Craig Bakay | May 29, 2019
The Clar-Miller Community Archives is “well on its way to becoming a historical society,” Brenda Miller told a large audience on a rainy Saturday morning last week.
“We’re here to preserve local history for future generations.”
To that end, they’ve been busily working on their current project, Unravelling History: One Tombstone at a Time.
“We’re cataloguing our cemeteries,” Martin said. “It’s a multi-year project, including drone maps of our cemeteries and a list of those in them with tombstone photos and genealogical information.”
Martin acknowledged the help North Frontenac Township has given them in their endeavours.
She said the entire project will cost around $14,660, with much of that being in-kind work from the CMCA.
Special guests for the event included Joe Wilson, chair of the Ontario Cemetery Board and Steve Fulton, president of the Ontario Genealogical Society. They conducted a demonstration of dousing to determine if a grave is occupied following the proceedings.
Wilson also spoke on the importance of preserving tombstones and, in particular, methods of cleaning and preserving tombstones, which although made of rock in most cases, can be quite fragile.
“Water is number 1,” he said. “You don’t want to use anything acidic or alkaline.
“And a soft bristle brush is important, especially with old shale and/or limestone tombstones.
“Don’t use power tools or metal brushes and the rule is ‘if it won’t scratch your car, it won’t scratch the stone.’”
He also said “it’s not the stone that’s important, it’s the little dash that’s between the numbers; that was the person’s life.”
He said it’s important to note that when you buy a plot, be it in the ground, in a mausoleum, or any other area set aside for the interment of human remains, it doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want to there.
“When you ‘buy’ a plot in a cemetery, you don’t own the property,” he said. “You’ve only bought the right to put something in there.”
He said it’s also important to make sure the cemetery is registered under the funeral, burial and Cremation Services Act.
“If it’s not registered, it can be bulldozed over tomorrow if a developer so decides,” he said.