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.