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Old 04-17-2021, 11:22 PM
 
Location: Gulf Coast
1,416 posts, read 891,758 times
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I once looked up my father's grave. Lady in the office said my mother did NOT pay for the perpetual care which would have kept it straight and untoppled or unsunk and possibly cleaned. I've been considering calling this place, asking if I might add that fee and have it protected forever. I am not in that northern city to do anything myself.
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Old 04-18-2021, 04:31 AM
 
Location: Gettysburg, PA
2,007 posts, read 1,966,062 times
Reputation: 4188
Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post
When I used to do Find A Grave, there were a lot of stones that were impossible to read. (There were also empty places where a gravestone used to be.) The historical society in that small town had very little money to do restorations.

We did restore one stone that had sunk way beneath the ground over the centuries and there was some mixture that had been approved for cleaning. We were careful to only use the approved products.

I don't live there anymore, unfortunately, but I remember wishing that some of the people who sent in requests could realize that we are losing gravestones and entire burial grounds due to lack of upkeep, which is due to lack of money. I guess this is my way of saying--if you are requesting photos and lookups and can afford it, could you please consider donating something to the historical societies of the towns?

This was in Massachusetts in some of the non wealthy, ordinary towns and they are some of the most important early cemeteries and burial grounds of the very early settlers. I would imagine small town New Hampshire falls into the same category. The old burial grounds from the 17th C are very much at risk. In some cases it's even too late.
I will have to look into the historical society here and see what they can do about upkeep (and offer what I can give to help with that). One cemetery my mother and I visited nearby (Gettysburg, though I think this one was out toward Littlestown, pa) was so terribly sad to see. The graves were from the 1700s and 1800s and hardly any were standing and hardly any could be read. I don't know if I'm remembering correctly, but I thought I recalled some were collected into a pile or two so that if there are no records, it would be impossible to even know where they were supposed to be. It was just heartbreaking. This one was out in the middle of the woods with no church nearby so I imagine it was left unkept for a great many years.
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Old 04-18-2021, 07:59 AM
 
Location: northern New England
4,133 posts, read 2,147,006 times
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I do FindAGrave. In my area there is one cemetery that is good about cleaning, esp. the white marble stones, although I wonder if they are a little too vigorous as some seem eroded. Not sure what they use.


Another cemetery does not clean them, but does repair broken ones and props up fallen stones. The first cemetery just leaves fallen stones on the ground and mows around them.


I do what cleaning I can before I photograph, I don't use any solution, I have a couple of plastic scrapers that work well on loose lichen. Also a whisk broom.
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Old 04-18-2021, 10:46 AM
 
3,832 posts, read 1,726,777 times
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My cousins and I got together and replaced our grandfathers headstone, which was a cement block with his name and dates scratched in with a stick, with a proper granite stone with his name and dates on the front, and on the back, his wife's name(she's buried 150 miles away, as she lived 40 years longer) and the name of his children in order of birth.
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Old 04-18-2021, 08:14 PM
 
4,264 posts, read 1,629,507 times
Reputation: 10979
Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post
When I used to do Find A Grave, there were a lot of stones that were impossible to read. (There were also empty places where a gravestone used to be.) The historical society in that small town had very little money to do restorations.

We did restore one stone that had sunk way beneath the ground over the centuries and there was some mixture that had been approved for cleaning. We were careful to only use the approved products.

I don't live there anymore, unfortunately, but I remember wishing that some of the people who sent in requests could realize that we are losing gravestones and entire burial grounds due to lack of upkeep, which is due to lack of money. I guess this is my way of saying--if you are requesting photos and lookups and can afford it, could you please consider donating something to the historical societies of the towns?

This was in Massachusetts in some of the non wealthy, ordinary towns and they are some of the most important early cemeteries and burial grounds of the very early settlers. I would imagine small town New Hampshire falls into the same category. The old burial grounds from the 17th C are very much at risk. In some cases it's even too late.
A bit OT, but I've always wondered what ultimately happens to cemeteries. I mean, are they owned forever? I guess I don't know-- are they owned by a city or municipality, or a private company? If the latter, what if the company goes under or just doesn't want to own a cemetery anymore?
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Old 04-19-2021, 07:52 AM
 
Location: Cumberland
5,724 posts, read 9,151,388 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VTsnowbird View Post
I do FindAGrave. In my area there is one cemetery that is good about cleaning, esp. the white marble stones, although I wonder if they are a little too vigorous as some seem eroded. Not sure what they use.


Another cemetery does not clean them, but does repair broken ones and props up fallen stones. The first cemetery just leaves fallen stones on the ground and mows around them.


