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Frequently asked questions

and other notes

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We have used 6 different cameras in the past for photographs on this website.  Currently we use a Sony.  All have been 'point and shoot' with automatic focus and exposure.

When we first started taking photographs we generally used the stills camera for shots of larger objects and the video camera for smaller objects.  Developing & Printing costs were too prohibitive to take all photographs using the stills camera.  The video camera had a great zoom and were of course free of D&P costs but the quality of these pictures is very poor.  We considered it better to have a poor quality photograph of something than none at all and this video camera enabled us to start taking photographs of the thousands of gravestones that are on this site.  Photograph names starting 'Digi' or 'D' indicate it was taken with the video camera and thus not a very good quality.  Had we known we were going to eventually buy a digital camera we would have used a different prefix!  We are aiming to replace all our old photographs but this will no doubt take a long time to achieve.

As a rough guide to which camera took what, these are very approximate dates we used each camera:
    February 2012 to present - Sony DSC-HX100V
    March 2011 - February 2012 - Pentax Optio RZ10 camera
    [February 2011 to February 2011 - Pentax Optio 550 - second hand model]
    August 2003 to February 2011 - Pentax Optio 550 (our first digital camera)
    1998 - August 2003 - Olympus Superzoom 130S (35mm film),
    Pre 1998 - Canon Sure Shot (35mm film)
    The video camera we used was a Panasonic NV-DS11.

Photographs taken using 35mm film were later scanned to produce the digital information.

Church Appeals
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Every church we have visited is in need of money for the upkeep of the building.  Some churches have been standing for hundreds of years and repairs are necessary but must be made properly, using specific materials, following correct procedures, all of which takes a lot of time and a great deal of money.

We would be pleased to add details of fundraising appeals to a church page, so please contact us if you can give us the necessary information.

Church Websites
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Some of our church pages have a link to that church's own website.  If you know an url for a church we do not have a link for, please send us details so we can add it to the page.  Thank you.

We have a list of websites for places and churches at  Other Websites.

Copying/Downloading photographs
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We are happy for you to copy and download any of our own photographs.  Please read our  copyright conditions first.

The website is currently undergoing changes and eventually each photograph will have two links underneath - 'View' and 'Download'.  For those photographs that do have a Download link, please click on it to download the full size photograph for better quality printing and to see more detail.

For photographs without the Download link you will need to click on the thumbnail and wait for the photograph to load - when it does appear, right click on the photograph and one of the options will be 'Save' - choose this and save the file to your computer as you normally would.

Viewing a photograph on your computer screen does not necessarily give an indication of its quality - our code means even a very large photograph will fit on a screen without having to use scroll bars to see it.

'Digi' Photographs
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This section is about the photographs are taken using a Panasonic NV-DS11 video camera, using the 'capture photo' option.  These photographs are digital and indicated by having a 'Digi' or 'D' in front of their name eg D001.  Video photographs of small objects are generally just about ok, but for larger objects the quality is extremely poor.

Until we bought our first digital camera we used the video camera to take the majority of our photographs of memorials and gravestones simply because to have used the stills camera meant developing and printing costs were too prohibitive.  We simply would not have taken these photographs, and so consider these poor quality photographs better than not having one.  We hope to eventually replace all our Digi photographs with 'proper' photographs but of course it does mean re-visiting places we have already been to and it is very time consuming.

You will see some digital photographs have the whole object and also part of it enlarged too - this is usually an inscription or carving where the whole picture could not be read so we zoomed in to capture the detail.

The video camera is brilliant for zooming in very close and it could pick up far more detail than our other cameras used at that time.  The drawback of zooming in so close is we can only take a small section of the object at a time and all the photographs taken must be put together later on the computer like a jigsaw.  This leads to the finished photograph being rather untidy where the lines meet or the colours don't match or the size of letters are different.  It can make the photograph look rather odd, but it does at least mean we can read the inscription.

One particular photograph was a nightmare to paste together.  The memorial (in Christian Malford Church) was fairly high up a wall - this gives problems with perspective; the top of the object is further away so is smaller in the photograph.  The inscription was so faded we didn't think it could be read, but zoomed in close to take a look.  We found the camera could pick up more than the eye could, so we decided to photograph it before the inscription was lost forever.  Seventy-seven (yes 77) photographs later we had finished, but the fun was yet to come.  Fitting all these pieces together - getting the angles and sizes right - was a nightmare but at least Mandy learnt a lot about manipulating photographs on the computer.  The end product looks rather clumsy, but at least the inscription can be read.

