f you find that you are one of those people who seem to be visiting cemeteries often you might want to think about putting together a cemetery bag. Putting together a cemetery bag to keep in your car allows you to be prepared for any cemetery visits that may arise.
My bag has allowed me to be prepared for whatever may arise during my cemetery explorations. If a headstone is covered with overgrowth...I have some tools to help me see the headstone. If I can not read the headstone due to environmental erasion...I have some tools to help me to read it or take a better photo of it. If you have visited many cemeteries that you understand what I'm talking about.
Below is a list of items that I personally have in my bag. I also linked to the items that I have used to show the items that I have found work best for me.
1. Good Walking Shoes or Rainboots - The last thing you will want to do is wear a good pair of shoes while walking around the cemetery. I personally have a pair of rainboots in mine. They are great for any season.
3. Bug Spray - You never know what type of bug nest you come across.
4. Soft Brush, Rag, and soft bristle toothbrush - This can help you to gently remove any dirt, dried grass, or lichen in the engraved letters and numbers.
5. Spray bottle of water - Sometimes you can make the older gravestones a little easier to read by spraying them with water. The water can also help to remove some of the debris off the headstone as well.
6. Kneeling Pad - This has saved my knees so many times.
7. Grass Clippers or Scissors - Some cemeteries are not maintained as well as others. With have clippers or scissors you can easily cut away tall grass and weeds to see the headstone better.
8. Trowel - Over time overgrowth of plants begin to cover some headstones or they sink into the ground. A trowel can be used to help clear away some of the overgrowth and dirt to allow for reading the information on the stone. It also helps to take a better picture. Just remember to be careful not to scrape the headstone with the trowel.
9. Mirror - This is a great item to have because it can help you to reflect sunlight onto the headstone to make it more legible.
10. Flashlight - If the headstone is in an area the most of the sunlight is blocked a flashlight can help.
11. Small Flags - I place flags on all of my ancestors that are veterans of war.
12. Pad of paper or note and pen - You might decide to draw a map of where the headstone is ore make notes.
I have had a cemetery bag for over six years now and I have used it almost every time I have been visiting a cemetery. I do not know a lot of genealogists who carries one in the back of their car, but for me, it makes sense to.
If you have a cemetery bag I would love to hear what you carry in yours and what you use items for.