I do what cleaning I can before I photograph, I don't use any solution, I have a couple of plastic scrapers that work well on loose lichen. Also a whisk broom.
My family went through a "let's use limestone" phase in the mid-late 19th century century, and they are all horribly eroded now. We transcribed all the data 10-15 years ago.
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Old 04-19-2021, 08:45 AM
 
12,438 posts, read 5,162,952 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Labonte18 View Post
I'm excited to get out that way and see some of the cemeteries out there this June. They're so different from what I'm used to here in South Carolina. Our cemeteries, especially the older ones, could really be considered.. Antebellum is probably the best word.



You're going to see lots of grass.. Magnolias, most likely. Often you'll see where family planted a tree by the grave (and it has perhaps grown and toppled the marker now).. Lots of wrought iron fencing and some really cool old stone walls surrounding plots and occasionally entire cemeteries.


An old western cemetery.. No grass or anything.. Just so different. And I'm betting lichen is a totally foreign concept out there.
My dad's side of the family has a family cemetery in Welch OK. It looks 'prairie'.
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Old 04-19-2021, 09:20 AM
 
3 posts, read 395 times
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I feel there should be an organization that should be in charge of approving chemicals that can be used for different stones. I know quite a number of people that has used wrong chemicals on grave stones which led to destruction of the stone.
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Old 04-19-2021, 10:12 AM
 
12,367 posts, read 9,750,766 times
Reputation: 15830
Quote:
Originally Posted by K12144 View Post
A bit OT, but I've always wondered what ultimately happens to cemeteries. I mean, are they owned forever? I guess I don't know-- are they owned by a city or municipality, or a private company? If the latter, what if the company goes under or just doesn't want to own a cemetery anymore?

I actually talked to someone who owns a cemetery here in SC.. They're required to send something like 20% of the cost of the plot to a state organization that keeps the money invested and should the cemetery go under, funds are used to provide services to the cemetery. Though those services can be limited to simply keeping the grass cut.


Quote:
Originally Posted by westsideboy View Post
My family went through a "let's use limestone" phase in the mid-late 19th century century, and they are all horribly eroded now. We transcribed all the data 10-15 years ago.

It was common.. And limestone is so soft that even rain can erode them over enough time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by benhouston View Post
I feel there should be an organization that should be in charge of approving chemicals that can be used for different stones. I know quite a number of people that has used wrong chemicals on grave stones which led to destruction of the stone.

In general, there is. Look to the government and what the have approved for cleaning military markers. D2 and Wet and Forget are two that are approved for stone markers. Tested without question on Marble, Granite and Sandstone.. Anything else you test on a small portion to determine if there are any ill effects.


I've been testing out Wet and Forget on a few markers to see how it works. It's significantly cheaper than D2 (approximately $4 a gallon vs $41 a gallon)..



D2 is flat out the gold standard, tho.. I mean, if they're going to use it in Arlington and on the White House..
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Old 04-19-2021, 01:07 PM
 
7,264 posts, read 2,980,327 times
Reputation: 7577
Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post
When I used to do Find A Grave, there were a lot of stones that were impossible to read. (There were also empty places where a gravestone used to be.) The historical society in that small town had very little money to do restorations.

We did restore one stone that had sunk way beneath the ground over the centuries and there was some mixture that had been approved for cleaning. We were careful to only use the approved products.

I don't live there anymore, unfortunately, but I remember wishing that some of the people who sent in requests could realize that we are losing gravestones and entire burial grounds due to lack of upkeep, which is due to lack of money. I guess this is my way of saying--if you are requesting photos and lookups and can afford it, could you please consider donating something to the historical societies of the towns?

This was in Massachusetts in some of the non wealthy, ordinary towns and they are some of the most important early cemeteries and burial grounds of the very early settlers. I would imagine small town New Hampshire falls into the same category. The old burial grounds from the 17th C are very much at risk. In some cases it's even too late.



I do a lot of work on Find A Grave setting up and linking my extended family as well as doing volunteer photos for others. Six generations of my family are buried in the same cemetery in RI including three sets of great great grandparents. Unfortunately, the actual location of one set is unknown. My mother had told stories of visiting it as a child and the marker being damaged back then in the 1930's. It is believed that the marker was eventually removed and their final resting place has open grass above it. The cemetery office cannot even help as there was an office fire in the 1920's which destroyed all their records up until then.


Many markers back in the late 1800's and early 1900's in New England were made of limestone which does not fare well with the local weather. Inscriptions have become unreadable and many markers have cracked and often removed which fits what you had found. I however was recently heartened to see someone taking photo's of one set of great great grandparents that had come over from Ireland. Their white limestone obelisk style marker is still there and can still be read up real close. The person taking photos had no family connection and was working as a volunteer for the RI Historical Society for a project to preserve the history of these old markers before they are forever lost. This person was using a full length mirror to better help capture the engraving text.
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