By Susan Wallin Mosey
Is it weird that I have a graveyard kit? How else can you go grave hunting in an organized and well-equipped manner? Mine is stored in a pink bucket with a decal on it. (I’m a very girly grave hunter.)
The bucket contains all the stuff I need for proper gravestone hunting (except a goodly supply of water—never leave home without a goodly supply of water). The bucket contains:
1. A notebook and a pen, along with any information that I had the foresight to gather together beforehand.
2. My camera, of course. How else can I take photos to upload to findagrave or billiongraves?
3. A little pink flashlight, for casting shadows on gravestones for better pictures. The experts advise a big mirror for that purpose, but that won’t fit into my bucket.
4. Grass snips, a trowel, and a whisk broom, for quick cleanup work as required.
5. Cotton gloves.
6. A second bucket just like the first one, for hauling water if there’s a faucet. (But I learned the hard way to also bring plenty of gallon jugs of water, especially when going to very old or abandoned cemeteries.)
7. A soft scrub brush that fits well into my husband’s hand.
8. Liquid soap—a special kind. I did a lot of research on this subject! It’s called “Orvus” and it has three main uses, so I’m told: Washing horses, washing antique fabrics, and washing gravestones. Fancy that!
9. Wet wipes. I like having clean hands when I use my camera (and all the rest of the time, too, actually).
10. A big Ziploc bag, for kneeling upon to take photographs. I don’t like dirty knees either.
11. Bug repellent. I once went wandering through some tall grass in the woods in cropped pants, looking for a few old gravestones which made up a small old family cemetery… and I came out with about a hundred bug bites on my lower legs. I’m lucky I didn’t end up with Lyme disease!
12. White chalk for marking trees and driveways for navigational purposes. Don’t want to walk the same rows twice if I don’t have to.
13. Little American flags. I like to leave them at the graves of veterans.
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Okay, so is this normal, or weird? All genealogists love graveyards, right? I once saw a coffee mug for genealogists that said, “I’m only interested in dead people.” Well, yes, but I wouldn’t say only…
About Susan Wallin Mosey
Susan Wallin Mosey is the administrator at an elder law firm in Aurora, Illinois. When she’s not at work she likes to do genealogy for fun and profit. Storytelling is one of her favorite aspects of genealogy, as can be seen on her blog, Pages from the Ancestry Binders. Another special interest is Amish genealogy. Sue has been doing genealogy as a hobby for about 20 years and has been putting together ancestry binders for others since 2011. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the National Genealogical Society. Sue lives in Yorkville, Illinois with her husband Gary. Her website can be found at www.ancestrybinders.com and she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.