The Gravestone Photographic Resource project is an attempt to provide a much needed on-line resource for family historians.
The project aims are as follows:
- to digitally photograph grave monuments that are currently legible
- to extract all legible personal information (name, age, date of birth, date of death, relationship) from each image
- to publish all legible personal information on an internet database and make this data freely available
- to email copies of any grave monument image free of charge to anyone requesting a copy
- to lodge at appropriate public record offices collections of images appropriate to that area
- to encourage local groups to maintain, photograph and record grave monuments
- to cover cemeteries throughout the world
- to form partnerships with other organisations or persons that hold grave monument photographs
Please note that in some cases where the legibility is poor, names and dates shown on the online database may not be accurate.
Monuments become illegible because of a number of different factors:
- Water errosion - cause by rainfall
- Wind damage
- Frost damage
- Plant damage - usually by lichen
- Polution - acidic rain dissolving alkaline rock
The date of birth has in most cases been calculated from the age given at death. All calculated dates or ages on the website are shown in red. The age given on monuments is often incorrect and so dates of birth should be consided as probable rather than actual. In some cases the date of death may also be inaccurate due to the poor condition of the gravestone.
It is hoped that the project will eventually be self-financing by income from donations or the Google ads on the site. At present the costs of the project not covered by either donations or Google Ads are met by projects founder Charles Sale.
The project initially started in East Anglia, England where its creator Charles Sale was based. He initially indexed both church and municipal cemetaries in Norfolk and Suffolk as well as a number of other English counties. Other volunteers have extended the scope of the project which now covers a number of countries beyond England.
The timetable for other parts of the country will be very dependant upon where other volunteers are based and how much time they can give to the project. You can see which churchyards, cemeteries and war memorials have been done so far by looking at the area page for that particular state, province or county. At the bottom of these pages is also a list of places that volunteers are planning to do. This list not only tells you future plans but also helps to stop duplication of effort. A future addition to these pages will be a list of places people would like to be photographed. There will also be the option to add names to this new list.
When the project first started all the monuments in a burial ground of people born before 1901 were photographed. These images are then used to extract all names and details from each monument. Once all the images have been processed, the information is added to the internet database.
In some cases we have been able to use earlier text based surveys of churchyards. These have allowed us to record information about grave monuments that have either become illegable or can no longer be found. In these particular cases no images are available.
A comments/feedback/help request feature now provides a "notice board" on which visitors can place details of the families they are researching.
It is hoped that in the future schools will get involved with the project as it can cover many aspects of the curriculum.
The main reason why the Gravestone Photographic Resource does not charge for images is that it needs volunteers to help with the huge task of photographing grave monuments. Please try and help.