Taking the Photos
The most important item of equipment you require to become a volunteer is a digital camera. The other bit of equipment you might need is a PC with a CD or DVD writer. If you do not have a CD or DVD writer then the Resource will send you a USB memory stick. The only other equipment that you might need is an old soft brush to gently remove any moss or lichen that sometimes makes the monuments difficult to read. However in general it is better not to touch the monument at all.
When you visit a churchyard always make sure that the first image is of something showing the church name and location - normally there is a board near the entrance or if it is a disused church there will probably be a notice in the porch. Then take a few images of the church itself from a variety of views - one of these will be used for the website page. If there is a cemetery layout plan then please also take a photograph of this.
Then attempt to photograph all the legible monuments - if they are so worn as to unreadable then omit them. The details from all photos taken are added to the project database.
If you are able to, please take photos of any monuments within the church. These are especially useful as they are normally in very good condition and often contain lots of information. Those that part of the church floor are usually very old. If the church has stained glass windows then check to see if there is a dedication at the bottom. If there is then take a photo of the window. You may need to take one of the whole window and another one of the dedication.
Please use the finest setting on your camera as it them makes it easier to enlarge the images on a computer. By doing this names and dates will sometimes appear that cannot always be seen by the naked eye.
In some cases it may be necessary to take more than one photo of a monument. For instance, if the monument is very tall then take one photo of the entire monument and another of just the text part. Another case where it would be necessary to take multiple photographis are those monuments that have writing on more that one face. If you do take more than one photograph of a monument then it is helpful if you later rename these so that they the same name as the initial photograph but with an additonal "a", "b", "c" etc.
After taking the images, they need to be transferred to your PC. It is helpful if you create a folder called "gravestone photos" and within this folder create separate folders of each churchyard you photograph. Store all the images for a particular churchyard in a separate folder named after the village. If the churchyard is from a town with several churchyards then create a folder with the name of the town and then create sub-folders with the names of the churches or cemeteries. If you photograph a very large cemetery it can be easier if you photograph it in sections and store each secion in a separate directory. Large municipal cemeteries will often have a layout plan which you can use to identify the different sections.
If you are photographing a church and have access to its inside then please take some general photos of it. The Resource will in the future publish these images on the church web page.
If you have a camera that has a built in GPS then please make sure it is turned on when you photograph monuments. If you don't have a GPS camera but do have either an Android or iPhone then perhaps you should think about using a GeoTracking app such as "Geotag Photos Pro". If you synchronise the time on your camera and mobile phone then this app will record your photographic journey and the GPS has software to merge this with the photos you took.
Extracting information from the images
Besides taking photos of the actual monuments, an equally important job that needs to be done before the information they contain can be added to the website is the extaction of the person information. However if you do not feel confident or have the time to index photos then please just send us the photos and we will index them.
The information that needs to be extracted for each person named on a monument is as follows:
- year of death
- year of birth
- relationship to the first person named on the monument
- title (eg military rank etc)
Please note that it is very important to record details of every name listed on the monument. For example, often a monument will say wife of or husband of even though these people are not buried in the grave. By listing all names, the Resource is making it much easier for researchers to find missing members of their families.
Many monuments give the exact date of death but this does NOT need to be recorded, just the year. If either the age or the year of birth are not given then it is not necessary to calculate them - the website does that instead.
The easiest way to store details of the images for each graveyard is on a spreadsheet. At the bottom of this page is an example spreadsheet to show you how to save the information for each image. You can download this empty spreadsheet which you can then use to record monument information.
Each graveyard or part of a large cemetery should have its own spreadsheet that should be stored in the same folder as the images. If you are able to do this information extraction it would be of huge help to the project.
When extracting data from your photos use a photo editing program to look at each image. If you do not have a photo editing program then the Resource is willing to purchase one for you. Images that are taken in portrait mode will normally need to be rotated by 90 degrees.
By using your photo editing program zoom feature you will often be able to read names and dates that are hard to read with the naked eye.
For each image record a portion of the photograph file name number. In the example spreadsheet below the first filename was "img_2413.jpg" and just the "2413" was used.
If you have taken a number of photos of the same monument then rename the later images. For instance, if you have taken images 2413, 2414 and 2415 of the same monument then rename 2414 to 2413a and 2415 to 2413b.
The "type" column shows the relationship between the names on the monument:
On most grave monuments there are usually more than one name. The GPR stores relationship information about each of these names. This relationship information shows the relationship between a name on the monument and the first name mentioned on that monument.
The GPR stores details of all names listed on a monument and not just the names of people buried in the grave. This is paticularly useful for family history researchers to help them identify ancestors. For instance it would be difficult to identify a child without the details of its parents.
|relationship to first name on the monument|
|a||first name on monument|
|dl1||daughter-in-law (son's first wife)|
|dl2||daughter-in-law (son's second wife)|
|eh||employer of husband|
|fad||father of adopted daughter|
|fas||father of adopted son|
|fdl||father of daughter-in-law|
|fld||father-in-law of daughter|
|fls||father-in-law of son|
|flw||father-in-law of wife|
|fm||father or mother|
|gdh||grand daughters husband|
|gga||great grand aunt|
|ggd||great grand daughter|
|gggd||great great grand daughter|
|ggd4||great great great grand daughter|
|ggd5||great great great great grand daughter|
|ggni||great grand neice|
|ggdl||great grand daughter-in-law|
|ggdil||great grand daughter-in-law|
|ggf||great grand father|
|ggu||great grand uncle|
|gggf||great great grand father|
|ggf4||great great great grand father|
|ggf5||great great great great grand father|
|ggf6||great great great great great grand father|
|ggm||great grand mother|
|gggm||great great grand mother|
|ggm4||great great great grand mother|
|ggm5||great great great great grand mother|
|ggm6||great great great great great grand mother|
|gsw||grand sons wife|
|ggsl||great grand son-in-law|
|ggsil||great grand son-in-law|
|ggs||great grand son|
|gggs||great great grand son-in-law|
|gggsil||great great grand son-in-law|
|gggsl||great great grand son|
|hbl||husbands brother in law|
|hsl||husbands sister in law|
|hsisl||husbands sister in law|
|h1w||first husband of wife|
|h2m||second husband of mother|
|h2w||second husband of wife|
|mad||mother of adopted daughter|
|mas||mother of adopted son|
|mdl||mother of daughter in law|
|msl||mother of son in law|
|pnh||pen name of husband|
|pnw||pen name of wife|
|sfr||son of friend|
|sgf||step grand father|
|sgm||step grand mother|
|snh||stage name of husband|
|snw||stage name of wife|
|w1h||first wife of husband|
|w2f||second wife of father|
|w2h||second wife of husband|
|w2s||second wife of son|
|w2sl||second wife of son-in-law|
|w3h||third wife of husband|
|wbl||wifes brother in law|
|wsisl||wifes sister in law|
If you come across a relationship not listed please just use its initials and let us know.
If you have taken photos that are not suitable for indexing please do not delete them. The photographic records you are taking are a valuable historic resource and will be of immense interest to future researchers.