Do no harm was the most important message Fredericksburg genealogy club member Kris Jankovits learned from her experience at “The Cemetery Restoration and Preservation Workshop,” held 20 October 2012 at the Wood Cemetery located on the Bob Evans farm in Raccoon Township, Gallia County, Ohio.
Utilizing PowerPoint with inserted video clips of workshop leader John “Walt” Walters of the Graveyard Groomer. Kris shared important information for anyone interested in restoring tombstones.
Before you begin:
Research the state’s cemetery laws;
Determine ownership of the cemetery. Contact owners/association for written permission to clean or restore stones, as well as their rules and regulations;
Document the grave; photos of stone, cemetery entrance, any signage, notes on location of stone;
Determine marker composition – is it fieldstone, slate, sandstone, limestone, granite, marble or a combination.
Use soft bristle brush only;
Clean water (can use distilled)
Non-ionic detergent (Orvus soap)
Biocide solution (quaternary ammoniums are available at swimming pool suppliers)
Ammonia and water (1 part clear ammonia to 4 parts water in a spray bottle)
Calcium hypochlorite (Chlorine HTH, Shock Treatment) one ounce to one gallon hot water.
Important: Do no harm; if you are not sure, leave it alone!
Some good Resources:
Strangstad, Lynette, A Graveyard Preservation Primer
Association for Gravestone Studies, Greenfield, MA