Cremated needs standardized burial place
edited September 28, 2020 in Suggest an Idea
Jonathan Edward Seifert said: FamilySearch should have a standarized burial word for Cremated or Cremation. My great aunt was cremated, and her familysearch record has an error, as it says that she doesn't have a standardized burial place. Thanks! Jonathan Seifert
Juli said: If she wasn't buried, leave the Burial vital blank. Put the information about the disposition of her ashes under Other Information - Events - Cremation.
If her ashes were buried, put the location of that burial in the Burial vital.
All "place" fields on FamilyTree should always be actual locations. They can be pretty broad (such as "at sea" or "Europe"), but they should always refer to a single specific spot or area on the globe. "Cremated" is not a place, so it does not belong in any place field.0
Gordon Collett said: If you just can't bear to leave that burial place blank (I'd certainly fall in that category as would many others) don't be afraid to take advantage of the full power and flexibility of the Family Tree program.
This type of entry would serve your purpose and not give a data error:
Paul said: I like that, Gordon. Some users are so fussy they insist the only place for any inputs relating to a cremation is in the Other Information section. If a user thinks it's too hidden away there I can't see any reason not to show it as you have illustrated. And I don't think it matters if the ashes were literally buried or are (as your second screenshot implies) possibly sitting on a relative's mantelpiece.0
Pioneer42 said: I would venture to say that is getting way to specific nowadays, a burial is still a burial whether put into a vase or in the ground, what difference does it make? Isnt that what the comment section below burial is for? Just my opinion. I have a few people that were lost to sea, but isn't that a burial too?0
Tom Huber said: First, if the vase is not buried, then there is no burial. There was in the case of my wife's aunt who was cremated. The family came together at the cemetery and her vase was then buried, complete with a gravestone.
In the case of my brother and his wife, who were involved in a horrific car crash, their few remains were cremated and the family scattered their ashes. Cenotaphs were created and place in an Abby in their remembrance.
There was no burial and in many cases, there will not be. In a recent Antiques Roadshow (PBS), someone brought a vase to be examined. She had said that when she turned it upside down to look for identifying marks, that some ashes fell out. The person whose ashes where in the vase was never buried.
I also like Gordon's entry. It goes a long way to explain the situation when no burial site is involved.0
Tom Huber said: Yes, At sea is a burial location and a standard for the ocean/sea where the burial took place.0
Jeff Wiseman said: There is a significant difference. A Burial is an event (i.e., it has a time and place). A Cremation is an event (i.e., it also has a time and a place). But these are separate and distinct events. They are not the same thing, and understanding that makes it easier to understand how to properly handle the information consistently in the Genealogical record.
Quoted from the dictionary:
Burial or interment is a method of final disposition wherein a dead person or animal is placed into the ground, sometimes with objectsSo burial is the act of returning the body to the earth from which it came, REGARDLESS of what shape the body is in.
Cremation, on the other hand is like embalming or mummification. It is simply a preparation of the the body and no more. After cremation, embalming, or mummification, a body may still have not been buried. In this case, the burial event is left empty (i.e., there was no burial)
But they all are events and should be recorded as separate events. The body in an urn that has been sitting on a mantle for years has NOT been buried yet.0
Pioneer42 said: Somantics. Its just a standard, Birth, Death. and Burial. Depends on your definition of Burial, if it wasn't a burial then why put a lid on the vase? It is made of earth is it not? A coffin has a lid and stuck inside cement cover and it never touched the earth, but if you're saying it hasn't been put into the ground then I beg to differ. Everything eventually touches the ground and gets swept up one way or another. Or we breath it, it still goes into the body. Some are set in tombs, crypts, sarcophagi, cement coffins, we call them buried? But there is always a funerary and burial ceremony that goes with it. So to each his own. U could easily break a cement coffin with a hammer as a urn and destroy the remains. Heck if you are buried at sea, you are probably most likely eaten by the sea monsters. I just think death is the most important of it all. You born you died, if FS disagreed, then the rest of the world only has the category too for burial. I see no difference on Ancestry.com or my heritage. That's why there is a place for comments.0
Tom Huber said: Be careful using the word, "standard" with FamilySearch. A Standard refers to an established place defined by its geophysical location and represented by a specific location text string. The standard for any place, if one has been established by the teams involved, can be determined at https://www.familysearch.org/research....
I don't know if you saw the show on PBS or not, but it was clear that the vase was an urn used to hold ashes, which the appraiser established. The person who brought the vase had bought it at a garage sale.
That place for comments is to be a field for the user to state why the information they entered is correct. It is not a field for comments or notes, although many of us use it for that purpose.
There is an ongoing discussion about being able to tag notes and discussions to events and facts in a person's profile, so that the field can be correctly used, rather than as a repository for comments.0
Jeff Wiseman said:
Depends on your definition of BurialI kinda prefer the one that has been in the dictionaries over the years.
