Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cemetery Kit

ANNOUNCEMENT! Posts for two weeks will be brief with genealogy tips only. When the blogger returns (Oct 28) we will go back to our standard format. As they say: “Don’t go away. We’ll be right back!”

Genealogy tip for today: Cemetery Kit

You’re all geared up and ready to hit the trails. Wait a moment – hold your horses, as my mom used to say. You need to put together what is called a cemetery kit. I have one put together that I keep in the garage. I just grab it and take it with me when I get ready to hit the road.

I’ll give you a list. Virtually all these are household items that are easy to find and/or inexpensive to purchase. I’ll also find you website you can check for similar information. And of course, your supplies will depend on which way you are going to do your reading – photo, rubbings, or other.

This is pretty much a master list, because you may find from time to time one method will work one time, but you will need to do something different another time. Before we get to the list, there are calculators on the internet that can help you determine a birth date, but the age at death.

Cleaning and Rubbing Supplies:



Shaving foam

Spray bottle of water

Two gallons of water (or more)

Paper Towels


Rubber Gloves

Garden Gloves

Large Ziploc bags or small trash bags

Clean towels or rags (several)

Masking tape or painter’s tape (leaves no residue)

Newsprint or rice paper

Charcoal or unwrapped crayons

Moist Towelettes

Metal polish, clean soft rags or cotton balls


Craft sticks

Grass clippers

Small hand shovel (used with potted plants)

Trowel (shovel or trowel may be needed to clean grass or gravel from around the grave marker.)

Kneeling board

Painter’s plastic or large trash bags cut open (coverage for ground in case it’s muddy)

Small, long dowel rod* (or metal rod)

Metal Detector*

Mallet (to gently tap on the rod) – or use your shoe. J

Office Supplies:



Pens, pencils

Eraser or art gum

Ruler or tape measure

Pencil sharpener (handheld)

Small stapler and staple remover

Paper clips


Camera supplies

Umbrella (or a foam board covered in aluminum foil)


SD card, film



Flood Lamps

Photographer’s umbrella

Plywood or board, (for photography equipment to set on)

Personal Needs:

Band aids

First aid ointment


Magnifying glass

Kleenex, personal size

Allergy kit (if needed)

Snake bit kit

Sturdy shoes/hiking shoes/socks

Long pants, long sleeved shirts

Broad brim straw hat

Bug spray



Snack Bars (clean up your trash)


Maps, or printed out maps from the Internet

*The dowel rod may seem like an odd piece to take. When you don’t have a grave marker, you can sometimes find an older grave by poking the rod down into the ground. If they were just buried in wood, the wood may be decayed and the ground may be fairly soft from being dug up. If it’s virgin soil it will be hard and possibly have rock layers. You can’t always make a firm decision, but this can help you deduct possibilities. The metal detector can help for the same reason. If you have one or can get access to one, it may also be of help. The cemetery association or caretakers may have maps for you. These items (dowel rod and metal detector) are also helpful in finding graves that are on the map, but not otherwise marked. They can also be useful in find buried headstones.

This is more than you can pack into a medium box or plastic container, but you can always set up a basic one and add the clothes and camera equipment when you go. Take good notes – of where you go, what you find and what you need next time.

And if you think of something not on this list – drop me a comment and I’ll be glad to add it to the list. Also - feel free to copy the list.

Here are a couple of examples of people's kits:

Happy Hunting.

If any of these posts are helpful drop us a line in the comments section below. We just want to know if the information we provide to you is helpful in anyway.


Now You Know!