divide_3.gif (1179 bytes)      THE TOMBSTONE TECHNIQUE      divide_3.gif (1179 bytes)

How to read illegible tombstone inscriptions. Simple, easy technique helps you to read illegible inscriptions on almost any tombstone.  Successful approximately 90% of the time.   Items needed for the "technique" are:

Foamy shaving cream 


Spray bottle of water

Roll of paper towels

This technique was told to me by another genealogist many years ago:  Squirt shaving cream into your hand just as if you are going to shave.  Apply generously to tombstone inscription making sure to fill all of the indented lettering that you wish to read.    Then squeegee off the excess shaving cream (if you don't have a squeegee use the  side of your hand.)  The lettering should now be much more readable.  For a tombstone that has lots of letters & dates you may need to do it in sections.  Use spray bottle of water & paper towels to thoroughly clean tombstone & hands when finished.

NOTE:  This technique has generated some controversy among genealogists.  Some object to it saying the acids in the shaving cream will hasten the deterioration of the stone.  Others, including myself, believe that if rinsed off immediately any damage would be inconsequential.  Many older tombstones are already approaching advanced stages of deterioration & in a few more years may no longer exist so I feel it is important to retrieve the information before it is gone forever.  I used the shaving cream technique on one of my ancestors tombstones without rinsing it off.  Went back 10 years later & could not find any damage to the tombstone or inscription what-so-ever.  So it is up to you to decide whether or not you wish to utilize this technique.

Whenever possible - ALWAYS PHOTOGRAPH TOMBSTONES - They may not always be there.


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