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  1. #1
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    Default Successful first grave hunt!

    I went on my first grave hunt yesterday and after nearly 2 hours of pulling back ivy and scrubbing moss from headstones with my bare hands, I found the graves of my 3rd great grandparents John and Hannah Rayner! I felt quite emotional when I finally found them.

    I'm really looking forward to my next hunt but I think I might have to take some sort of scrubbing brush with me this time.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator - Completely bonkers and will never change. Pam Downes's Avatar
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    It is good to find old graves isn't it, but ditch any idea of a scrubbing brush. They are death regarding any remaining inscriptions.

    I might have a link somewhere about gravestones, but if I can't find it google for 'care of old gravestones' or something along those lines. I quickly found this.
    http://www.ncgenweb.us/newhanover/cem1.html which has two further links at the bottom of the page.
    Though neither of them seem to work (you get a 'page 404' message) if you look to the bottom right of the first link's page there are other helpful links to be found such as this one http://
    ctgravestones.org/instructive-articles/cleaning-basics/ (had to split the URL in case it's a commercial site).

    Pam
    Last edited by Pam Downes; 02-08-2017 at 9:19 AM. Reason: Pressed 'submit' before I'd finished typing!
    Vulcan XH558 - “Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

  3. #3

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    Pam's right. Basically, you should leave it looking as it did when you arrived.. Move ivy and/or other plants aside, and it's ok to remove moss if you can do it with something no harder than a lollipop stick (although it can be helpful if it's growing in the text grooves), but as Pam says, definitely no scrubbing. Lichens should not be removed unless very loose.

    I find that it sometimes helps to carry a spray bottle with water and a fairly strong torch. Sometimes if you wet the stone and then light it from the side, you can see more. If it's really bad, I find it helps to close my eyes and trace the letters with my finger tips....

    Stone 7 HERE shows what happened when someone sprayed a stone with something unknown, presumably to improve their photo. You can see the original colour right at the bottom.

    I must admit that I love visiting old burial grounds!

  4. #4
    Knowledgeable and helpful stepives's Avatar
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    A word of caution. In the future, it may be wise to get permissiion to do this. As you could possibly be prosecuted for vandalism

    Also, the Ivy, in it's own way, can protect a gravemarker. Be very gentle with everything you do to any gravemarker, and try and leave it, as you find it.

    Spend more time trying to read any information, without disturbing it. It's not your property, just because your family name is on it.

    With all that said. Congratulations.

    Steve.
    Too many bones, too much sorrow, but until I am dead, there's always tomorrow.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the tips. I will be sure to be more careful next time

  6. #6
    Name well known on Brit-Gen
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    I always have a small hand fork to tease the ivy from the 'stone and gardening gloves, ivy is known for causing itchy rashes!

    When taking a photo of the grave particularly where you have no map layout find a distinguishing tree or grave stone to include in the picture for future reference

  7. #7

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    I've been finding Google Earth photos useful in that context. I usually use a series starting with the whole burial ground, then zooming in.

  8. #8
    Knowledgeable and helpful stepives's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geneius View Post
    I always have a small hand fork to tease the ivy from the 'stone and gardening gloves, ivy is known for causing itchy rashes!

    When taking a photo of the grave particularly where you have no map layout find a distinguishing tree or grave stone to include in the picture for future reference
    Hand fork......YIKES.!!!
    Too many bones, too much sorrow, but until I am dead, there's always tomorrow.

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