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We produce this website as a hobby and it takes up all our spare time.  We used to receive and average of around 30 emails each day.  It was stopping us doing our work so we decided to give some guidelines about emailing us.  It worked!  We receive on average 30-40 emails a week.

We try to reply to every email but it takes a long time to answer this many and sometimes it can take us months to get around to answering.  As our spare time is limited it means we are spending time answering emails instead of working on the website - we currently have nearly close to five thousand photographs waiting to be added.

We are asked a lot of questions about the places or people in the photographs and genealogy.  We are unable to help because we do not do any research - we simply take photographs of these places and have no other information to offer.  Through experience we ask you consider the following before emailing us:

please don't ask us to help with your research.  We don't have enough time to do our own let alone yours!
please don't ask how to start researching your family tree.  There are plenty of websites than can help you, but this website is not one of them.
please don't ask about obtaining certificates, microfiche etc.  We have never ordered any on-line, so do not know the procedure.
please don't ask about people named in the photographs or texts.  We have no personal knowledge of them so cannot give you any more details.
please don't ask about the histories of churches.  We do not research a church - just photograph it.
please don't ask us about employing researchers - we do not know any so cannot recommend any.
Sorry to sound so negative, but we are frequently asked these questions and we simply do not want to spend time answering emails as it is stopping us doing other things.

Please note our anti-virus software means emails received with an attachment may be automatically deleted; we also have a size limit to emails - we won't even know you've sent one to us.  Similarly, filters in place will automatically delete emails with certain words in or that are deemed SPAM.  Please accept our apologies if you have sent an email to us and we have not acknowledged receipt - it was probably deleted without us knowing it had been sent.

If you do contact us, please be assured we will reply although it may take some time.  This is not a business, it is our hobby and it has to fit around our already busy lives.  Contact Us

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We have many photographs of gravestones on our website.  We have photographed them to preserve their detail and allow future generations to view their ancestor's commemoration.  Another good reason for photographing them is over the last few years graveyards are being inspected for safety reasons and, basically, unless a gravestone is totally secure in it's foundations it is put flat on the ground and in effect the inscription is lost.

People have different opinions on whether it is morally right to publish photographs of gravestones without the families consent and we have given the matter a great deal of thought ever since starting this project.  Of course we cannot contact each family and even if we were able to we are sure different members of a family would have different opinions anyway.

We want to explain here our reasons for publishing the photographs.  You may not agree with them and if you see a gravestone of your family on our pages and want it removed we will do so.  We do ask that before you contact us you give consideration to the following, and ask other family members if they also want it removed because their opinion may be different to yours and you will be depriving them and future generations of seeing the photograph.   By writing these notes we are not trying to justify ourselves because we are secure in our belief that we are doing the right thing, but we do want to explain.

Please be assured we never intrude on a grave, we are always respectful because we know a loved human being was laid to rest at this place.

Churches are considered to be public places and as such we do not need permission to take photographs.  Out of politeness and respect we do ask someone at a church if we may take photographs and put them on our website.  No church has ever refused, in fact, they have all been most welcoming and are pleased a record is being made.

We have received hundreds (probably into the thousands) of emails since we started photographing gravestones thanking us for publishing the photographs.  We have received four from people objecting to having their loved one's commemoration being photographed (which were removed immediately).  We have received many emails requesting we add more photographs so their loved ones can be included in our pages.

People write to tell us it feels like they are visiting the grave when they view the photograph and how comforting it is to know they can visit their loved one's grave whenever they want to just by using their computer.  They tell us how pleased they are that the person's life is continuing to be commemorated.

We have heard how people have been searching for a lost family member and found them thanks to our photographs.  It is good to hear these moving stories and humbling that we have been part of their resolution.

Many emails have been from people not being able to physically visit a grave because they live too far away or are too ill, but now feel they can, again, visit the grave by viewing the photograph.

The older a gravestone becomes the harder it is to read the inscription, so we try to photograph all gravestones that are readable, even if they are recent or if the inscription is difficult to read.  Our photographs are intended to capture these inscriptions before they succumb to our harsh British weather.

We have had many discussions about whether we should photograph recently placed gravestones for fear of upsetting family members.  The conclusion we came to is if we are taking photographs to preserve the memory for the future then we should include more recent stones.  These photographs will be taken whilst a stone is still readable, and clean and in good condition, which is surely how we would want all our loved one's commemoration to be seen.

