SOUTH-AFRICA-L ArchivesArchiver > SOUTH-AFRICA > 2004-01 > 1074607232
From: "Heather MacAlister" <>
Subject: Re: [ZA] Old Alicedale cemetry
Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2004 16:00:32 +0200
Guideline for Gravestone Rubbing Do's and Don'ts
From "Gravestone Rubbing for Beginners, "a leaflet available from the
Association for Gravestone Studies
Gravestone rubbing is fun. It is possible to collect some beautiful artwork
that can be framed and displayed. A carver's skill can be preserved, or an
ancestor's stone recorded and appreciated through this craft.
However, gravestone rubbing is also controversial. Especially in cemeteries
where a restoration project is in progress, rubbing is often banned. This is
to enable the restorers to have an opportunity to preserve all the stones
possible before more damage occurs. Even if a restoration project is not in
progress, if those who care for the cemetery have determined there are very
fragile stones there which may be damaged if pressure is applied to the
surface as happens in rubbing, there may be prohibitions in place. So be
sure to check.
Below are some Do's and Don'ts that will make your experience in the
cemetery a good one.
. Check (with cemetery superintendent, cemetery commissioners, town clerk,
historical society, whoever is in charge) to see if rubbing is allowed in
. Get permission and / or a permit as required.
. Rub only solid stones in good condition. Check for any cracks, evidence of
previous breaks and adhesive repairs, defoliating stone with air pockets
behind the face of the stone that will collapse under pressure of rubbing,
. Become educated; learn how to rub responsibly.
. Use a soft brush and plain water to do any necessary stone cleaning.
. Make certain that your paper covers the entire face of the stone; secure
with masking tape.
. Use the correct combination of paper and waxes or inks; avoid magic
marker-type pens or other permanent colour materials.
. Test paper and colour before working on stone to be certain that no colour
. Rub gently, carefully.
. Leave the stone in better condition than you found it.
. Take all trash with you; replace any gravesite materials that you may have
. Don't attempt to rub deteriorating marble or sandstone, or any unsound or
weakened stone (for example, a stone that sounds hollow when gently tapped
or a stone that is flaking, splitting, blistered, cracked, or unstable on
. Don't use detergents, soaps, vinegar, bleach, or any other cleaning
solutions on the stone, no matter how mild!
. Don't use shaving cream, chalk, graphite, dirt, or other concoctions in an
attempt to read worn inscriptions. Using a large mirror to direct bright
sunlight diagonally across the face of a grave marker casts shadows in
indentations and makes inscriptions more visible.
. Don't use stiff-bristled or wire brushes, putty knives, nail files, or any
metal object to clean or to remove lichen from the stone; Soft natural
bristled brushes, whisk brooms, or wooden sticks are usually OK if used
gently and carefully
. Don't attempt to remove stubborn lichen. Soft lichen may be thoroughly
soaked with plain water and then loosened with a gum eraser or a wooden
Popsicle stick. Be gentle. Stop if lichen does not come off easily.
. Don't use spray adhesives, scotch tape, or duct tape. Use masking tape.
. Don't use any rubbing method that you have not actually practised under
. Don't leave masking tape, wastepaper, colours, etc., at the grave site
If you decide to do cemetery transcriptions please check and make sure it
has not been done before. For more in-depth information on Cemetery
recordings you should contact Yvonne Robinson at
a.. Cemetery project: Yvonne Robinson (Western Cape Genealogical Society)
tel. (021) 939-2675
Heather's South African Genealogy Help List www.genealogy.co.za
The 1902 Municipal Voters Roll of Cape Town - Districts 1 to 6
The 1878 Voters Roll for the Cape is now available with tens of thousands
on names !!!
1805, 1829, 1835 and 1849 Cape Almanacs now on CD
The Juta's Directory of 1900 which lists residents of Cape Town from the
City Bowl until Simonstown.
To view our catalogue go to www.genealogy.co.za/scribes.html
Cape Town Family History Society www.genealogy.co.za/society.html
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tom Rorke" <>
Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 2004 3:28 PM
Subject: Re: [ZA] Old Alicedale cemetry
> I know someone who may be able to help with conservation advice, but
> she's away right now, so I will have a better answer later.
> If they are made of a hard stone, such as granite, you can probably scrape
> them off successfully.
> If the stones are limestone they are going to deteriorate no matter what,
> so the conservation angle is to clean them as little as possible, unless
> you can get expert advice, but to photograph them, or draw them now. If
> inscriptions are hard to read you can sometimes get them to show up better
> by shining a light on them from the side.
> Is there any other decoration on them apart from the names? Just curious.
> Tom Rorke.
> At 11:09 AM 1/20/2004 +0200, you wrote:
> >There is a very small old cemetry in Alicedale which was in a terrible
> >state of disrepair. This has recently been fixed up by a delightful old
> >landscape gardener with a great respect for such places, as well as for
> >the history they represent. The graveyard is in the middle of a new
> >golf course being built, and has been preserved as well as possible. He
> >has cleaned the stones of soil and grass, placed broken headstones
> >together, painted the railings if any, and placed round stones over
> >unmarked obvious graves. What he would like to know is how best to
> >clean the stones further, without damaging them, to make the writing
> >clearer. Any ideas?
> >The names on the stones that can be read are:
> >PA ?.William Henry (right now it is pouring with rain, so I am not
> >going out to see if the writing is any clearer!)
> >McKELVIN, T H W
> >McKELVIN, Kate Imrie
> >McKELVIN, Quinton Blain
> >SARGEANT, Jane
> >Dates 1870 for the first, and 1887,1888,1889 for the others.
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