Tuesday Chronicles – Exploring a Cemetery

Posted: March 22, 2011 in Best Practices, Tombstone Chronicles
Tags: ,

While technically not a best practices the following is just a simple guide to getting the most out of a trip to a cemetery – when genealogy is in the air.

Visiting a cemetery for a visit is one thing – its another when you are on the alert for data from the tombstones you see.  You may think that nothing new can be achieved by looking at them.  Lots can be gleamed from a tombstone at the cemetery.

A Nutty Genealogists Cemetery Visitation Kit:

  • 2 notepads of any size – noticed some people are using small blank books as they are more portable.
  • 3 pens  – take a black, blue  & one of green.  Why?  I’ll explain in the next section.
  • Camera – film or digital whichever your budget dictates.
  • Totebag – to carry everything in.

Going to the cemetery should not be a big deal as regards to the kit.  Add anything extra you want to the totebag.  Candy, extra pens, a marker for your notebooks, whatever you want.  Just make sure its light enough for you to carry easily.

The Notepads & Pen Tips – When viewing the tombstones – note down the names on the tombstones with the pens like.

  • Major Surnames – Black Ink,  First Names & dates – Blue Ink, children died in infancy – use Green.
  • Military notations can include a star at the end of the first name in all three colors.
  • Use the green pen to underline anyones first name with a military tombstone.
  • For those with a simple marker giving name or a placemarker – underline first name in Blue

Then introduce any other color pen you want.  Just remember that this scheme is a good starting point only & is simple to use.

Last step – take a picture of all of the tombstones you visited that day.  You never know when the photo might shed more light on needed information.

Notepad renderings and how to read them back:

Double check any entry in your notepad with an underline with the data you already know –  military, placemarker or childhood deaths.

  • For military records can be checked. (For both starred & the underlined)
  • Cemetery office may be able to give more data about placemarkers placed or check with the funeral home
  • Childrens deaths can be checked for in vital records and in obits at times.

Last but not least – the images if in digital can be printed & examined or looked upon on the computer with zoom features etc.  Your favorite imaging software should be checked on for this feature.

Film users – print all images taken and if possible have them placed on a photodisc for imaging saving & for zooming in.  Otherwise, use a good magnifying glass to view for clues.

Hope this helps people – until next Tuesday – this chronicle is closed.


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