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Old 01-02-2005, 12:59 AM
MaryLynn MaryLynn is offline
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Location: Renton, Washington
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Hi, Dave, well done. Family tradition gives the birthdate as June 26, 1836. All census records from 1850 through 1900 support the 1836 birth year. We have to realize that gravestone information is only as reliable as the person who gave it.

The 36 is somewhat obliterated by the moss. Did you also catch the spelling of the surname as Stowe? Again the moss is in the way of the last letter.

Beyond the problem of reading what is on the stone is getting a good printed image. Documentation is very important and a gravestone can serve as proof of death when other records are unavailable.

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Old 01-02-2005, 09:00 AM
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Duv Duv is offline
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Hi MaryLynn

The 4 could definetly be a 6. The slant is similar. It may be just the angle the shot was taken but it doesn't look like the name is centred on the gravestone. Having said that if the last name is centred below the first, it would support a spelling of Stow. In any case, I've circled what possibly might be an E. Not sure if anyone can bring out any more detail. Also I noticed a Silas Solomon Stowe born in Illinois circa 1831. Any relation that you know?

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Old 01-02-2005, 11:35 AM
MaryLynn MaryLynn is offline
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Location: Renton, Washington
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Dave, good point about the centering of the names on the stone. I have visited the stone and the final e on Stowe is more easily read in person. A piece of information not available from just reading the stone is that he used the middle initial A. Imagine the A being under the moss and the names are still centered.

This raises a question I'll have to research further. Since the stone encompasses nearly 40 years of burials, when was it placed there? I'll have to compare the engraving on the three sides and see if I can determine that information. I'm glad I have good images of all four sides of the stone.

Relationship to Silas Solomon Stowe is possible but not a connection that I have made so far. My closer Stowe ancestors migrated through New Hampshire, Vermont and Wisconsin to points west. Some went through western New York to Michigan and Indiana but I have accounted for most of them into the 20th century.

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Old 01-02-2005, 12:30 PM
Mike Mike is online now
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Location: Grand Junction CO USA
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Some thoughts:

For lighting a marker, get a large piece of cardboard, cover one side with crumplied (then smoothed out) kitchen aluminum foil. You can either tape or staple the foil to the cardboard, this make a reflector to shine light where it does not normaly shine! If you paint the other side of the cardboard with flat black, then you can subtract light from the marker. Play with the cardboard till you find the correct angle to hold it at to get the best photo. You can fold this thing up to keep in the trunk of your car.

ASK FIRST! I have cleaned many markers and found that I could then read them. A fairly stiff brush, some soap, water and elbow grease. Many places do not have the staff or money to do this and welcome your help. I also have used waterbased poster paint to fill the letters, taken the photo, then washed the paint off right away. ASK FIRST!

Be observant. Found a couple of markers that had sunk into the ground so far the some of the text was below the grass. I cut the turf, rolled it back a little, cleaned the dirt off and then took the photo. They said we could reset the marker if we wanted to, but the thing was huge (500 lbs??) so we deceided not too.

I also shoot in color, then in PS look at all the channels to see if there is a "good" one. Playing with the curves will sometimes increase the detail.

Hope this helps.

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Old 01-02-2005, 08:12 PM
Cincy Gal Cincy Gal is offline
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Location: Cincinnati, OH
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Mike it sounds like you've read the same book I have on cemtery research! Unfortuneately the segment of the stone that I posed is the only written area. It's one of three in a row all the same style. One for this woman, "Mary", one for her husband and one for thier daughter who died at age 20. the other two are COMPLETELY unreadable. In fact, I wouldn't have been able to find these three if I hadn't gotten in touch with another distant relative that had already located these three and gave me directions of where to find them. The wild thing is that this person took pics of the same three markers this summer and I took mine in about early Oct. Mine shows a baby's marker between two of the three larger markers, her pics taken in the summer doesn't show any marker there! Someone must have found it somewhere, I guess. I could only make out Mary's name in person my using my fingers to trace the words. Once my eyes saw that, then I could make out bits and pieces.

I've found one relative's marker that was fallen over, and broken in three pieces with grass growning up in between the cracks. Thank heaven it wasn't 500lbs!! And I've just found out that another relative's marker was destroyed by vandles about 20 years ago, so I'm going to have to look along the cemetery's fence line to see if it was maybe places over there. I don't understand why people would do that?!?!

Next spring, after it thaws out around there, I'll go back and try different lighting tricks. I've got a portable halogen light that I'll try to use to see if I can get something.

MaryLynn, this stone is my GGGGrandmother's. I'm lucky that most of them born after this era are still in pretty good shape. but if you get a hold of the caretaker where your relative is buried and they don't mind, you should be able to clean the moss off the stone and see the inscription more clearly.

Ed, thanks for the suggestions. Now, could you put them in to "non-photographer" speak? lol I'm not sure what you mean by resampling the pic. Photoshop takes it from my pictures folder. And where would I find these "channels". I DO know what you're talking about when you take about the curves, that I've found.

And I'll just say "hi" to Dave since he's still working on my post. I'd hate to disturb him.
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