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Frequently asked questions

and other notes

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We are now on our 6th camera since starting taking photographs for this website, plus a video camera.  Currently we use a Sony DSC-HX100V.

Approximate dates when 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 version.

At first we used a stills camera for shots of larger objects and captured a shot from a video camera for smaller objects.  Developing & Printing costs were too prohibitive to take all with the stills camera.  The video camera photos are almost embarrassingly poor quality but we considered having a poor quality photo better than not having one and this video camera enabled us to take thousands of gravestone photographs.  Photograph names starting 'Digi' or 'D' indicate it was taken with the video camera (and thus poor quality).  We aim to replace all these old photographs.

Contacting us by Email
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We receive lots of emails and sometimes it takes a long time to answer  But if you do contact us, please be assured we will reply.  This is not a business, it is our hobby and it has to fit around our already busy lives.

Please note our email server's anti-virus software means emails received with an attachment may be automatically deleted; 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.

You can email us using the information on our  Contact Us  page.

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.

Each photograph has two links underneath - 'View' and 'Download'.  If you just want to look at the photo on your screen, click on View.  However if you want to copy the photograph onto your computer you should click the Download link (you may need to select where to save it on your machine).  The downloaded photo is a larger file size so the quality will be better for printing or zooming-in to see detail better.

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.

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If you spot a mistake, please let us know.

There are bound to be errors in the 6,708 pages we have and they aren't there deliberately!

And isn't it annoying when a link doesn't work?

We do not look at our pages regularly for errors so the chances are that if you don't tell us something is wrong, it will probably stay wrong.

So please, if you notice something wrong, please take the time to drop us a line telling us which page and what the error is.

We won't mind being told we've done something wrong.  Honestly.    Thank you

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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.  Our harsh British weather erodes these inscriptions and they will become lost with time.

People have different opinions on whether it is morally right to show 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, whether they are recent or or old.  Our photographs are intended to capture these inscriptions before they succumb to erosion.

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.

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 seventy one thousand entries.  These lists will tell you the photograph number and a link will take you to the photograph or a page if it is text.  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 transcriptions of war memorials and lists of rectors, the Wiltshire Collections pages etc, in fact, any page where names are mentioned.

Permission to Publish
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Before publishing our photographs on the internet we ask permission from somebody at the church, usually 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 to make it more official.  No church has ever said we cannot publish our photographs and, in fact, most welcome our project.

Running Costs and Donations
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This website is run by us as a hobby - it is not a business, which is just as well because we would starve!  We do not charge for using the website or copying our photographs.  But the fact is it does cost us a lot of money to run.

Income vs. Outgoing

We have plenty of regular outgoing costs:  broadband (dial up costs before that!), media storage, web hosting, domain registration, cloud back-up costs.  Then those 'one offs' like:  cameras (we've worn out 5 so far!) and batteries, scanner, computers (we've worn out too many to count), memory cards, laptops (3 so far), tablet, hard drives for storage and monitors.

And what about the cost of our trips out to take the photos?  To be fair we really enjoy these days out, but probably the biggest costs are petrol and we always leave a donation at a church.

We cannot even imagine how many hours we've spent working on this site, and not one minute of it being paid.

Our income is a much shorter list.  Google Ads and a 'Donate' button.

Google Ads are at the top and bottom of each page.  We receive a tiny amount when someone clicks on an ad.  We 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.  They were added around 2011 and are now on over 6,700 location pages and over 9,800 name search pages.  They currently earn us on average about £1.60 a month.

The Donate button was added maybe 15 years ago and has so far brought us £142 in total.

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

We will be happy to add you to our  Sponsors  page, along with 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.

Source of Information
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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 Historic England 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 have made a donation towards the running costs of this website, we will be pleased to add you to our list of Sponsors - see our  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 give a identifying 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 and sometimes we don't know which is what.  If you notice a mistake or can add to our information, please let us know.  Thank you

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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 Information
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Should you contact us by email, please be assured we will not pass on your details.  We keep the email on our computer and nobody else has access to it.

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 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 Website
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We will be happy to add a link to your website, provided it is conservation/church/genealogy related.  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 11/07/2020 22:52:53
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