4/8/16

AtoZ Letter G...Genealogy Grave Yard Artist

Digital Remake of a Headstone Rubbing~Alpine, Texas Cemetery~1968
As a college Freshman, I had to decide on a Minor field of study that would compliment my Major...PhysEd.  ART, said the counselor is not compatible with your chosen major...I suggest HEALTH.  "Thanks, but I don't want to teach Health, and Art is the only other area I see that interests me, and I think it will come in handy for drawing bones."  And so it did, although I never dreamed it would lead me to the ancient graves of the Anasazi...Letter A~Ancient Anasazi Artifact Artist... or the graves of my ancestors.

The decision to study Art in 1968 must have been 'DNA Ancestor guided' as it prepared me for a lifetime of Grave Yard Art and Genealogy Study.  A first Art Class assignment...the Gravestone Rubbing...set me up forever as a Grave Yard Artist.  Gravestone Rubbings have long been used in the field of Genealogy as a valuable tool in preserving and recording information  from deteriorating headstones.  For the 'Family Historian', a rubbing can become part of an ancestors portfolio and physical reminder of having visited that persons grave.
For over forty years I have sketched and photographed headstones in many cemeteries throughout Texas.  In the last few years, I have been a Contributor and Volunteer Photographer for Find A Grave....a worldwide website of Virtual Cemeteries which also serves as a research site for Genealogist.  The above photograph and the following ones are from Tamarisk Cemetery in Ward County, Texas, established in the 1800's, and resting place of my parents, a sibling and several Texas Ancestors.
The headstones themselves often reveal much about the person for which they stand with the sculptural shape and material from which they are made.  Even more revealing are the gifts left by the mourners and the engraved messages that express their grief and belief in the hereafter.
A precious one from us has gone.  His voice we loved is stilled.
A place is vacant in our home which never can be filled.
God in his wisdom has recalled the boon that love has given.
And though the body slumbers here, the Soul, is safe in heaven.
Gone but not forgotten.
June 1852 ~ May 1935

18 comments:

  1. Graveyards are so interesting and there are so many stories to be discovered - even that little angel tells a story by looking at it! Leanne @ cresting the hill

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    1. So true...the stories that have been revealed from research of names on stones have been amazing. The statues are most expressive.

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  2. In trying to read a tombstone of one of my ancestors, I Googled for common phrases on tombstones which took me to that plus an article about symbols on tombstones. That turned out to be a very interesting piece of education that I conjure up whenever I go through a cemetery. I doubt I ever REALLY looked at all the parts of a tombstone before.

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    1. It is nice to be able to fall back on commonly used phrases when stones have been eroded or damaged. It's the unusual phrases that are often most perplexing as to their meaning.

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  3. old graveyards are a piece of history. I assume it's "dying" out as so many folks turn to cremation now and forgo a traditional burial. Graveyard art will be lost

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    1. Some who opt for cremation still have a traditional burial and stone. Just a smaller plot. Anyway you go it's still ashes to ashes and dust to dust.

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  4. We truly must be related, somehow. The final proof is - today my post was about a famous cemetery in Brooklyn. You would love it. I love cemeteries although have never taken up grave rubbing. Find a Grave is a fantastic service and know that I continue to enjoy your A to Z posts, even if I can't comment every day (depending on Internet connections where I am). Carry on! Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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    1. Wow, final proof of our relationship...Cemetery Sisters! On my way to Brooklyn's famous cemetery!

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  5. I love this post! I have spent a good many years (over 35 now) creeping through graveyards as part of my family history research. My babies were raised in cemeteries pretty much. I also do photography for Find-a-Grave and just added you to my list of friends there.

    Regarding the minor to go with your major, personally, I think that people should be able to choose a minor outside of their major if they want to. It is their life and they're the ones paying for the classes, so why shouldn't they get to take the major/minor that makes them happy? My daughters have been up against this, too. It is very frustrating.

    Cemeteries are very educational places in many ways. I am glad that you are able to connect your art and genealogy and preserve the art and wording on the tombstones (or, as we sometimes call them, "name rocks").

    Have a great day!

    Your sis in Christ,
    Suz http://ps-annie.blogspot.com/

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    1. Always good to hear from fellow 'Genealogy/Graveyard' researchers. Yes, those 'Name Rocks' do Rock my world...especially when they confirm ancestors existence and birth/death dates.

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    2. Thanks. :)

      I think it is especially exciting when we've been looking for forever for a particular person's grave and we finally find it. I looked high and low for the grave of one of my paternal 2nd great-grandmothers. Never found it, even where my grandma said it was supposed to be (Grandma had Alzheimer's by this point). Then, we moved over a thousand miles away and I found it. It took an in-depth search on Ancestry to finally find where she was really located. Now, I may never be able to get back to South Carolina to see her grave in person, but at least my children will know where she is buried.

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  6. I really like old graveyards, especially reading the beautiful inscriptions on the headstones.

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  7. Maybe a couple of years ago I want a tour of one of local graveyard. It was on the history of tombstone and what symbols meant.
    One of my in-home and I stop by a smaller cemetery and one of the gravy had a mail box. Which got me wondering why....Coffee is on

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    1. The history and symbols of tombstones are quite interesting...I'd take that tour. Mail box, huh? I've heard of folks writing messages and letters to their dearly departed...guess a grave side mail box works. I'd get really concerned if it came back with 'Return to Sender-No Forwarding Address'.

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  8. Hello from A to Z, Sue. There is actually a historic landmark cemetery near where I live. I've never visited there before. But I suppose if I ever do, I'll be sure to keep an eye out for the various forms of art I may see.

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  9. The rubbings are both beautiful and fascinating.

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  10. Hi Sue, it's me again. I was searching for genealogy books at ebrary just a little bit ago and came across this book. I immediately thought of you and thought you might be interested:

    Historic Gravestone Art of Charleston, South Carolina, 1695-1802
    by David R. Mould and Missy Loewe

    It is apparently free to set up an account at ebrary (at least it hasn't yet asked me for payment information). You can search for books and add them to your virtual library there. I have a feeling my library there will be as full as our Kindle soon. :)

    Have a great night!

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