Sunday, September 4, 2011

Open Discussion Weekend - Social Networking or Defacing a Tombstone?

Today was a beautiful, much cooler, summer day and a friend suggested lunch and a cemetery walk. So we headed for Ashland Cemetery in Ashland, Nebraska. I have a few distant kin buried there and before leaving, I took down the names of the FindAGrave tombstone requests so I could give a little bit back to the FindAGrave community.

The afternoon was a bit like an Easter egg hunt, but low and behold, we found the relatives I was looking for, and six of the seven FindAGrave requests (the missing one was a person with the same name).

While walking the cemetery, we came upon this gravestone.

Harriet Jones
Ashland Cemetery
Ashland, Nebraska
Do you see the little white sticker on the gravestone? This warranted a closer look. Here's what we found:

This was a sticky label, fairly permanent, that had been left by a relative of the deceased.

So - what do you think? An effective method of contacting kin or the defacement of a cemetery marker? If you vote the latter, will you be contacting this person to let them know what you think?

It's Open Discussion Weekend - please post your thoughts about this in the Comments section below.


  1. I don't like this because of the destructive nature. Though now I'm wondering...what about QR codes inscribed in headstones?

  2. It's an interesting idea but I'm also a little concerned about possible damage to stones. Have you thought about e-mailing him to ask how it's worked out for him?

  3. I don't particularly like his idea, but understand, because I'd like to do it with every one of my ancestor's graves. As Linda stated, maybe you could email, but I wouldn't make a big deal out of it, it's up to the cemetery caretaker to do something, not us.

  4. I do not think that the note will cause as much damage as the missing chance of finding kin. The first big rain or wind and it is gone anyway.

    The note stick is about 1/3 inch wide. If set to the side away from the writing it would not deface the writing. At least that is what I feel. I also could be wrong.

  5. This idea has been suggested and used for many many years. The basic idea is not a bad one, this particular case is not the best example, in my opinion.

    Notes, business cards, and such have been suggested and left on or near headstones. Some researchers report great success with them. And, let's face it, it would only take one GOOD hit to make it extremely successful!

    However, to protect your notes from the weather, rain, snow, sleet, wind, sun (fades the print, etc.) I have seen and heard the suggestion of enclosing the note in a baggie or even have it laminated.

    The issue still comes, how do you "attach" or leave the note so that the wind does not deliver it to a cemetery in the next county over. I have seen the baggie with note enclosed under rocks or some other loving doodad that visitors and family will leave on or nearby the stone. No doubt eventually it will disappear anyway, but, if you are lucky and a distant cousin discovers it, it could be your lucky day.

    It is surely a wild card attempt, but, you know the saying, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    Probably not a good idea to do something like this in a cemetery that has very strict rules, as the officials kinda will know where to find you, eh?

  6. I don't particularly like something this visible, but I certainly understand the purpose and doubt that a sticky note is going to do any great damage. In a perfect genealogy world, wouldn't it be wonderful to have some type of small "research vault" in the ground near the headstone? Maybe something similar to inset flower vases or cache locations. It could be enclosed, waterproof, discreet, and available for exchange of contact information by relatives.

    Remember I said "in a perfect genealogy world." ;-)

  7. Oh, and to Carol's "Probably not a good idea to do something like this in a cemetery that has very strict rules, as the officials kinda will know where to find you, eh?"

    Love it!! ;-)))

  8. Sorry...last one...but since I'm daydreaming...

    A tiny computer chip imbedded in the headstone...Bluetooth capability...visiting relatives can add or sync research and contact info via their personal research clouds or.... LOL

    Yes, I'm joking (sort of), but I started teaching computer classes at a university in 1975. Since that time technological advancement has made quantum leaps. Truly, the implications for future genealogists absolutely boggles my mind.

  9. I don't know, this kind of rubs me the wrong way. It looks like it sticks the entire label, not just the 1/3 inch sticky part of a post-it, which can be quite a pain to remove. Also, it looks like they were mass produced (insincere), otherwise it probably would have said "are you related to .....Jones?" with the specific name. What if every stone in the cemetery had a note like this, I wonder.