About Your Visit
Respecting and Enjoying a Cemetery
Viewing Illegible Headstones
A New Hanover County North Carolina Genweb page outlines easy directions for using the aluminum foil method: "...one begins by simply placing a thin sheet of aluminum foil against the stone, or wrapping it around the stone. The cheaper and thinner foil works best for this method, as the heavier name brand varieties can be too thick to work with. Then with a lightweight brush, such as a clean makeup brush, you gently press the foil into the carvings of the stone. Remember, if securing the foil with tape, only tape foil to foil, never put tape on the actual stone." The stone (above left) is unreadable, but the foil (right) is legible.
There are several methods that have previously been used to make worn headstones readable that are now considered unacceptable and in some places are banned. Among these are rubbing and chalking as well as using flour or shaving cream.
When visiting the cemeteries of O'Brien County, we would like to assist you in making the most of your time here. You will find an excellent article about cemetery etiquette on the Ancestry.com blog.
There are many excellent resources whether you are interested in studying cemetery memorials, art and preservation or if your passion lies in tracing your family tree. We have found the following resources helpful: