Nebraska State Genealogical Society Journals
Volume One, no 2, page 53
How many of you have entered into the interesting field of grave rubbing? I read an article on it last year and since then my family and I have done a great deal of it. We have come up with some interesting works of art as well as copies of our ancestors' tombstones.
The articles you need are few and very inexpensive. You need a roll of masking tape, large roll of heavy wrapping paper like the grocer uses to wrap meat in, a box of large wax crayons, and a stiff-bristled brush.
First clean the stone with the brush to remove any dirt or moss, then tape the paper to the stone so it fits tightly. You then remove the wrapper from the crayon and rub the side of it over the paper, working quite rapidly. It only takes a minute or two to do a "rubbing. " You will find the stones made of slate make the best rubbings but the end result is quite pleasing no matter what the stone is made of.
The first cemetery we visited, we used sheets of heavy artist paper, which for detail is really too heavy, but found we could construct lovely works of art in this manner. One tracing was of Jesus holding a child on his lap, the lines not coming through clear and distinct, but making a beautiful art impression in black and white suitable for framing.
We have found some shades of brown, especially rust, make very pretty impressions. Sometimes we use all of the stone or only parts of it. You can combine more than one design from different stones to make very interesting folk art.
Our family has gained much knowledge from this hobby. Our boys know that a cemetery is a place of tranquility and peace, very akin to nature. They laugh at other children when they say it sounds "spooky" to go there. We have all learned consideration and respect for the people and property in a cemetery, whether it be a large one or a small country plot.
I am sure you will find this a rewarding and interesting field of genealogical research. And when you go, take the children, even if they do nothing other than hold a crayon for you. It gives them a first hand lesson into the fact that death is a very real part of life, something to be discussed, but nothing to fear. When the need arises for them to attend a funeral the cemetery will hold no dark secrets for them if they are familiar with it.
"Happy grave rubbing, " from another genealogy bug.
Submitted by Margie Kelly Farrens, Winside Ne
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