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Pennies on Graves: Never Forgotten

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance and I wanted to pay tribute to the men and women who have served our country. I couldn’t think of a proper way to do so until I ran across an old posting about pennies on gravestones.

It may seem like an odd idea, but leaving pennies on the gravestones of those who have served in our countries military is a tradition that dates back to Vietnam War.

Before I go and place them on the graves, I like to take the time to clean them and make them shine. It is a really simple and easy project and a way to reflect on those who have passed.

 Here are my pennies, some are shiny, some are not, and some even have a few spots on them. What was fun about this little project was looking at all the different years on the pennies. They ranged anywhere from the early 1960’s (I think I found one from 1961) to the current times.
You’ll need some white vinegar for this project, or I’ve read that you can use lemon juice, but I just didn’t have that available. You will need to make sure it is white vinegar and not any other kind because white vinegar is a diluted form of acetic acid which reacts with the oxidized copper that forms on the coin’s surface.

Pop your pennies in your glass, jar, bowl, or whatever you have laying around. I used these canning jars that I have sitting around and they work fabulously.

Add 1 teaspoon (you can add more, but this is what I used) of table salt to the water and mix your pennies, vinegar, and salt around. Leave sit for anywhere from 5-15 minutes. I left my pennies sitting for 5 minutes, but I think they could have been a shinier if I would have let them sit for longer. Take them out and wash off with cold water and pat dry.

After the pennies were dry, I went to Bayview Cemetery, one of the local cemeteries and left several dozen pennies on the graves of those who had served.
Bayview Cemetery
 What are your traditions for Memorial Day?

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Tombstone Tuesday: Valentine’s Edition

Note: Instead of posting this yesterday on actual Valentine’s Day I forgot and spent it with my husband. So, here is Tombstone Tuesday…ehh…I’ll have to call it 
Waiting to Find the Dead Wednesday.

It’s not every year that Tombstone Tuesday falls on a holiday and even rarer that it falls on a holiday that is all about love. Genealogy and family history in many senses is all about love. We meet, we fall in love, we have children. Time after time and again and again.

This week, I’ve decided to focus this edition of Tombstone Tuesday on gravestones that I’ve encountered that have a couple buried together or side-by-side.  All of these gravestones were taken from Bayview Cemetery in Bellingham, Washington. You can see more of my cemetery photography work at my Find a Grave profile located here. If you ever need a photo of an ancestors tombstone, be sure to message me!

Margaret and George Herley
Margaret and George Herley
Hanna and Ivar Amble
Hanna and Ivar Amble
John and Elizabeth Benthien
John and Elizabeth Benthien
Arnold and Bernice Loober
Arnold and Bernice Loober
Samuel and Natalie Franzke
Samuel and Natalie Franzke

What are your favorite “couples” gravestones or tombstones? Share in the comments below!

 


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Tombstone Tuesday: Military (US) Edition

Tombstone Tuesday has quickly become my favorite genealogy prompt from the Geneablogger with Thomas MacAntee. Last week it was the first edition. I’m a sucker for cemeteries (I have well over 500+ photos of gravestones on my hard drive right now). Each week of Tombstone Tuesday, I’m going to feature different stories, ideas or facts about cemeteries, tombstones and anything related to the field of death and burial.

grvestones
Evergreen Washelli Columbarium

Military tombstones and graves are quite unique among gravestones in general. They typically have a uniform look that is the same in almost any cemetery that you will visit. There are three types of headstones and markers available — the upright headstones, the markers, and the medallions.

John Peter Watson

While I did share the above picture in the last Tombstone Tuesday, I just love the visual representation of the winter ice on this picture. This was John Peter Watson,  born in 1895 in Minnesota and died at the age of forty-one in Bellingham, Washington.  This is an example of an upright marble headstone. These measurements are uniform 42-inches long, 13-inches wide and 4-inches thick. The stones are about 230 pounds or 104 kilograms (according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs) There may be variations in the stone color, but in general, all the stones are going to look the same.

These following gravestones are all of the upright marble headstones:

Dr. William Huey
Dr. William Huey
Thomothy Paul Walton
Thomothy Paul Walton
William Loyd Hubka
William Loyd Hubka

The next type of military marker you are going to find is the flat-type marker. These have become more common over the years as marble has fallen out of style. These markers are bronze and are 24 inches long, 12 inches wide, with 3/4 raise and weigh about 18 pounds or 8 kilograms. These are most commonly seen in cemeteries since the late 60’s and 70’s.

 

Olaf G. Overrein
Olaf G. Iverrein, flat marker

Because the markers are bronze, they can oxide and turn bright teal and aquamarine like Max M. Jenkins below.

Max M. Jenkins

The last kind of gravestone or marker for members of the military is a medallion. You’ll rarely see these on individual gravestones. They are typically located near a selection of military gravestones like this one in Bayview Cemetery.

United States Merchant Marine

What other military markers have you seen? Thank you to Life After Death Photography for lending their photos to this post. Be sure to follow us on Facebook here to keep up with the latest blog posts.

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Tombstone Tuesday: First Edition

I was so excited to see the Tombstone Tuesday writing prompt from GeneaBloggers and have decided to make it a permanent feature here at The Hipster Historian. Why? I love cemeteries. I visit one at least once a week and try to take as many pictures as I can both for photography practice (see here) and to help upload to one of the biggest gravestone photo repositories on the web — Find A Grave.

Today’s post will be about the different types of tombstones I’ve seen in my travels and trips to the cemeteries I’ve been too. Most of these photos come from my local cemetery, Bayview with the exception of the last photo taken at Mills and Mills Memorial Park in Tumwater, Washington.

John Peter Watson

John Peter Watson

Henry Roeder

Henry Roeder

Bayview Cemetery

Bayview Cemetery 2

What is your favorite cemetery or type of tombstone? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.


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