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Toolkit: Grave Transformations
6/11/2014
Take our photo-editing tutorial to tease out the details in faded and worn tombstones.
It’s an all-too-familiar scenario: You track down the cemetery where your ancestor was laid to rest and walk the rows until you discover his headstone. You start to break out in a happy dance—until you realize the worn inscription is impossible to read. What’s a genealogist to do?
 
Over the years, genealogists have tried various creative methods in an effort to glean genealogical clues from illegible inscriptions and epitaphs. But some techniques, such as shaving cream and rubbings, can actually do more harm than good.
 
Rather than rely on old methods that could leave Great-great-grandpa’s headstone worse for wear, why not draw on new technology to decipher that faded tombstone text without even touching the marker? All you need is a digital camera and basic photo-editing software. So bypass the Barbasol, and try these seven tricks for bringing inscriptions to light.
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