Tag: gravestones

Indecipherable inscriptions on centuries old tombstones revealed using 3D technology.

Indecipherable inscriptions on centuries old tombstones revealed using 3D technology.

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Stuart, Erin and Alan Melanson in graveyard.
Erin and Stuart sit through an enthralling tale told by fellow ‘Melanson’ cousin, Alan Melanson.

This new technology is so very exciting to me. I’ve found that the information that proves to be most valuable from tombstones is that found on those from before 1850.

After 1850, most of the information is available in accessible records. Although there are records prior to 1850, the information on them is minimal at best. The earlier US censuses are the best example because the censuses prior only provide the full name of the head of the family and age ranges of spouses, children and others. This leaves a wide margin for error that is much narrower in later censuses that reveal names, ages, birth years, immigration data, occupations and relationships to the head of the household.

In a previous post, I described the fun my family and I had ‘tombstone hunting’ in Nova Scotia. We made a point of stopping at as many graveyards as possible and taking photos and transcriptions of the tombstones that had related surnames. The most memorable graveyard we visited was that of the well known “Graveyard Tour” at Fort Anne in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. Our tour guide was a fellow Melanson family member and his knack of weaving entertaining and enthralling stories was evident as he led us through the maze of tombstones, recounting the most scandalous and mysterious tales. Several of these tombstones from the 1600s and 1700s were unreadable and this new 3D technology seems to be the answer to discovering and recording many of the actual transcriptions.

Grant Aylesworth, a Mount Allison anthropology professor, and the Government of New Brunswick’s archaeological services division are now reading the inscriptions on those illegible grave markers from the 1700s, using this new 3D software technology. The software derives the inscriptions from digital images of these tombstones. The innovative technology is freely available and is easy to learn and implement, although attempts are being made to streamline the process to encourage others to explore these old tombstones and recover as many inscriptions as possible.


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Who’ulda Thought Headstone Hunting Could Be Such Fun?

Who’ulda Thought Headstone Hunting Could Be Such Fun?

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headstone hunting at Melanson Community Hall
Melanson Community Hall in the town of Melanson. My mother’s maiden name is Melanson.
Although my husband and children all enjoy hunting moose, headstone hunting is about as far as I’ll go.

About six years ago, we decided to take our one and only big family vacation – a three week driving trip from central Ontario to Acadian territories in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Although this was a planned vacation, it was an opportunity as well to teach the kids something of their Acadian heritage and see the area in which my mother, her family and ancestors lived for generations.

Melanson Mountain Sign, across from the Melanson Community Hall while headstone hunting.
Melanson Mountain Sign, across from the Melanson Community Hall.

We did a lot of sightseeing in places like Moncton to see the tidal bore of the Bay of Fundy, and the Hopewell Rocks where I got a wonderful picture of Erin and Stuart against the rocks at high tide. I’ve since had several people accuse me of having ‘photoshopped’ the photo, but that’s not the case at all.

Other sites along our journey were:

  • Fort Edward and Fort Beausejour, where several of our ancestors were imprisoned during the Acadian Expulsion;
Grand Pré Chapel while headstone hunting.
Grand Pré Chapel.
  • Grand Pré, the site of the meeting in which Acadian men were informed of their imminent expulsion;
  • Melanson village and mountain, the site of the settlement of one original Melanson brother and pioneer, Pierre Melanson and his descendants;
  • Melanson Settlement, the historic site where our ancestor Charles, the other pioneer brother, settled;
  • Fort Anne, where we had the experience of a lifetime, experiencing the highly entertaining ‘Graveyard Tour‘ hosted by Alan Melanson, a distant cousin; our unexpected discovery of an original ‘aboiteau’ from the Melanson Settlement site, a hollowed wooden log with a hinged valve at one end which was used to drain the water from the fields (it had been in storage at North Hills Museum and she took us to see it when she heard me talking about it); and a visit to Ste. Anne University, where the students and staff were very knowledgeable and amazingly helpful, finding a great deal of documentation for my research.
The mysterious aboiteau used by the Acadians found on our headstone hunting trip.
The mysterious aboiteau used by the Acadians to control the water on the marshes where they homesteaded and farmed.

Our most unexpected discovery was at a tiny, charming Catholic church in Argyle, near Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

When driving through we spotted a graveyard with hundreds of headstones right along side the road, noticing right away that there were some very old headstones in the mix. At my request, Mark stopped the car and we got out to have a look.

Ste. Anne Catholic Church in Argyle, Nova Scotia - headstone hunting trip.
Ste. Anne Catholic Church and graveyard in Argyle, Nova Scotia – where we spent one Sunday morning headstone hunting.

Our plan was that Mark would have the camera, I would have my notebook to write hard-to-read transcriptions, and Erin and Stuart would be the scouts, running ahead, raising their hands and shouting to let us know they’d found a ‘Melanson’ or ‘Fougere’ headstone.

Now this was a really quiet, cool, damp day and we were just waiting for the rain that appeared to be imminent, but that didn’t deter us. We made short work of the task, and went through the vast graveyard in great speed.

It wasn’t long after starting though, that I noticed the cars driving by slowing right down to check us out and see what we were doing. Some actually came to a dead stop in the middle of the road. Upon reflection, I realized how odd we all must have looked – especially the kids, running from headstone to headstone, raising their hands and shouting. Did they think we were playing some kind of game?

As silly as we must have looked, it was a great deal of fun and it’s a trip we all talk of to this day. We’d all love to do it again.


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FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com Updates and Additions – July 18, 2013

FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com Updates and Additions – July 18, 2013

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Ancestry.com Updates” src=”https://www.emptynestgenealogy.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Archer-William-April-12-1808-Virginia-Gazette-and-General-Advertiser-Richmond-VA-Volume-XXL-Issue-1554-Page-1.pdf-2014-04-02-12-53-391.png” alt=”Ancestry.com Updates” width=”241″ height=”529″ />FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com Updates and Additions

 

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Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org Additions and Updates

Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org Additions and Updates

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FamilySearch.org AdditionsAncestry.com and FamilySearch.org Additions and Updates

 

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Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org Additions and Updates – July 2, 2013

Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org Additions and Updates – July 2, 2013

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FamilySearch.org AdditionsAncestry.com and FamilySearch.org additions and updates for between June 25 and July 2, 2013.

 

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Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org Updates and Additions – June 25, 2013

Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org Updates and Additions – June 25, 2013

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FamilySearch.org UpdatesAncestry.com and FamilySearch.org Updates and Additions

For those seeking information about Jewish  relatives and ancestors during the years of WWII, the Ancestry.com list contains a virtual treasure trove of links to valuable information.

Countries for whom some records are included in this list of additions are Belarus, France, Germany, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain and Switzerland.

 

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photo credit: Zoriah via photopin cc


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