So are you saying that taking the lid off of the urn is basically "exhuming" that person? And if burial only involves touching the ground, I don't know. I live in Texas and I've breathed a LOT of dirt :-) so I've already been "Buried" then? (just ignore what my children believe :-)
They are two separate events that have been well defined in our culture and dictionaries. Call a Spade a Spade. Don't be combining multiple events all into one event just to simplify the work of documentation. This tends to corrupt the meaning of things and results in confusion.0
Paul said: I think a large part of the problem here is that many users would like to see a cremation event given the same prominence as a burial one. Gordon's idea seemed a good way around this - provided (as he illustrated) a clear reason statement is provided.
It's a case of whether it should be acknowledged how widespread cremation now is, compared to a burial. Also, arguments on this issue are always going to be complex - e.g. were the ashes actually buried? Even with burials alone, there is the situation that many individuals' remains have since been removed from their original burial place. So what is the "final resting place"?
Until the issue of the visibility of the cremation event is given the attention many users believe is deserves (i.e. other than leaving it under "Other Information") there will continue to be suggestions for a better alternative to the current position.0
Paul said: Sorry to labour the point, but it's a case of solving the problem like my grandmother's cremation being given equal importance / prominence in Family Tree as my grandfather's burial. However, one event can be clearly seen on the person page and the other is hidden from direct view. That situation just does not seem right to many users.
Maybe there is a religious aspect involved here - otherwise, why not title the section as "Burial or Cremation"? I assume "Vitals" (I can't find a precise definition on the website) relates to ordinances, and cremations do not form part of the process. If this is not the factor, my question stands.0
Tom Huber said: In my opinion,a any attempt to combine burial with cremation does not resolve the matter. I think Gordon’s solution is better than changing the burial label to be either or burial or cremation.0
Adrian Bruce said: "many users would like to see a cremation event given the same prominence as a burial one"
In most cases, cremation is followed by a burial - that of the ashes. (I regard scattering of the ashes as a burial). So, in most cases, users could enter a burial, even when a cremation is involved.
I suspect that you're close to the mark, in that these users would regard the cremation as replacing the burial in significance, with the interment of the ashes being just some final detail**. These people would like to see that cremation in the Vitals instead of the Burial.
And I've just realised that the way to summarise all my comment above is to say that the important thing to these people is the funeral. Not the interment of the body nor the interment of the ashes.
So - yet again, we see the limitation of FS's weird design choice to limit serious data processing to just four Vital Events - if it could be opened up, we could allow baptism and christening into the so-called Vitals (assuming we could explain to the the Hungarians why we had two items labelled the same .... Sorry Juli, what did you say? :-) ) And we could allow Funeral, Cremation and Burial in as well - all with equal significance. (Note Funeral, Cremation and Burial can all be at different sites)
** "interment of the ashes being just some final detail" No disrespect is intended but it's a fact that the vast majority of people at a cremation service will never see the interment of the ashes, so remember only the cremation service.0
Adrian Bruce said: "Maybe there is a religious aspect involved here "
Or is it just that the original paper documents just had Birth, Christening, Death and Burial so they have been copied over without alteration? Did cremation even exist in the Western World when genealogy got organised with forms?0
Jeff Wiseman said: I think that the true point here is being totally missed. It is not about what is important to somebody, it is about record keeping.
Record keeping must be structured and follow certain rules to be useful. I know of people who don't think certain irresponsible biological fathers should be recorded. I know of folks that don't want it to be recorded that their grandfather had an illegitimate child. I know of people who don't want the fact that their grandmother was married and then divorce 4 times recorded. And more recently there are those that do not want **** marriages recorded in their portions of the tree even though they were legally enacted and recorded by the government as a vital.
It is not about what may be important to somebody, it is about proper record keeping.
Everyone has a birth. Almost all people get married (at least they used to). Many in the western world are christened. Everyone dies. And ultimately, everyone's body is returned to the earth in one fashion or another. There are huge archives of records documenting all of these events. Any one of these is capable of uniquely identifying a person in the world.
And since (in general) they HAVE to have occurred, that is why these are referred to as "Vitals". Because to uniquely identify an individual, you need the record of these events and facts, and the events have normally been formally recorded.
Everyone does NOT have to be cremated. So where are government archives of cremations kept? In general, there are none because it wasn't common to keep these kind of records. Where they do exist, they are typically only annotations on a death certificate. And identifying someone from a cremation record was never considered "vital" to uniquely identifying someone. Cremation is NOT a Vital event! That is why over the years, a Cremation event was never identified as a vital in any genealogical record system. That's why it never shows up as a vital. Because everyone does not HAVE to be cremated, that information is not classified as a vital like a death event is. Everyone will die.
That's just the way genealogical records are kept. Consistent and logical. Not based on emotional preferences.
Note, a Cremation or mummification, etc. of a body may be a burial rite, and so information about it might accompany burial information, but since the burial vital has always been the one usually recorded by governments, again the cremation information is not a vital and cannot replace the burial vital.
You may ask then "why is christening a vital". Just like cremation can be a rite of burial, christening (and it's parallels in different cultures) are considered rites of birth. However, in many areas where the christening records were kept, there were no actual birth records kept. Christening records were considered more important by "the authorities" so in those areas the Christening record was a Vital. In the areas where it was practiced (and where a lot of western civilization descended from), EVERYONE was expected to be christened or put through these birth rites--hence they were the vitals at that time.
