Friday, May 18, 2018

Five Photos To Take When Researching A Grave

There are five photos you should get into the habit of taking when you research a family member's grave. I'll do a quick run down of each one. (I actually didn't start doing this until I read a blog post last year, and sorry, I don't remember where I read it at, I just made sure to make a mental note of these. And I wish I had known these much earlier! It would have saved me a lot of hassle now!)

1) Here I have taken a photo of both the church, and the cemetery sign as they are beside of one another. There is only one other church in Waiteville, and there is no cemetery at it, but decided this would confirm the site should in the future that ever change.

2) Take a photo of the tombstone standing back a bit so that you are sure to get the whole stone in. This will give you a good view of the size and shape of the stone.

3) Take a close up of the stone. This way you will be able to get a good look at the engraving and be able to read it well. Unfortunately, this stone needed some good cleaning, and  unless you know that John M died in 1954, you couldn't tell it from the close up.

4) Take a wider shot of the area where the stone is located. Or of the section of the cemetery where the grave is located, in case it's a large cemetery. This will cut down on the search time for it tremendously. And yes, I realize in this day and age where every one is using their cell phone that most cell phones have a geo-locator you can use. However, in this particular cemetery, that wouldn't help, as there is no cell service here. (It's actually a military zone where cell towers cannot be built.) And, as I said, I read the article last year, well after I had taken these photographs. So, there isn't a wider shot. 

5) Lastly, be sure to take photos of the neighbors! The stone to the left and to the right of the one you are interested in. A good way to locate the stone you want, is knowing who the "neighbors" are! Ever gone looking for a house number, couldn't find the number you were searching for, but found the house number before it and the one after it, so the obvious choice is the one in the middle? Same premise here. If you know who is before and who is after, and find one or the other, you know you're in the right area!

Use a good quality camera when doing this. These were taken with a not so cheap digital camera about 15 years ago. Good for the time! But today, my cell phone takes better pictures than my camera does! (I know.... time to upgrade my camera!)

It's also a good idea to carry a notebook and pen or pencil to record where the stone is located. I see a lot of small cemeteries. No plot numbers or permanent caretakers, so you have to hunt for stones. I like to draw out the cemetery in general, breaking it down into visible sections.

This will give you an example of what I mean. The particular stone above is on the left of the drawing. This drawing is from memory. (I know just where I'm going.) But if it's someplace I am totally unfamiliar with, or when I go back, to clarify the location for someone in the future, I would either count up how many rows from the bottom of the cemetery, or how many down from the top and how many  over either from left or right to get to this stone. (Only smart for small cemeteries.)

This particular cemetery is located on a VERY steep hillside. I would also make notation of that, and that it can be particularly dangerous or slippery when trying to walk on the grass when wet, or there is snow or ice. (I take a walking stick or cane with me when I go no matter what the weather!) Oh, and notice the little square on the bottom right marked "OH". Well, that's because there is a very, very nice, well maintained outhouse there. Wonderful if you're going to be there for very long!

I would also make note that all of the trees were recently removed from the cemetery, in case someone who had been there before would come back again and think they might be in the wrong location.

I actually take a backpack with me when I go to the cemetery. For camera, notebook, pens, water for wetting stones (sometimes helps to read them better.) and water for drinking. As well as a snack, such granola bars or a banana, to help keep energy up when it starts to flag. Hand sanitizer or wet wipes. And a bottle of Tylenol or ibuprofen. Along with a foldable hat to prevent summer sun beating down on your noggin. Or a toboggan cap for winter.

I hope you have found this somewhat helpful!

And below you'll find one of my all time favorite cameras on sale! Get everything pictured at a great price!

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