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20-08-2018, 12:01   #1
leck
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Applying chalk to headstones to read inscriptions

I belong to a genealogy group on FB where people sometimes post photos of headstones in conjunction with their research. Yesterday one of the members of the group, on a visit from the US, visited an old graveyard and proudly posted pics to the group where she had obviously heavily chalked the inscriptions on a number of headstones.

I know applying chalk in order to read inscriptions is very tempting but there are other methods that have less impact. Is there a good guide online to those?

I have a copy in front of me of a publication from The Heritage Council - "Guidance for the Care, Conservation and Recording of Historic Graveyards". I was going to direct her to that, but there is a typo in the relevant section that mentions chalk so it reads the opposite of what I presume they intend to say.

"Memorials in a graveyard are in a constant state of decay from the natural process of weathering. It is important therefore to record the location and gather detailed information of every memorial before this data is lost as a result of this natural decaying process. Non-impact methods of recording should be used such as chalk rubbings of inscriptions or use of wire brushes to clean lichen off memorials as these impact methods speed up the process of decay. Non-impact methods of recording memorials should be used such as lighting the memorial with artificial light as described under the relevant section below."

Guessing that should read "... Non-impact methods of recording should be used AS OTHER METHODS such as chalk rubbings ..."

Last edited by leck; 20-08-2018 at 13:32.
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20-08-2018, 12:04   #2
pinkypinky
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The best ones I've heard of are:

Pour water over the stone - easier to read when wet
Non-wire brush to clean off lichen
Take photo and then flip into negative on your computer
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20-08-2018, 12:05   #3
leck
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Just had a look at previous posts and it seems she's going mad with the chalk around the graveyards.
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20-08-2018, 12:05   #4
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total guess, but I would interpret a 'chalk rubbing' as using paper + chalk to reproduce the engraving on the paper?

https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Gravestone-Rubbing
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20-08-2018, 13:01   #5
leck
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Originally Posted by beans View Post
total guess, but I would interpret a 'chalk rubbing' as using paper + chalk to reproduce the engraving on the paper?

https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Gravestone-Rubbing
This is not what I was referring to. She is applying the chalk directly to the headstones and doing it heavily so she can get a good photos. And not just white chalk, which is bad enough, but pink chalk too. In one shot she doesn't just confine herself to the inscription, but chalked up the decorative elements too.
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20-08-2018, 13:13   #6
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One example
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20-08-2018, 13:15   #7
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and in that case, it looks as if the inscription was already perfectly legible.
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20-08-2018, 13:16   #8
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Another one

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20-08-2018, 13:58   #9
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That is pretty bad. I also thought you meant rubbing with tracing paper.

But since she's an anonymous person on the internet - not much you can do about it, beyond replying and saying that is damaging church property.
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20-08-2018, 14:05   #10
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And a vision in pink

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20-08-2018, 14:07   #11
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If I was the family who owned this plot, I'd be upset.

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20-08-2018, 14:17   #12
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Well, if you want to go further, you could contact the church yard and point them at the person online...
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20-08-2018, 14:30   #13
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I've posted these pics before of rubbings onto newsprint with carbon paper.
The resulting image is very clear and there is little or no affect on the stone.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 4GmjX4.jpg (50.2 KB, 164 views)
File Type: jpg 7WZnCR.jpg (47.0 KB, 122 views)
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21-08-2018, 12:52   #14
Earnest
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I contacted the Heritage Council about this and they replied:

"Yes, there is a typo on p34 as you suggest.

P22 does state correctly – ‘Do not take rubbings of carved stones, or use chalk to outline the carvings…’

I don’t do boards.ie but please feel free to point this out on this forum. I will have to exhaust the printed copies but I will amend the pdf version so it can be corrected online."
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22-08-2018, 17:47   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leck View Post
Non-impact methods of recording memorials should be used such as lighting the memorial with artificial light as described under the relevant section below."
Can the OP post a link to the above guidelines on "non-impact" methods. Using artificial light is "easier said than done" - is there a particular type of light recommended?
I have tried both battery torches and photographic flash units with not much success.
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