Isn’t it exciting when you find a grave marker that has a full name, full date of birth and full date of death! Of course you know that this information is always a little suspect because you normally don’t have any way of knowing who the informant was unless you have some really good Sexton records. There is something else you need to be watching out for when you are looking at grave markers and that is, does the type of marker/condition of the marker match the date of death?
It is very common for markers to be erected long after a person died. The more time that has passed from the time the person the person died to when the grave marker was carved makes the information more suspect. That doesn’t mean it isn’t correct. The person that gave the information might well have had a credible source such as a family Bible but there is usually no way to know this. When you see a modern marker for someone that died a very long time ago your radar should go up. You should definitely make a note of this in your file. You need to show that you are aware of it and that you have considered it. This is one reason that it is really good to have a photo of the marker and not rely on a transcription alone. Here is an example:
Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis