Friday, February 26, 2016

Reading Headstones

I love old gravesites and graveyards. There is something very peaceful about them. They are also very informative or can be if you can read the headstones. But what if the headstone is old and weather worn? Well, there are at least three things I know you can do to make a headstone legible.

One, spray it down with water. Lightly spray the headstone, without soaking the words. The letter impressions will show up against the darker outside stone. Then you will be able to read the headstone and take pictures as well as copy the letters onto paper.

Second, you can go on a sunny day, and try to position a mirror under the letters so that the light shines across the front so the letter impressions are highlighted. Then you may be able to take a picture and copy the lettering so you can have a hard copy of the headstone to go with the pictures.

Third, the old standby, rubbing. Please do this gently. Very gently. Do it with graphite and onion paper so there is no friction and no need to rub hard. I do not like this idea, but sometimes, this is the only way that one can read a headstone.

I like the old graveyards, but the cemetaries of today have legible headstones. It is a trade-off. Of course, most ancestors are in the older graveyards and we are looking for our older ancestors.