a grave in a private cemetery if you have the permission of a family member or the cemetery or if you are standing in the street off of the property.. but most close up photos I see are not taken from across the street.

A word of Caution. You are helping findagrave make money each time you post a photo of a grave. If you find yourself served with a lawsuit findagrave will not back you up. This has happened several times. Findagrave will take your free data, photos and sell adds on that work but you are on your own when found guilty of trespassing, copyright violations etc... Stealing a picture of that grave for profit (findagrave's profit not yours) is the same as stealing flowers off of that grave. Several new laws currently in state committees are being developed just to address "cemetery stalkers" "cemetery memorial violations". If you write a Bio for an individual with researched information that is proven incorrect laws of slander may apply. Researching a person you do not know and posting it on a public website could be dangerous. If you obtain information from several ancestry sites or other websites that are very likely not accurate could also be illegal and considered slander if published.

So my advice to all of you kind members who only want to post a photo to help remember a Person for ever and ever on a website: 1. Make sure you are not in a Private Cemetery. 2. Before you take any photos ask the cemetery or family member for permission. Have that in Writing and add that information to your photo credit. 3. Before you post your photo on any website for public view have permission in WRITING not just some "photo request" on a findagrave memorial.

Before you add a Bio to a memorial make sure that you have permission from a family member to add that material. Make sure that you are using accurate resource information... many things on ancestry.com are just what people "entered" not actual fact. Before you add any person's name to a bio especially if that person is living you must have permission. And.. one last thought if you publish an OBIT which ethically you should not you should never list addresses or the names of living family members.

My advice: If you have not followed the legal guidelines delete your photos. contact someone that have the power to give you permission to post the photo and then state under the photo how you obtained the permission and by who. Be very careful because as findagrave becomes bigger and bigger so will the lawsuits filed against Photo and Bio Volunteers.

Monetary Loss: $600.

  • Photo request
  • Photo Volunteer for findagrave
  • Unethical findagrave behavior
  • Profit from findagrave
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I have taken photos for Find A Grave for years and we don't make a cent off of it. We volunteer our time to help get photos for family members who live across the country and make them available so that the millions that do genealogy work have access to this information so that they have proof that their genealogy information is correct.

We do this so that if we need a photo from miles away, someone will be kind enough to do the same for us. None of us are paid to take photos or to put up the pages. Many pages are put up by family members and then they ask someone take the photo, some are put up by people from obituaries printed in newspapers. Most photos are taken by request from a family member, though the idea is to have a record of every burial eventually.

Find A Grave is not the only site that does this, by the way, Find A Grave is owned by Ancestry.com. I am not sure why a photo of a headstone is such an offense to anyone, not everyone can afford to travel thousands of miles to see the headstone of their grandparents, great grandparents etc. There isn't any info on the headstone that isn't available to the public though the Social Security & Social Security Death Indexes.

Not everyone can afford to hire a professional genealogist, so we volunteer to help each other. I belong to several sites that help others in their research, it is something I love doing.


Important points are raised in this article, and above all (and not to trivialize the efforts of all the volunteers), sensitivity should guide the actions of any volunteer photographer. The impact of the article would be strengthened not just by careful proofing (for example, "ad" instead of "add"), but more careful attention to sentence structure.

(I felt repeatedly tripped up by the loose punctuation.) Maybe I'm nitpicking, but the main points are nearly lost in this poorly structured article. Perhaps it could be re-written.


How long does this last.Say does it cover Civil War graves? Who counts a a family member.Say it would be hard to get agreements over Charlemagne's descendants.One can easily see conflicts overamong descendants of a historical personage especailly .

If Joe Tate ax murderer has a second cousin twice removed can he overide closer relatives.

I assume tha unlike obituaries .Public death records and could be used without copyright. Waht if someone requests a photo of an inacc remote grave and another relative ojbjects /


The commentary writer should learn to use a spell checker.


My typing is bad and my keyboard is dirty. Where is the edit button?


I have been taking photos for requests for 16 years. My profile shows few.

I give the photos to the family member requesting it. It is now theirs to do as they wish.


Just doing some research about the website (not a photographer). I read the faqs on the findagrave website and found this one interesteing:

Can I charge money as a Photo Volunteer?


Find A Grave does not allow Photo Volunteers to charge money for volunteering.