Although the photographs are publically available it is our experience that the only people who look at a particular gravestone are those who either know or think it belongs to their family.  Looking at the thousands of photographs on hundreds of pages of gravestones for people they don't know is simply not something people do.

Our conclusion is that having a gravestone to mark a burial place is a way of publically allowing the memory of the person to live on.  We feel we are helping that cause and are preserving that memory through the medium of photography.  If you still feel you want a photograph of your family to be removed please email us and we will remove it as soon as we are able.

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Any information we give - ie dates - is generally taken from one of three sources:
- a history guide/leaflet obtained from the church.
- the British Listed Buildings website which gives details of listed buildings
- The Wiltshire Collections book

It is a big responsibility to publish something as fact and must be well researched so as not to give false information.  With this in mind, our respect goes to individuals who have produced the leaflets which are found in so many of the churches.  We have been permitted to copy some of these histories - our thanks go to the authors who have agreed to our doing this.  (If you have written a history of a church we have photographed and would like to see it added to the page, we will be happy to hear from you!)

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If you spot a mistake, please let us know.

There are bound to be errors in the 3381 pages we have at this site!  Spelling mistakes happen not just through us typing it incorrectly but because it is easy to misinterpret a name on a worn inscription.

Although we try to test each page to make sure links work before we put it on site, some have later been found not to work.

If you notice something wrong and don't tell us about them, they will probably stay unfixed, so please take the time to drop us a line telling us which page and what the error is.  Thank you

Mailing Lists for Genealogy
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Mailing lists are an excellent way of seeking help with your research, as well as finding other people researching the same names you are.  They are free to join, so excellent value too!   We have some listed at   Mailing Lists  on our 'Links' page.

Mailing lists basically work like this:  you subscribe to a list for the region you are researching and you will receive a copy of every email that is sent to the list.  And, of course, you can send your own email to the list.

Emails tend to take three forms:  asking a question, answering a question or posting surnames interests.

Ask your questions and someone will probably be able to help you - fellow listers are always helpful and some have a wealth of knowledge about genealogy.

It can be rewarding to post your surname interests, along with the area of your research.  This is a great way of finding other people who are researching the same name you are, and we're sure most people on the lists will have met a relative this way - we have!   Not only will you have found a new relative, but you can compare and swap information with each other.

The two lists we used the most are WessexPlus and Moonrakers.  WessexPlus covers (roughly) the south of England, whilst Moonrakers deals solely with Wiltshire.  Both are helpful and deal with genealogy.  Moonrakers also concerns itself with more broader Wiltshire matters, and those who have been on the list a long time have come to appreciate and enjoy the humour too!   [Whilst Moonrakers does not charge for subscription, it does ask its members to send a postcard of a tourist location where they live once a year to the List Owner, John Feltham.  Wouldn't you just love to be John's postman!?  These postcards are then passed on to a local primary school and I'm sure the children love them.  What a brilliant way to learn about the world.]

Running Costs and Donations
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This website is run by us as a hobby - it is not our business.  We do not charge for using the website or copying our photographs for private use.  (For commercial use, a donation is requested, but none has yet to be received.)  But even though it is a hobby it does cost us a lot of money to run.

If you think our work is worth supporting and would like to make a donation you can do so by clicking here:  Donate.

We will be happy to add you to our Sponsors page, and a brief dedication/message.

What started as a little hobby has turned into a very expensive one and we will appreciate any donations you would care to give.

Income vs. Outgoing

Our costs include:
- monthly broadband fee
- annual web host fee
- bi-annual domain registration
- cameras and batteries
- computers
- back-up equipment
- petrol
- our donation to each church visited
Total income since 1998*:
- £60 from Google Ads**
- £112 from donations
A total of 172.
It is a good job this is not our business because we would starve!

* at time of writing, May 2013

** Google Ads are the ads you can see at the top and bottom of each of the updated pages.  We receive between less than a penny to 5 pence each time someone clicks on an ad.  These ads have been on about 1600 pages since around 2011.  We have tried be discreet in their placement so as not to interfere with our visitor's experience, but our dilema is if people don't see them they won't click on them and we won't receive any money.

Permission to Publish
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Before publishing our photographs on the internet we ask permission from somebody at the church at the time of our visit.  We need not actually seek permission from parish churches as they are public buildings but we consider it only polite and respectful to do so.

Mostly our request receives a positive answer, but occasionally further permission needs to be sought from church meeting.  No church has ever said we cannot publish our photographs and, in fact, most welcome our project.

