Quite often we receive e-mail from users letting us know that
they spotted an error in one of the cemetery transcriptions
published here on Interment.net.
Most of the time, they're just sending us a "heads up", but
there are others who insist that we change the record.
Our policy has been that we don't change these records unless
we are asked to do so by the person who submitted the transcription
to us. The "submitter" is almost always the person who created
the transcription, though there are some instances where the
"author" was someone else.
The reasons for having this policy are...
- We recognize the transcription as being the work of the
submitter, and respect their work by giving them the "right
of first refusal" on all corrections. Moreover, we don't
wish to act as a messenger of e-mail traffic between the
submitter and the person reporting an error. If you believe
you found an error, please contact the submitter.
- Transcriptions are not "living documents" subjected to
modification and correction in a public forum. They are
meant to be a word-for-word copy of an original source.
It's possible the original source contained the error, and
got copied to the transcription. Regardless, the transcription
is supposed to depict what was contained on the original
source, errors and all. They are not meant to represent
the truth. If we change a piece of information, then you're
no longer seeing what was actually written on a tombstone
or sexton record. It's your job as a genealogist to determine
what the truth is.
- We cannot verify the validity of the corrected information.
When someone writes to us about an error, we cannot verify
if the "correct" information actually is correct. The only
person who can do this is the person who authored the transcription.
Therefore, we set this policy of accepting corrections only
from the submitter.
Some people have voiced concerns that the inaccurate information
found in a transcription will cause problems with family histories
published by amateur genealogists. Yes, knowing some amateur
genealogists, that's true. But the responsibility lies with
the genealogist to determine what information is accurate. Our
job is to provide a place to access these transcriptions.
But that doesn't mean we publish any transcription "willy nilly".
Maggie Rail, our editor, has the job of reviewing submissions
for quality and thoroughness, and rejects transcriptions she
feels is lacking. She has an extensive background in transcribing
cemeteries, in several states and countries, and has the qualifications
to make this decision.
It's because we are indeed concerned about quality that we don't
accept corrections from anyone other than the submitter.