Tag Archives: Find-a-Grave

Fraud on Find a Grave

Sue (anonymous last name) has posted a fraudulent memorial on findagrave.com. Sue will not respond to a legitimate request to remove the fraud. Her non-reaction calls into question the validity of any posting on findagrave.com, or the intention of its owner ancestry.com to give accurate information. One must question, out of the almost 1,800 memorials Sue has posted and manages, how many more memorials on Find a Grave contain fraudulent information that can’t be trusted?

Sue describes herself so: “I’m a Mother of 4 adult children, (is that an oxymoron?-lol) 2 sons, 2 daughters. I have 11 marvelous grandchildren, a fantastic, loving husband whom I’ve been married to for 40 yrs. on Sept. 21, 2014. And now our first Great Grandchild, Gysele Mei has arrived at 28 wks. She’s doing well so far. I’m the oldest of my 2 sisters & one brother. I’ve been a laryngectomee since Nov. 1999. Oh ya, I’m a redheaded Indian gal.

“Some of my ancestors are Chase, Campbell, Wabasha, Morelock, Moman, & Cress. My husband’s family names are Bryan, Bowen, Goodman & Goodpasture and O’Dell.”

Find a Grave screenshot of erroneous information-1

The issue of Sue’s fraud is clear. Sue’s memorial of Joseph Jesse Chase claims Chase is a son of America’s iconic outlaw Jesse Woodson James. This claim has been known to the Jesse James family for years. The claim always has been denied. No one among Chase’s descendants has ever provided any credible evidence to substantiate the Chase claim.

Find a Grave Screenshot of erroneous information-2

After a dozen years of genealogical research, and the expenditure of a quarter million dollars, the Jesse James family has gone out of its way to identify who actually is related to Jesse Woodson James. Extraordinary findings were made by documenting the Jesse James family, followed by genealogical research into the in-law families of the James, and then into others related by extension from those in-law families. Research went so far to study the genealogy of most anyone who was known to have contact with the James.

Historically, there have been literally thousands of claims of kinship to Jesse Woodson James, and to his brother Frank James. Not one ever has been proved. Even today, Stray Leaves receives two or three claims per month on average. Like Sue, few claimants reply to a request for evidence.

A reasonable assumption implies that Sue Anonymous likely is a relation, if not an actual descendant, of Joseph Jesse Chase. Sue assumed management of this Find a Grave memorial following its abandonment by Kent D. Myrick. Complaints to Myrick from members of the Cole and Graves families, who are legitimate relations of Jesse W. James, resulted in Myrick’s desertion and the subsequent assumption by Sue Anonymous.

email screenshot

The email request sent to Sue, pictured here, also met with no response. Sue’s lack of courtesy in not providing any kind of response whatsoever is evidence enough of her non-responsibility. Former requests made to findagrave and ancestry.com by a complainant from the Graves family also met with a lack of responsible action.

Without evidence, the memorial posting by Sue, that is supported by findagrave.com and ancestry.com amounts to fraud.

It shouldn’t be expected that Sue would permit this message on her findagrave pubic profile. However, with regard to Jesse Woodson James and the James family, Stray Leaves will continue to publish the identity of con artists, bogus history, fake genealogy, inaccurately identified images or artifacts, false claims, inaccurate information, and fraud when it is encountered.

This memorial to Joseph Jesse Chase is a fraud.


UPDATE:  March 19, 2016

After almost two years, the Find a Grave memorial above has been corrected.  The present memorial removes the names of Jesse Woodson James as a parent of Joe Jesse Chase.

In this time, considerable focus has been placed on Find a Grave policy that grants ownership of a memorial on irresponsible administrators.  This has raised considerable opposition by related families who are offended, as was this following case: “Does this couple in Missouri own your relatives on Find a Grave, too?

Focus also was brought by the National Genealogical Society which brought this issue to public attention on Facebook.

