TIPS ON TRANSCRIBING A CEMETERY
By Barbara Koska Timm
During warm weather, start early in the day.
For transcriptions you will need a Pen, a Legal Pad and a Clipboard (for
a hard surface).
To clean or clear inscriptions you will need a Soft Brush.
For tracings you will need Carbon Paper and a Tennis Ball.
For reading very dark tombstones, baby powder sprinkled on the instriptions is sometimes helpful.
To do tracings, place a blank piece of paper on the section of the stone
that you wish to trace. Over that, place a piece of carbon paper, carbon
against the paper. Rub over the inscription with the tennis ball until
you get a readable negative.
Visually plan out how you will go about transcribing the cemetery, whether
it be by sections, columns or rows. Keep track of where you leave off
by describing the location of the last stone transcribed, the description
of the last stone transcribed or the landscaping near the last stone.
Make use of a consistent plan in the names and dates you transcribe, such
DOE, John Q., 3/01/1897 - 3/30/1947, any pertinent info, and verses or eulogy if desired.
DOE, John Z., birth date - death date & Mary P., birth date - death date,
marriage date if given, "parents of" if given.
Always include family relationships (s/o, d/o, w/o, h/o, etc.), military info and fraternal organization info.
Just use your imagination to prepare a concise list that is easily understandable.
It's miserable to get home and find you missed a date or didn't make a
note that there was a missing date.
You will also need a comfortable pair of shoes, a billed or brimmed hat,
sunscreen, and plenty of drinking water. A carpenter's apron is nice for
carrying things. You won't need a cd player because the birds sing beautifully.
If you're in for the long haul, some snacks or a lunch are good. It's
also nice to have a camera so you can record the entrance to the cemetery
and any notable stones. If you're really worried about creepy-crawlies,
a garden rake doubling as a walking stick or a pistol with snake shot
might be advisable, however I haven't found any snakes yet.
If two of you go together, transcribing may go faster if one reads off the
information and the other writes it down.
Transcribing cemeteries is a very pleasant experience, what with the bird
songs, the sunshine, the soft wind blowing, and absolutely no one to bother
THE RECORDING OF A CEMETERY
by Thelma Greene Reagan
Contributed by Bill Wisen
Today we walked where others walked
On a lonely, windswept hill;
Today we talked where other cried
For Loved Ones whose lives are stilled.
Today our hearts were touched
By graves of tiny babies;
Snatched from the arms of loving kin,
In the heartbreak of the ages.
Today we saw where the grandparents lay
In the last sleep of their time;
Lying under the trees and clouds -
Their beds kissed by the sun and wind.
Today we wondered about an unmarked spot;
Who lies beneath this hollowed ground?
Was it a babe, child, young or old?
No indication could be found.
Today we saw where Mom and Dad lay.
We had been here once before
On a day we'd all like to forget,
But will remember forever more.
Today we recorded for kith and kin
The graves of ancestors past;
To be preserved for generations hence,
A record we hope will last.
Cherish it, my friend; preserve it, my friend,
For stones sometimes crumble to dust
And generations of folks yet to come
Will be grateful for your trust.
Contributed by Bill Wisen
Your tombstone stands among the rest
Neglected and alone,
The name and date are chiseled out
On polished marble stone.
It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn.
You did not know that I exist
You died and I was born,
Yet each of us are cells of you
In flesh and blood and bone,
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
Entirely not our own.
Dear Ancestor ~ the place you filled
One hundred years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
Who would have loved you so.
I wonder how you lived and loved,
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot
And come to visit you.