Author Topic: When requesting Photos - check for a headstone first  (Read 26397 times)

Offline Plummiegirl

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When requesting Photos - check for a headstone first
« on: Saturday 30 October 10 21:07 BST (UK) »
I regularly see requests on here for photos to be taken of ancestors' graves (I have done this myself).

Even if you know the name of cemetery, plot no. etc., do, before posting on here, contact the cemetery office to check that there is a gravestone or marker to be photographed.

Many of our ancestors, although they paid into insurance and "burial clubs" would only have had enough money for the basic burial and not for a memorial.

I know from past experience that not all graves have headstones.  Also when you think about it, if every grave in a cemetery had a headstone they would have run out of space far quicker than they did.  I would say that on average most cemeteries must have only about 3/4 of their graves marked.  And remember that plot number could easily be a paupers/council burial.
Fleming (Bristol) Fowler/Brain (Battersea/Bristol)    Simpson (Fulham/Clapham)  Harrison (W.London, Fulham, Clapham)  Earl & Butler  (Dublin,New Ross: Ireland)  Humphrey (All over mainly London) Hill (Reigate, Bletchingly, Redhill: Surrey)
Sell (Herts/Essex/W. London)

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Offline Chris in 1066Land

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Re: When requesting Photos - check for a headstone first
« Reply #1 on: Sunday 04 March 12 11:57 GMT (UK) »
Hi there

Some sound advice here from Plummiegirl.

Having transcribed churchyard memorials now for over 20 years, I have found that only about 10% have any kind of marker on them, and the longer the marker has been open to the elements, the more likely it will be illegible.  An experienced Stonemason once told me that thanks to Acid Rain, tombstones have deteriorated more in the last 50 years than in the previous 200 years.
As an example - St John Sub Castro in Lewes has according to the burial registers (1602 to 1993), some 6591 residents buried in its churchyard, of which we found 770 memorials, which as mentioned earlier is approx 1 in 9.(rounded up is about 10%)
Because the churchyard was very largely overgrown when we first started work on it, thus protecting the Inscriptions, only 18 stones failed to give us any information as to the inhabitants.

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Offline Laytown

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Re: When requesting Photos - check for a headstone first
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 17 April 12 18:46 BST (UK) »
Hi Both,
As a regular contributor to a free site for memorial photo's and also I take many volunteer photo's I can agree that many are in poor shape. However many cemetery offices have no idea if there is a memorial stone -if you are lucky you can obtain a plot number but having put your idea to the test I was told if you would like to check for a gravestone here is the situation but we have no idea.
Much of my volunteer work is in Parish Churchyards -my record was searching for 36 family graves for an Australian gentleman -I found 2!Perhaps I am in the minority but I never consider it a wasted journey if I arrive and find no headstone.Many people are grateful for a photograph of the Church/Cemetery and a few general shots.
Surely it's not purely about collecting gravestone photo's -many people are just very interested to see where their relatives were laid to rest.
L

Offline beansgram

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Re: When requesting Photos - check for a headstone first
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 19 May 12 21:58 BST (UK) »
hi chatters I live in Pennsylvania USA. I have been photographing entire cemeteries some with as many as 20,000 souls buried there. I was on the search for a child who was born and died in the same year according to my family history.  However mandatory registration of birth and death in Pennsylvania was not established until 1906.  so with that in mind what proof is there that a child existed if there are no church records and the child was born and died between census years?  The only proof for some of these births and deaths is a cemetery transcription or a tombstone photo.  It is not about collecting photos, it's about having the means to possibly help someone, that maybe one of my photos can help someone with their own family history it makes the time I spend in the cemeteries worth it.    Beans
drylie,mcpherson,tod,burt,beveridge
fife dunfermline kincross iverness

Offline DudleyWinchurch

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Re: When requesting Photos - check for a headstone first
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 19 May 12 23:26 BST (UK) »
and, on the other hand, I was assured by a Dublin cemetery that one of my family graves would not have a headstone because:

1. it was not a private plot as there were two many burials in it (11 listed).
2. The grave was never finally purchased by the family, although exclusively used by them, and no memorial could be added before the purchase.
3. It was in an area of the graveyard where most of the stones originally there, have by now been damaged/removed.

After confirming that two of the "single" burials for this family were indeed in the same plot, they adjusted their records so that I could find the rest of the burials in this plot and, on visiting, I found and photographed the plot and the stone.  The inscription, although barely legible, indicated that the memorial was erected after the first (two) burials and added to after the third, all in the first five years after the first burial in the 1850s.  There were no further additions to the memorial but the information there confirmed the parents of one of the couple I had been looking for. 

Even where extensive records exist for a cemetery, as with civil registers and church records, it doesn't mean that they are always complete and correct.  I was so glad that I had bothered to pursue this.
McDonough, Oliver, McLoughlin, O'Brien, Cuthbert, Keegan, Quirk(e), O'Malley, McGuirk (Ireland)
Dudley, Winchurch, Wolverson, Brookes (Black Country)
Concannon, Moore, Markowski (Markesky), Mottram, Lawton (Black Country)

Offline Hunnyb22

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Re: When requesting Photos - check for a headstone first
« Reply #5 on: Thursday 30 August 12 14:19 BST (UK) »
This has been the case when researching my family tree. My maternal grandparents didn't have a gravestone at all, so I asked at the office and someone had to show me the plot, it's very sad that the family couldn't afford a headstone.

My own parents' gravestone (white chalkstone type) was so worn my family put together to buy a new one, black marble with gold lettering, much easer to read and less chance of it wearing away.

Offline Huckleberry

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Re: When requesting Photos - check for a headstone first
« Reply #6 on: Thursday 30 August 12 18:17 BST (UK) »
I have had many a "no stone found" trip  but I take a photo of the plot and the surrounds. I don't think of it as a wasted trip. There again our family plot has no headstone!

Offline Plummiegirl

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Re: When requesting Photos - check for a headstone first
« Reply #7 on: Friday 31 August 12 11:24 BST (UK) »
Huckleberry - you have missed my point - its OK to go for yourself and find 'nothing'. 

However if some kind person takes the time to look for you then surely you should have thought in the first place about contacting cemetery etc., before sending that person off on a wild goose chase.

Many people on here will go a along way (even though local) to help people with photographs of graves and even houses etc., so the courtesy of making sure there is actually something to photograph should be taken into account.

Very early on in my reasearch I went from the outer boundaries of South London to the outer boundaries of North London (no easy feat) one hot Saturday morning to visit my g/grandmothers grave.  Only to find nothing as it turned out the plot was a council grave, with several others nearby, so the whole area was bare.  Very frustrating and nearly a whole day wasted.  I learned from that experience to call in advance in future.
Fleming (Bristol) Fowler/Brain (Battersea/Bristol)    Simpson (Fulham/Clapham)  Harrison (W.London, Fulham, Clapham)  Earl & Butler  (Dublin,New Ross: Ireland)  Humphrey (All over mainly London) Hill (Reigate, Bletchingly, Redhill: Surrey)
Sell (Herts/Essex/W. London)

Offline hugatree

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Re: When requesting Photos - check for a headstone first
« Reply #8 on: Friday 31 August 12 11:30 BST (UK) »
Providing there is no conflict over copyright with the cemetery, have you thought about adding the photo's and transcriptions to findagrave.com?  It was down to a volunteer in the US that I traced the whereabouts of a branch of my family tree and then on to living relatives.

Hugs