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Old 04-15-2021, 08:10 PM
 
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I'm sure many of us here have used resources like findagrave locating ancestors graves and the like. And, certainly, if they're far away from us.. Looked at the photos to feel like we visited them or requested a volunteer go get a photo of a grave..


I do fulfill requests in my area for findagrave and try to just go document entire cemeteries. But.. Not particularly about that here.


What I'm wondering.. Have any of you restored ancestor graves?


When I got into all this, I was able to track my family back pretty well. I know where everyone back to my great-great-great-great grandparents are buried. Most in the same cemetery.


For the past several years, I've been wanting to have their graves restored. Most of them passed in the late 19th or early 20th century..



A few months ago, I stopped by my grandmothers grave and noticed that the flower vase was pretty nasty, her marker was starting to get some mold.. Looked at the great grandparents on that side, and theirs was.. Not horrible, but.. A few spots.. You can see my grandparents grave here.


https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/...ond-earl-botts



However, They had a daughter who died in 1915 as an infant. That marble marker was placed there at that time and hasn't been touched since then. 105 years.


It was.. nasty. In fact.. Here.. Look at it.


https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/...y-helen-gordon


I've been scared to try anything, but.. I finally broke down and said.. I'm going to get some D2 and see what I can do. I started about a month ago on it.. That thing looks damn close to new. I'll get a new photo in a few weeks just to show the difference. It's still got a few black spots on it. I suspect those are just petrified lichen. The D2 is working on them.. Just slow going. the upper part that is gray in that photo.. Does still have a stained almost rust colored tinge to it.. Wondering if anyone has thoughts on what that is. I'm still going to give the D2 more time to work.. I mean, 105 years can't be undone in a month. But what a difference that month makes!



As for the vase on my grandmothers grave.. My mother says it looks better than it did when new.


On the other side.. I have alot of family here..



https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/...ter=&orderby=n


That's basically the list.. Those crappy looking ones are all marble. Believe it or not. I've cleaned and treated many of those with D2 last weekend.. And am going out to dig up a few of the markers that you can see there that are down.. Theodosia's marker is broken badly.. Jane Fowler's is broken and down, and 2 more are down and just need to be reset. I've got a professional who will take care of the reset and repair on those, we're just going to get the pieces found for him.. And the one that I fear is beyond saving, Theodosia's.. I think i'll have a new marker placed, leaving the pieces of the old. I can't imagine he can save that one.



anyway.. I'll share here some results.. And some costs, because I figure people want to know what it takes to have some of this stuff done. What I can tell you is that D2 costs about $40 a gallon.



I found Wet and Forget, which HAS been approved by the government.. I tested it out on a grave, just to see how it does. It's significantly cheaper.. A gallon of it you can find locally (Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Lowe's) for about $25 per gallon, and it dilutes to make 6 gallons. At the very least, it works great to loosen up the lichen to scrape it off. (plastic scraper)





I also cleaned some aunts and uncles.. You can see them in the lower half of the list here.


https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/...ter=&orderby=n


Samuel and Martha would be my great-grandparents on my mothers side. Then there's my aunt Evelyn and Aunt Ruby (Great aunts, technically).. Those are the only two I knew. Lucian and Luther died before I was born. Bad lichen on all of them. I treated them, scraped off the lichen and sat there with a wooden dowel last weekend cleaning all the lichen from within the lettering and decorations




This has all been.. Weirdly satisfying. I mean, to see the original condition and where they are now. I don't want to post photos until I have them at least where I think they're as good as they can be, but will share those photos at that time. But even the mind numbingly boring part of picking the lichen out of lettering was just.. enjoyable.
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Old 04-16-2021, 01:59 AM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
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I do not have anything to say except be careful with chemicals. Some may damage the stone. I suspect you have probably already researched the issues with cleaning stones, but if not you may want to hit some restoration sites.
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Old 04-16-2021, 05:08 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suzy_q2010 View Post
I do not have anything to say except be careful with chemicals. Some may damage the stone. I suspect you have probably already researched the issues with cleaning stones, but if not you may want to hit some restoration sites.
I would also Google companies that do grave restoration and cleaning. I have a friend who traveled to England and used such a company there for some of her relatives' gravestones.
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Old 04-16-2021, 11:20 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suzy_q2010 View Post
I do not have anything to say except be careful with chemicals. Some may damage the stone. I suspect you have probably already researched the issues with cleaning stones, but if not you may want to hit some restoration sites.

D2 is the gold standard. That's really the only chemical a lay person should be using... Though Wet and Forget, since it's also been approved for use at Arlington and is much the same chemical composition.. I'm testing it on small patches just to see how effective it is.
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Old 04-16-2021, 12:23 PM
 
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Whenever someone says they see rusty looking areas in rocks, I think of iron. So, maybe there's iron traces in the rock of the headstone?
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Old 04-17-2021, 04:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Sassybluesy View Post
Whenever someone says they see rusty looking areas in rocks, I think of iron. So, maybe there's iron traces in the rock of the headstone?

Don't know. I.. Don't PARTICULARLY think so, because the discolored area is where the gray used to be.. The problem is.. It might have looked like that when it was new. Could be that back in the 30's or 40's, my great grandmother had put one of those "Saddle" things on it for flowers and rust from that bled into the stone.


If that doesn't come out with D2 and time.. I'm not going to sweat it much.

I got out to Old Bethel today and dug up the toppled markers to determine where everyone is and exactly what work needs to be done.


Found that it appears one relative does not have a marker. The others.. Even the ones I thought were going to be too damaged.. Once we got dug out around them.. They're not as broken as I thought. So, think we can save all of them.
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Old 04-17-2021, 08:14 PM
 
Location: The High Desert
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I spent a couple hours at a local Albuquerque cemetery and noticed a dozen or more gravestones with seriously stained inscriptions and carvings. These typically were medium/large upright stones. Someone selected and intentionally put something into and around the words and carvings on the stones. It was a gray-rust stain on the light stone surface. I was wondering if there is a stone sealer, an oil or wax based sealer. It seems odd in a high desert climate to need anything like that.
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Old 04-17-2021, 10:17 PM
 
12,367 posts, read 9,750,766 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunGrins View Post
I spent a couple hours at a local Albuquerque cemetery and noticed a dozen or more gravestones with seriously stained inscriptions and carvings. These typically were medium/large upright stones. Someone selected and intentionally put something into and around the words and carvings on the stones. It was a gray-rust stain on the light stone surface. I was wondering if there is a stone sealer, an oil or wax based sealer. It seems odd in a high desert climate to need anything like that.

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.
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Old 04-17-2021, 10:20 PM
 
Location: near bears but at least no snakes
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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.
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Old 04-17-2021, 11:19 PM
 
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Graveyards are so interesting! A lot of cemeteries are overgrown. Have you noticed this? While you are "soaking" do a mow and whipper-snip.
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