Although the cremation may be emotionally impactful to those associated with the deceased and useful information in the record, it is still not a vital from a genealogical record keeping standpoint. So FS should not create their own "Vital" for cremation. The custom event records in the Other information area or the Notes are where this information belongs.0
Paul said: Perhaps Tom (or anybody else) could provide a URL (FamilySearch or dictionary) where the definition of a "Vital" (in the genealogical sense, of course) is provided.
So far (even on the FS website), I have only seen definitions along the lines of, " Vital records are birth, marriage, divorce, and death records..."
In this case, why include christenings and burials in the Vitals section, but not cremations - or divorces, come to that? Sorry, Adrian does address that point (above), but agreement from a long-standing member of the LDS Church would help to confirm his suggestion.0
Jeff Wiseman said: Paul,
For those that don't believe my lengthy post above :-) Here are some URLs. But they all say the same thing: vital records are what the government calls "vital records" and they do not include anything outside of what FS (and all other genealogical systems) classify as vital records.
And cremation is not included anywhere.
Adrian Bruce said: I have to disagree with Jeff's view on the importance of cremation v. burial.
Either both of cremation and burial should be considered as vital events or neither should. UK government (or their nominees) records will cover both burial and cremation in equal detail, so both are equally critical / important for record keeping. (I'm dubious about the recording of interment of ashes and certain that no records are kept of some other dispositions like scattering by relatives).
Christening is there as a vital, as Jeff points out, because it's a proxy for birth. Conversely, arguably burial is there because it's a proxy for death. But that's only because we exist in a culture where cremation didn't come along until after the general introduction of civil records for death. Historical accident is surely not a good guide to record keeping.
And in cultures where cremation is the norm, is FS really going to say that their cremations are not Vital but our burials are Vital? Or that the cremations can't act as a proxy for death?0
joe martel said: I think Jeff has provided a good synopsis of why it is the way it is. Most of it comes from all the genealogy programs and displays that preceded FSFT.
The vitals section is meant to give the core attributes of a Person to help recognize if thats the one, and it mimics the typical set of historical records (birth/baptism). Name, Sex, Birth, Death (living /dead) are the main ones. Christening and Burial make up for the lapse when Birth and Death aren't known, probably because we might have more evidence because biological event of birth and death weren't captured, but the government/religious... event was more formally captured.
So, what about Cremation. Personally, it does seem equivalent to burial, (close to but not the same as described in previous posts). I can see having a cremation and burial event, or one or the other as well. If I don't see a Burial, I may go look for that evidence, but if I knew they were cremated I wouldn't look too hard.
So we would want to support both (which FS does), but the issue is the Cremation is in the Other Info section. This is also similar to Stillborn. I wouldn't read too much into the significance of these with respect to what section they are in - it's a matter of how much info is enough info to ascertain this Person vs that Person.
So I don't have a solution, yet. Should FS add Cremation to this section? Personally I think it's already hard to read. And what about Stillborn...?
Paul said: Sorry, Jeff, your comments must have been obscured from view, but I still should have seen / read them.
You put a good argument for FamilySearch putting "Christening" in the Vitals section, but I still can't see how (apart from historically) a burial today is any different (in a sense) from a cremation. You don't have to be cremated, but neither do you have to be buried (ashes kept on the mantelpiece, etc.).
The URLs you provide all give the explanation that births, marriages, deaths and divorces are "vitals", so there is still no genealogical reason for Family Tree to have births, christenings, deaths and burials in its Vitals section.
You must be aware that many users have expressed their unhappiness over the display of cremation (and divorce) details. I know there would still be the issue of how the subsequent burial of the remains ("ashes") would be recorded, but my preference is for a drop-down allowing the choice of "Buried" or "Cremated". If the "ashes" are later interred, the user (if they so wished) could choose to change / edit the entry from Cremated to Buried and input a revised date & place.
In a world where cremations are now exceeding (I believe) burials, it seems crazy that the former should be treated as such a secondary event (in the "Other Information" section).
However much we might disagree of this issue (cremation detail in FT Vitals section), I still await a definition of "Vital(s)" that includes burials and christenings!0
Adrian Bruce said: As I think we both know, Jeff's cited sources don't include baptisms or burials. So they're not Vital.
But as we also know and agree, baptisms and burials are (ahem) vital to act as proxies / surrogates for otherwise unknown births and deaths. And so, in some cultures, cremations will act as proxies for unknown deaths.0
Paul said: Sorry, I'm such a slow typist it appears (from the "timings") I added my comments AFTER those of Adrian and Joe, but I had not read their comments until finishing my own previous post!
Good points from you both.0
Adrian Bruce said: No, I would not want to add anything more to the Vitals section as it is. Too busy, as you say.
But in those cultures (or families?) where cremation is used as the prime rite of passage, instead of burial, it seems odd to insist on its exclusion.
Personally, I think that
(a) if we could have source tagging to any event and attribute (because until that happens FS is treating cremation as an event of secondary importance)
(b) if FS restricts the individual Vitals to just the two of birth and death - or a proxy of any event individually nominated by a user in the event of the absence of one of those
then much of the heat would go out of this discussion.0