Gravestone Rubbing Laws - Part One

The purpose behind gravestone rubbing laws is to ensure that hobbyists maintain decorum and preserve the dignity of the departed. Graves are very important to the families of those who are buried in it; therefore it becomes extremely important for hobbyists to adhere to gravestone rubbing laws to ensure that they do not do anything that can harm the sentiments of people who are allowing them to conduct their hobby on something so valuable for their family.

These rules are for your benefit too because as a hobbyist, if you are able to maintain gravestones properly you will be able to continue practicing your hobby longer. So here's a look at some of these gravestone rubbing laws and how, even if they are not prevalent in your area, you can take proper precautions in this hobby.

Gravestone Rubbing Laws to Remember

The first thing to remember is that there are only certain cemeteries that allow gravestone rubbing and entering these cemeteries without the right equipment and right knowledge of gravestone rubbing laws will get you into legal trouble. The first and most important law is to ensure that the cemetery allows gravestone rubbing. Many beautiful cemeteries might seem quite tempting but you cannot just enter anywhere.

Basically, you need to ensure that public cemeteries allow gravestone rubbers and if you are heading into a private cemetery, then a written permission from the owners will be just perfect.

Another important law states that hobbyists cannot destroy or cause damage to anything in the cemetery. This includes, but is not limited to, tombs, markers, buried bodies, plants, buildings or any other existing elements that are a part of the cemetery. In some places, like South Carolina, any defiling can lead to anywhere between a $5000 fine to a 10-year prison sentence.

Some Basic Gravestone Rubbing Laws and Regulations

The most important thing you need to remember is that before you can start gravestone rubbing, you must learn everything there is to know about it. Practicing the hobby safely and properly is key to ensure that you do not cause any damage to those tombstones. There are many books and associations that tell you exactly what you need to do and how to do it properly.

When you learn everything there is to know about gravestone rubbing, you quickly realise that there are certain things that you can use and some things that are just too harmful. From the quality of the wax you use to the kind of paper you employ, everything makes a difference. The difference, sometimes, can be what keeps you from breaking the law and enjoying your hobby.

Also, you need to be aware of the kind of materials tombstones are made of. Sometimes, a tombstone may have some of the most unique inscriptions you may have ever seen but because of the way you handle it, things might go horribly wrong. You need to be very gentle when taking an impression and cleaning up after you are done is also very important. As a hobbyist interested in gravestone rubbing, you cannot, at any point of time, leave a tombstone in worse shape than you left it.

Common courtesy and regulations of the hobby, in fact, state that you should always leave it in a better state than you found it. This ensures that anyone who comes after you should see a well preserved gravestone rather than a vandalized version of it.

If you see a gravestone that you would really like to get an impression of but find that it is too delicate or fragile for you to touch, then the best bet is to take a photograph of it. All you need to do is use a soft-bristle brush to clean the stone and gently dust off any rubble or dust on it. You cannot, at any point of time, use a metal brush or any form of abrasive solvent or product that can damage the natural colour of the tombstone.

Gravestone rubbing laws absolutely prohibit anyone from changing the natural state of the stone, which means wear and tear shows up as just that. Finally, you can take a photograph of the stone or, if it isn't really clear, just transcribe what you can read off of it.

Gravestone rubbing laws are designed for just one thing - protecting the property and sentiments of those that are buried in the graves and their family-members & loved ones. If you are going to go out there armed with tombstone rubbing equipment, then make sure you adhere to these gravestone rubbing laws to safeguard their interests as well as yours.

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