Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Rights of the Dead Update

Success!  A few days ago, HERE, I explained my frustration about finding a website that contained a profile and pictures of my wife and the headstone of her grave, called  Upon further investigation, it became clear that they were copied directly from my own "official" memorial at  This egregious act angered me, and after writing about it, I began to receive all kinds of help, all unsolicited, but so appreciated.  One reader sent me the name of a lawyer specializing in these types of cases, and the Utah Better Business Bureau contacted me through Twitter and let me know that FindAGrave, which is located in Utah, has an "F" score in their records, as well as 18 registered complaints against them.

I carefully read through the Frequently Asked Questions at the FindAGrave website and found that the woman who had created the memorial about my wife on had violated the policies of the site by copying my pictures and information and using them.  After collecting all of this information, I contacted the woman, who had an email address posted on her own profile at, directly last evening and I explained the issues and violations, and I requested that she remove the information about my wife from their site.   I told her I would be exploring legal action if she did not comply, which is fully within my rights, and let her know she violated's own policy.  Well, overnight, she complied, and the profile was removed.  I am extremely thankful for all of the support I received from you all, the readers, as well as the Utah BBB, which was helpful in getting this resolved.  There is some level of satisfaction knowing that this has been resolved so quickly.

The whole thing bothered me more than I can say.  FindAGrave believes they are providing a needed service.  It may be appreciated by many, but they have no idea how much they are hurting others by posting information not condoned by the families of the loved ones they profile.  I spent a great deal of time reading through the discussion board on the site, and quite a few people who are posting the information and control the memorials contained there are fanatical, and some are willfully going against the wishes of the families, a clear violation of FindAGrave's own policies.  Many relatives have requested control of the profiles, which is allowable, but some of these fanatics are so afraid of losing control of the profiles they created that they refuse to do it!  Some families have even supplied correct information when what is posted is wrong, and there are some who refuse to do it. There is absolutely no reason for it.  There are clearly flaws in their system when strangers to the people that are being profiled will not comply with the wishes of the loved one's families.

The only issue I have now is whether this could happen again.  What's to stop someone from creating another memorial on this site without my permission?  And, be clear, this is happening to many, many others.  The site contains almost a billion names.  You may be asking why this whole thing bothers me so much.  The issue is all about taking information without permission.  The woman who created the profile containing my wife's information stole the pictures and write-up directly from my profile of my wife, which I created following her death, and which was included in the package I purchased from the funeral home.  My contact information is contained there.  This woman could easily have contacted me to get permission, and I might have actually worked with her to make the profile at FindAGrave a really nice thing, though I would not have wanted someone else taking responsibility of the profile.  As her husband, I would want to create and maintain it.  But it only serves the purpose of duplicating the information I already created at, and is, therefore, unnecessary.

I found the FindAGrave profile by accident.  I "googled" my wife's name last week and the first hit was the FindAGrave website.  It caught me by surprise, because I had no knowledge of its existence. I'm very glad to have the whole thing resolved.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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