...I'm disabled and it would be a challenge for me to do something like this, so I certainly wouldn't do it for free. There are literally 100's of requests for photos of grave markers in a graveyard a few blocks away from where I live. It would be a lot of work to fulfill the requests. I find it somewhat difficult to accept that findagrave must surely be making money off of this scheme but they won't reimburse the people doing the work.

Seems somewhat scammy, greedy or whatever you want to call it. I certainly won't be volunteering my time. If they want help then they should arrange the permission, documentation and pay the folks doing the leg work.

THEIR ATTITUDE IS COMPLETELY DISRESPECTFUL, apparently all around. Thanks for the info, just what I was looking for.

@Not Disclosed EVER

Wow really? Charging money for volunteer work?

Huh. What a concept. But, if they charged money, it wouldn't be volunteering anymore, would it?.....I'm disabled too and it would be a huge challenge for me to do something like this, so I don't do it. There are 100's of photo requests all over the country.

Find a grave makes money running ads to keep the site going since they don't charge a user fee, they don't charge to make memorials, and they pay the admins who help run the site.You don't want to do volunteer work, don't so it. No biggie. Most of the people that take the photos do this as a HOBBY, you know, something you enjoy doing, just because, not expecting monetary reimbursement.I just can't get past the concept of PAYING for VOLUNTEER work.

WTF?? That would be called a job, something a lot of people have no clue about, but when it's volunteer work, you want to be paid??I find your attitude COMPLETELY DISRESPECTFUL.


Keep up the good work findagravers!!!!!! Love the pics!!!!!


Cleaning the offices of a legal firm does not make you "in the legal profession."


This made me laugh. Almost everything said regarding the law is a complete fabrication.

The idea that towns are hiring sleuths to track down photo takers at cemeteries is ridiculously and insanely dumb.

Oh well. I takes a kinds.

TL;DR post is completely wrong


I just discovered my mother's headstone on FindAGrave. I am appalled by this tacky DISRESPECT AND LACK OF PRIVACY.

Some volunteer named Glenn did it.

I also checked with the cemetery and found out it was not authorized nor did I (as owner of the site) authorize it.

I contacted "Glenn" . If it is not removed, I will sue him as well as find out if he can be arrested for taking a picture of such a private site without permission.

As an aside, those of you who think this is a good thing please realize that not everyone shares your view. Most would view it as a disrespectful DESECRATION to put such a personal thing on the internet.

What about "resting" in peace vs.

freaks or paparrozzi that hang out in cemeteries taking pictures of your stone?


People take the time to provide images of graves for those who might be too far to see them in person or to aid those doing genealogical research and you have the audacity to call them freaks? YOU are the disrespectful one.

To any volunteer reading this, keep doing what you do. Your work is appreciated.


Um don’t you think that person could ask friend or family for a picture. I find posting my infant sisters grave stone extremely offensive, hurtful and in horrible taste. So yes everyone has different views and they all should be respected.


Um if there were family members or friends close, then yes, you could ask them but when none are near, finding a memorial with a picture of the headstone could be the highlight of someone's day. If you don't want your infant sisters headstone on there, write to Find A Grave at the correct email (read the FAQ'S) and have them remove it.

You're a family member, they have to do it. BUT someone else could come back and enter it again.


I appreciate all who take the time to take photos for those who live to far away. Also just to walk through a cemetery and see the unmarked forgotten graves is horrible.

Out of 10 kids and 40 plus grandkids and numerous now family not a damn 1 has gotten together to buy grandparents a headstone.

The markers are now gone. I'm the only one that put a walmart stone and grave flowers .appreciate all of you "grave yard stalkers" :) keep up the good work.


You're over-reacting. Consider the motives; there's nothing sleazy about them. A more moderate and considerate approach would be to dial back the rancor, and appeal in a more humane and civilized fashion.


Thank you to everyone that has taken a picture for find a grave. Without your help, I would not have been able to effectively trace my genealogy.

Yes some will cry while their panties are bunched up but not I. I appreciate your work. Headstones fade and people are forgotten, memories are lost and so is history.

I appreciate the permanence that photos give, the heritage and genealogy efforts of these people, help all.


For the doubters, try this link



Mr. Tipton, the founder, and now Ancestry are making a lot of money with this FOR PROFIT website.

He is using emotionally unbalanced people "gravers" to "volunteer" and report high demographic visits to prospective advertisers. He is laughing all the way to the bank with this site.

He has no regard for anyone that does not want their family member added to this site. Anyone that complains will be harassed and probably with his knowledge.