Photograph Date
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The date shown under a photograph is the month and year the photograph was taken.  Some of the older pages will have the date at the top of the page instead.

Photo Names search
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We record each name that appears on every photograph and have compiled a searchable list which currently has over fifty four thousand six hundred entries.  These lists will tell you the photograph number and a link will take you to the photograph although on some of the older pages the link will only take you to the page.  For more information, go to  Names Search info.

We have extended the search to include not just the photographs, but also other pages such as lists of rectors, the Aubrey pages etc, in fact, any page where names are mentioned.

Photograph Sizes
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There are two sorts of photograph sizes - the space they take to store, and the physical size of a print.

We do not record the print size because you can print a photograph the size you want it, but we do record the file size under each photograph to give you an indication of  a.  how long it will take to download and  b.  how good the quality of that photograph may be should you choose to view or print it.

Viewing a photograph on screen doesn't necessarily show you the quality at which it will print.  Looking at the same photograph stored at 100k and 800k may not appear very different on screen, but the print quality will be different.

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The older photographs on the website were taken using a 'stills' camera then scanned at 400 dpi (dots per inch).  This should give a reasonable quality when printing, or when zooming in to see detail more closely.

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If you have made a donation towards the running costs of this website, we will be pleased to add you to our list of Sponsors - see the  Sponsors  page.

Please tell us what you would like to be added under the two headings of 'Name of Donator' and 'Message'.  You do not need to have your full name, as an example you may prefer something like 'Uncle Fred'.  A message may be something along the lines of 'In memory of the x family who lived in x'.

Surnames & Titles
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People's Titles confuse us - sometimes they are the same as a surname and sometimes they aren't.  If you notice a mistake or can add to our information, please let us know.  Thank you

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Thumbnails are a small version of the full size photograph.  Thumbnails are not suitable to copy as the quality is so poor.

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So why go to all the bother of producing these pages for the internet?  There are three main reasons - Conservation, Genealogy, and an Experience.

We visit some beautiful buildings that are a part of our heritage.  We take photographs of them so there is a record should anything happen to the building and they are no longer available to see.  We try to photograph all items of interest, whether it be a memorial to someone or a work of art carved by an mason or carpenter.  We cannot do anything about our harsh British weather eroding inscriptions on gravestones or stone carvings etc, but we can take photographs of these objects so they can be seen in the future.

Even in the short time we have been taking photographs, we have noticed how much gravestones especially have deteriorated - inscriptions that could be read eight or ten years ago are now too faded to read.

Genealogy is a popular hobby nowadays - in fact doing our own research is why we started visiting churches taking photographs.  There is so much information to be seen on a gravestone or memorial that registers do not give and we record inscriptions to preserve their detail for future generations.

We visited a particular church where Mandy's family had been recorded in church registers for at least four hundred years.  Mandy sat in a pew and took in the surroundings.  These relatives had walked along the very aisle we now walked along, had sat in the very pews we were sat in.  Their marriages had been blessed here and no doubt there were tears at funerals.  Looking at the font, we knew that her family had stood at that very spot and smiled as their babies were baptised.  It was a wonderful experience and made the facts she had collected come to life; it made these people real and so much more than simply a collection of names and dates.

We know there are a lot of researchers whose families originated in Wiltshire but they themselves live in another part of the world and cannot visit the church their own family had worshipped in.  We hope in some way our photographs will help them experience a bit of what we felt when we visited Mandy's family church.

Your Photographs
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Some people have been kind enough to offer their own church photographs to be included at our website, especially of churches we have not visited.  After some thought we have decided to decline these offers.

We prefer to use our own photographs so have no need to worry about copyright, file sizes, writing dates and places on the photograph, cropping or altering them for light/shade etc.  Also we like to seek permission from the church before publishing photographs and unless you have already done so it is can be complicated for us trying to track down people to ask.  You might consider producing your own website showing your photographs - we will gladly put a link to it from ours.

We very much appreciate the gesture, and thank all those that have offered.

Your Research
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We do not have the facility at our website to include your family history details.

If you would like your research published on the internet perhaps you might consider creating your own website.  We would be happy to include a link from our Researchers Lists or the website lists (see website list).

Your Website
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We will be happy to add a link to your website, provided it is conservation/church/genealogy related!

See the current list at:  Your Website.  Please send us the url and a short description of what can be found at the site.

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This page was last updated on 21/08/2016
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