Monday, October 28, 2013

Dead Man Talking, part two: Tombstone Rubbings


Genealogy tip for today: Dead Man Talking, Part two

Last week we talked about when to visit the cemetery. Today let’s talk about how to do cemetery rubbings or readings. There are several methods that can be used, some of safer than others.
1. If you have the equipment you can set up a light that sets to the side of the stone and casts shadows from the letters. Then take a picture and print it out. For some reason they are sometimes easier to read then looking directly at the stone.

2. Some folks have used shaving cream foam. Spray them into the stone, with a squeegee clean off the foam, leaving foam in the letters that are carved out. Write down what you find, or take a picture of this. Then with a spray bottle of water wash it off, completely.  If you use any paper towels, be sure and clean up your mess before you leave. There is a caveat – this, over time, can be harsh on the older stones. The newer ones aren’t so bad, but then again, the newer ones you should be able to read, anyway.

3. This is probably the easiest way, rubbing. With this you need large sheets of paper. Newsprint is good for this. With masking tape, fasten your paper to the stone as snug as possible but not so tight it tears. With the side of a crayon, or charcoal (the artist’s kind, not the cooking kind) and rub over the paper. This is similar to putting a penny under a sheet of paper like we did as kids. If the letters are carved in, they should be a different shade then the flat surface of the marker. If the letters are raised, then these are all you should see in the rubbing.

As always, when you are done – whatever method you use, make sure you left the grave as clean or cleaner than before you got there. We want to be sure that genealogists don’t get a bad reputation for how we treat the resting places of our loved ones.


Happy Hunting.





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312   Constantine the Great defeats Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius at the Mulvian Bridge.

969   After a prolonged siege, the Byzantines end 300 years of Arab rule in Antioch.

1216 Henry III of England is crowned.

1628 After a fifteen-month siege, the Huguenot town of La Rochelle surrenders to royal forces.

1636 Harvard College, the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, is founded in Cambridge, Mass.

1768 Germans and Acadians join French Creoles in their armed revolt against the Spanish governor of New Orleans.

1793 Eli Whitney applies for a patent on the cotton gin, a machine which cleans the tight-clinging seeds from short-staple cotton easily and effectively–a job which was previously done by hand.

1863 In a rare night attack, Confederates under Gen. James Longstreet attack a Federal force near Chattanooga, Tennessee, hoping to cut their supply line, the "cracker line." They fail.

1886 The Statue of Liberty, originally named Liberty Enlightening the World, is dedicated at Bedloe's Island, by President Grover Cleveland
Liberty Island, N. Y., formerly

1901 Race riots sparked by Booker T. Washington's visit to the White House kill 34.

1904 The St. Louis police try a new investigation method: fingerprints.

1914 The German cruiser Emden, disguised as a British ship, steams into Penang Harbor near Malaya and sinks the Russian light cruiser Zhemchug.

1914 George Eastman announces the invention of the color photographic process.

1919 Over President Wilson's veto, Congress passes the National Prohibition Act, or Volstead Act, named after its promoter, Congressman Andrew J. Volstead. It provides enforcement guidelines for the Prohibition Amendment.

1927 Pan American Airways launches the first scheduled international flight.

1940 Italy invades Greece, launching six divisions on four fronts from occupied Albania.

1944 The first B-29 Superfortress bomber mission flies from the airfields in the Mariana Islands in a strike against the Japanese base at Truk.

1960 In a note to the OAS (Organization of American States), the United States charges that Cuba has been receiving substantial quantities of arms and numbers of military technicians" from the Soviet bloc.





1875 Gilbert Grosvenor, editor, turned the National Geographic Society's irregularly published pamphlet into a periodical with a circulation of nearly two million.

1896 Howard Hansen, composer, director of the Eastman School of music.

1903 Evelyn Waugh, English novelist who wrote Decline and Fall and Brideshead Revisited.

1909 Francis Bacon, English artist who painted expressionist portraits.

1912 Richard Doll, English epidemiologist who established a link between tobacco smoke and cancer.

1914 Jonas Salk, U.S. scientist who developed the first vaccine against polio.

1955 William Gates, the chairman and CEO of Microsoft Corporation, the world's largest software firm.



This week we'll see five eponyms: words derived from a person's name.



adjective: Pretending to have high moral principles; sanctimonious, hypocritical.

After Seth Pecksniff, a character in Charles Dickens's novel Martin Chuzzlewit. Earliest documented use: 1844.

Charles Dickens describes Pecksniff like this: "Some people likened him to a direction-post, which is always telling the way to a place, and never goes there."

"She said, 'Davis, stop being such a Pecksniffian stuffed shirt.'"
Jay Inman; Sunigin; WestBow Press; 2012.

"In the meantime, the pecksniffian French consul was feigning indignation."
Bob Stockton; Fighting Bob; AuthorHouse; 2011.

Journalist Ed Murrow: "Who owns the patent on this vaccine?" Jonas Salk: "Well, the people, I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?" -Jonas Salk, medical researcher and developer of polio vaccine (1914-1995)




Today’s Recipe

Treats, No Tricks!





4 ounces cake flour (about 1 cup)

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup butter, softened

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped and melted



1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons bourbon

3 large egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon meringue powder

1 tablespoon water

1 cup powdered sugar

Black food coloring



1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. To prepare cupcakes, weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and 1/8 teaspoon salt, stirring with a whisk.

3. Place 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined (about 3 minutes). Add eggs and vanilla, beating well. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to egg mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in chocolate. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups lined with muffin cup liners. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Remove from pan; cool completely on a wire rack.

4. To prepare icing, combine 1/2 cup brown sugar and bourbon in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, for 3 minutes or until a candy thermometer registers 250°. Combine egg whites, cream of tartar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; using clean, dry beaters, beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Pour hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over egg whites, beating at high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low, and continue beating until the egg white mixture cools (about 3 minutes).

5. Place 1/4 cup butter in a large bowl; beat until light and fluffy. Fold in 1 cup egg white mixture. Fold butter mixture into the remaining egg white mixture. Spread about 3 tablespoons icing over each cooled cupcake. Combine meringue powder and 1 tablespoon water in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add powdered sugar, beating with a mixer at medium speed until thick and smooth. Stir in black food coloring to desired shade. Scrape the powdered sugar mixture into a zip-top plastic bag, and snip a tiny hole in 1 corner of bag. Pipe black spiders or webs over frosted cupcakes.





Now You Know!