Genealogists visit cemeteries in the hopes of learning more about their relatives and ancestors. Taking a photograph of a gravestone is an excellent way to capture the information that is on it without causing any harm to the stone itself. What else should you take a photo of?
The Cemetery Sign
Always take a photo of the sign that shows the name of the cemetery. Some genealogists visit many different cemeteries. It can be easy to get confused about who was buried where. The photo you take of the cemetery sign serves as a notation when you go back and look through the rest of your photos.
The information on a gravestone is very useful to genealogists. It shows the name of your ancestor, their birth date, their death date, and perhaps a little bit about how they related to someone else. (Some gravestones identify a person as “wife”, “mother”, “daughter” or “son”.)
Take a nice, clear, photo of the gravestone and you instantly get a copy of all that information. Make sure to take close up photos of the harder to read parts and of any artwork, prose, or sculpture that is on the grave. Some gravestones were used for entire families, with every individual’s name carved on it.
Make sure to take a look at the gravestones nearby the one that marks your ancestor’s grave. People tend to be buried next to family members. You might not immediately recognize the names on the gravestones near your ancestor’s grave when you visited the cemetery. There’s a good chance that at least some of those names belong on your family tree.
Make sure to take nice, clear, photos of those gravestones. Photograph the inscriptions, artwork, and sculpture on the gravestones. The photo is a quick way to record the names, birth dates, and death dates of people who might be your ancestors. The photo gives you a starting point for your research.
Back of the Gravestones
Why would you want a photo of the back of a gravestone? Most of the important information is on the front. Sometimes, additional information can be found on the back of a gravestone. The name of the stone mason who crafted the gravestone could be on the back. It is possible that the Monumental mason’s shop may still hold some useful genealogical information.
Screenshot the Coordinates
Where, exactly, was the grave of your ancestor located? When you first find the gravestone, stop and take a screenshot of the GPS coordinates. That will make your ancestor a lot easier to find on your next trip to that cemetery.
Image by Guy Fisher on Flickr.
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