Corrected Find a Grave memorial
The corrected Find a Grave memorial that removed Jesse Woodson James as a parent of Joe Jesse Chase.

Jesse James Treasure Discovered…and Returned

Who’s treasure is it? The email from the unidentified woman was insistent. “This family is part of the Jesse James family. You represent the Jesse James family. These things now are yours.”

Nothing about the woman, what she said, or what she described made any sense at all. But I’m used to dealing with that. All I could glean was that some woman died in Florida – I couldn’t get a name. Locally, she was known to be kin to Jesse James – How? I couldn’t learn that either. Now, the deceased woman’s house was being cleaned out, and her debris was flying my way.

bag of treasure

What I expected to receive was a letter envelope with, maybe, some photos. What I got instead was a shipment box. Inside was a large plastic shopping bag. The bag was loaded with studio portrait photos in their cardboard fold-out frames, piles of fading snapshots, an envelope of records and official documents, and a baby shoe.

Like most people, the deceased woman was a bad record keeper. The photos were not identified by names, but rather by relationships. “Sis’s grandkids.” Great. Who’s Sis? Who are the grandkids? Who are these people? I was reminded of occasions when asking for directions in the South. Replies contained no specific point-to-point directions by name, but only by oblique references, informed by personal memory. “Go down about two miles to the corner where the gas station used to be.”

Some of the photos bore the name of James. But none of the names was familiar. The images didn’t resemble any James I know. I searched the internet but found nothing relating to these James. So, whose Jesse James treasure was this? I was stuck with the mystery.

research files of the James Preservation Trust

The historian, genealogist, and archivist in me recognized I could not throw any of this away. This belonged to someone unknown, someone yet to be found. Meanwhile, I was stuck with it all. I stashed the collection with my files, hoping someday, someway, someone or something would appear to claim it, or direct me to its rightful heir. For about seven years, the bag and its treasure sat waiting, like so many family orphans.

Two weeks ago, I was browsing Find-a-Grave for updates and new information, just as I continually browse courthouses, libraries, and research archives for things overlooked, new references, identities familiar from my growth of knowledge, or for the latest deaths, notices, or entries. A Find-a-Grave listing appeared with references to a James, familiar from my mystery treasure.

Find-a-Grave posting

I promptly dispatched an email to Christine Cartwright, who posted the entry. “Are you related to this family, or know someone who is?”

“Hi Eric, Yes, I am a relative William Everett James. He was my great-grandfather. What kind of information do you have may I ask? Some of us are in the dark because a small part of the family doesn’t want to share pictures, docs, and stories with the rest of us…Please if you have new information I would love it…”

In further correspondence came this revelation “Yes, there has been talk that one of the great aunts had some letters from Jesse and Frank and somehow they are cousins. But no one can find this so-called letters or maybe someone is hiding them. I don’t know but it would be great to know if there is a link.”

Christine Cratwright
Christine Cartwright & Her Orphaned Family Archive

The treasure sent to me anonymously finally has found its rightful home. Returning the collection has been deeply gratifying, like so often before when orphans of the James are rediscovered, or rediscover their past, with the help of our Stray Leaves website and its SURNAMES genealogy database.

True to any genealogy quest, though, arriving at one answer always raises more questions. Is the Everett Roscoe James of Clinton County, Ohio related to the James in our SURNAMES database? Christine has solved one mystery. His real name was William Everett James, and Roscoe was his nickname. Christine’s research will continue. Is William Everett James related to the Jesse James family? Christine will continue working on that, too; as I stand by to help. Perhaps a DNA test will put the question to rest. But does that really matter? It took six years to resolve the mystery of this lost treasure of family photos. What’s another month or two to nail down a family identity? For many, it takes generations. Meanwhile, Christine and her family now have some lost treasure from their own family to study and enjoy.



The 1854 Family Bible of Ione Gray, Granddaughter of Mary Harriet James, is Returned to Descendants

Missouri Returns Burton Allen James Family Bible