Member of the Association of Graveyard Rabbits

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Use of Shaving Cream

Life has been busy.  I apologize for not posting sooner....

So a couple of months back I was doing some work at Find A Grave, when I stumbled upon a biography of one of the volunteers there.  She was dead set against spraying shaving cream on tombstones.  Now I thought to myself, "Well, I am too!  That's just wrong to go around defacing tombstones with shaving cream", not realizing that this is not done as an act of vandalism but as a way of reading the inscription on decaying old tombstones.  In fact, it took me some time for this naive rabbit to find out that many people use shaving cream as a tool to help with transcription.

My initial reaction was, "Well, how silly.  Shaving cream isn't going to hurt anything", but then I got to thinking that I really don't know that for certain.  And so I began to do some online reading on the subject.

I have concluded that neither those for or against the use of shaving cream really have any kind of proof as to its effects. I like to err on caution though and so I will probably not pack shaving cream along on my next visit to a cemetery.

If you'd like to read up on the subject, here are two articles that represent both views:

Shaving Cream: Genealogist’s Friend or Cemetery Conservator’s Foe?
Shaving Cream on Tombstones

And a before and after photo of a gravestone that was cleaned with shaving cream (both pictures taken from

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Room With A View

Okay, so the title is tacky, but when I pranced around in the mud looking for a grave of an ancestor at Sunrise Memorial Cemetery, I wasn't expecting to find such views.  It's not like I haven't been to Sunrise before; in fact, I've been out there more times than I can count.  So why am I just seeing it this way for the first time?  I just don't know!

I guess perhaps it was in the way I treated this visit that changed my perception of the cemetery.  What I normally do is look throughout a cemetery and capture a picture or two of a gravestone that is ornate.  Perhaps the person lived a very long time, or maybe not long at all.  There may be a large family buried together, or one solitary stone crying out for attention.  Whatever it is that stands out, I take a photo.

Two days ago, it was the peacefulness of the cemetery that stood out.  It was a quiet day, cool and windy.  I was alone at the cemetery, besides the countless souls buried beneath my feet, and a squirrel or two that ran along the side of the road.  I didn't hear any people or cars.  I didn't see any trash or debris.  It was just me and nature.

I was searching for a particular grave, but I began to click my camera-phone, not paying much attention to the usual things so much.  I saw some interesting things, like...

A wooden door.  How eerie!  It looks like I can push this door down easily.

A Day of the Dead tribute??  All I know is that I wasn't going to get
any closer.

Gravestones are sinking!  I thought the Newcomb stone looked like
it was sliding.  I didn't notice the stone on the left until I looked 
at the picture.

Many, many squirrels.  I stopped counting at 70.

The office hasn't been open to the public in at least a year, and I never did find a particular grave I was searching.  That means I'll be back out here soon to search again.  I just hope the stones will still be standing.

Please support the funding of your local cemeteries.

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Return To Sunset

Part of my goal for going out to Sunset View Cemetery the last time was to see if I could find the grave of my mother's great aunt, Evelyn Law.  I never met Evelyn, and I had surmised from the stories I had heard about her and her siblings that perhaps she was the quiet one.  After a lengthy couple of passes down Row 20 of the Pine Lawn portion of the cemetery, Mike inadvertently discovered that Evelyn was in fact not buried in Row 20, but in Row 19- alongside her second husband and her only daughter, Mae.

One thing that I did not know until the cemetery returned my husband's phone call, was that the marker was made of bronze.  Now I have seen markers like this all the time.  Not in the habit of bending down to touch or disturb the marker, I now know that markers such as these are made of the fine material.  This is important (to me anyway) because bronze will last for a very long time.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sunset View Cemetery

At the end of a very busy little street in El Cerrito sits Sunset View Cemetery.  Mike and I found out the hard way that the cemetery is deceptively large.  No chance of just stumbling across someone here.  Come prepared by calling the office first.

From the top of the hill one can see from Sausalito in the North Bay to San Francisco.  All but the side that overlooks the bay is surrounded by tall, beautiful trees.  Birds and squirrels were everywhere.  The only audible sound was the wind.

I thought I'd do this post a little differently and just show a few pictures of the cemetery.