Find My Ancestor Blog

Graveyard Preparedness – Part 4

This is part of a series on being prepared when visiting cemeteries in your genealogy research.

So you have your camera charged, the location of the grave, and maps to help you on your way, but before you head out let me recommend a few more "tools" to help you be a little bit more prepared.
Do you remember how I told you the headstone was covered in dried mud? It was such a pain to get it clean, especially because I didn't really have much to clean it off with. And I don't want to be ruining any more of my mechanical pencils trying to dig the mud out of the engravings.

When I returned the next day to the cemetery I took with me a few things that really helped to clean it off. I am even creating a little "Graveyard Prep Kit" that I may just keep in the trunk of my car so I can always be prepared to take photos when needed or requested. The kit is very simple and won't cost a lot of money to put together. Included in the kit is:
  • A little hand broom and dust pan
  • A couple of different sized art brushes
  • A pair of scissors to cut way any over-grown grass or weeds surrounding the headstone
  • A bottle or two of water to clean and wipe down the headstone
  • A couple of rags to wipe it down
  • A pointed object such as a screwdriver to get dirt, rocks, and other objects out of the engravings(of course being careful not to damage or scratch the headstone)
  • A toothbrush to help clean and free the headstone from debris.
This kit is just an idea of things to bring with you when visiting cemeteries. Please let me know any other ideas you may do for cleaning headstones. It can be very frustrating to get to a cemetery, especially if you had to travel far, and find that the headstone is covered with dirt and debris and is illegible. Having the right tools can make the trip easier and at the same time you will be doing a good deed by helping someone's headstone shine.

Graveyard Preparedness Checklist
  • Charge camera battery
  • Make sure there is enough room on the camera's memory card
  • Research location of grave
  • Find a map of the cemetery to pinpoint the location
  • Put together a Graveyard Prep Kit and take it with

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