Tuesday, 16 August 2016

A Century of Weathering

Whenever I get the opportunity, I love spending time developing my family tree. I have a degree in Library & Information Studies, and a lot of curiosity and tenacity, so genealogy is the perfect hobby for me.

Over the past couple of years, I have researched the lives of almost two thousand of my blood relatives.

During my search, I came across two photographs of the same headstone, taken one hundred years apart. We are used to visiting cemeteries and trying to decipher the writing on really old headstones. So it was fascinating to discover this picture that shows what the headstone looked like when it was relatively new.

Pictures of the same headstone taken a century apart
Pictures of the same headstone taken a century apart


You may also have noticed that there are more names on the more recent picture. The four people named on the older picture are four children, distant cousins of mine, all of whom died in Aberdeen, Scotland in the late 19th century.

Photograph of headstone taken in the early 20th century
Photograph taken in the early 20th century


The later picture shows that their parents' names were added in the 1920s.

Photograph taken in the early 21st century
Photograph taken in the early 21st century

What the weather does to headstones

If you've ever wandered around an old cemetery, you will have noticed that some older stones are in far better condition than some of the stones set more recently. This is all down to the type of stone used and the weather that the stone has been exposed to.

The three main types of 'weathering' that a headstone could be subjected to are chemical (e.g. acid rain), physical (e.g. freezing and thawing many times over) and biological (lichen).

It looks like my cousins' headstone may have been affected by all of these.

My distant cousin (1st cousin x4 removed) George Walker, whose children are mentioned on the headstone
My distant cousin (1st cousin x4 removed) George Walker,
whose children are mentioned on the headstone

If you are wondering what happened to this family, which lost four children at such an early age, you may be pleased to know that George Walker and his wife Violet would have six more children, all of whom survived into old age.

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