Find A Grave’s Bias In Their Own Managed Memorial

I did a search for murder victim Colette MacDonald on FindAGrave.com. Find A Grave is one of the largest databases of grave sites on the web with 157 million grave records. I have used it for putting up memorials for my parents. It’s a great resource and I really love it. On a basic memorial page there is the birth and death dates and then a short description of the person and who they were or what happened to them. In the case of Colette MacDonald the people at Find A Grave created this memorial in the year 2000. Not sure why but it says at the bottom of the page:

Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Aug 27, 2000 
Find A Grave Memorial# 11892

The description for Colette MacDonald reads:

Pregnant wife and victim of Jeffrey MacDonald. He killed his pregnant wife and his two daughters in a murder spree that he tried to blame on “crazed hippies.” The crime became the subject of the book “Fatal Vision” and a TV movie of the same name. The names on the MacDonald victims’ graves have since been changed to ‘Stevenson.’

Now I can see this being perfectly fine if the parents put this up, they believe Dr. MacDonald did this. But, they didn’t, the people at Find A Grave wrote this description. I find this wildly biased, so I emailed them.

I wrote:

Hi,

There is a memorial you guys maintain that has some text that is slightly biased and I was wondering if it can be changed. On this page

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=11892

“He killed his pregnant wife and his two daughters in a murder spree that he tried to blame on “crazed hippies.” The crime became the subject of the book “Fatal Vision” and a TV movie of the same name.”

I’m a friend of the family and Dr. MacDonald is still trying to get released from prison. He’s been in jail for 38 years and still maintains his innocence. This week the 4th circuit court of appeals will hear oral arguments on his case. And that book (Fatal Vision) is not accurate at all. So don’t you think you could change that text so it’s not soo biased? Is that possible?

Thanks for your time.

I’m a big fan of the site.

I got an email back:

Greetings — as he was convicted in court for the murders, the biography will continue to reflect that unless and until he is officially exonerated.

Russ Dodge
Senior Curator and Administrator, www.Findagrave.com

I did email him back asking him to maybe reword it and he never replied. I’m not at all happy about this and if you feel like me, drop Mr. Dodge a polite email. Maybe we can change this though numbers.

FindAGraveRuss@hotmail.com

JP

https://www.facebook.com/FreeMacdonald/