From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Affordable Alternative Grave Marker

Dignity Marker© for unmarked family graves


Dennis and I both have great-grandparents whose graves are unmarked. We have talked from time to time about getting headstones for them. It would fulfill the wishes of our parents as well as honor the memories of our great-grandparents. However, four granite or marble headstones would be a considerable investment for us.

We are interested in a solution from Ron Yates, a family tree researcher with roots in Crawford County, Indiana. Ron has an extensive genealogy website that includes my great-great grandmother Susana Jane McCleary (1848-1906.) That's how I began an internet acquaintance with him. 

Ron and other Yates family members have struggled to meet the need for dozens of grave markers in old cemeteries in Crawford County. So many graves needed attention that it was impossible to provide a marble or granite headstone for each one.

The search for an alternative memorial led the Yates family to an Illinois manufacturer, who helped them develop the Dignity Marker©. It's an attractive plaque, made of HPDE, a strong, durable synthetic that is used for plastic lumber, landfill liners, hard hats, water pipes, and many other products. It is available for $45 per plaque plus shipping (discounts for quantity orders.)

The Dignity Marker©, side view.
Testing the fit before packing
the holes of the block with dirt.
The Dignity Marker© is adhered to a standard concrete block (16 in. x 8 in. x 6 in.) with Liquid Nails Extreme Temperatures and Conditions (LN-201) construction adhesive. The block is then installed at the grave site, either flush with the ground or upright, depending on personal preferences and the cemetery rules. Any able-bodied person could do the job alone.

Ron wrote to me that they will be fabricating and installing 30 or more of these markers in April at the Yates Union Chapel Cemetery near Grantsburg, Indiana. What an achievement that will be!

A newly installed Dignity Marker©.
I told Ron that I might purchase the plaques, even though I didn't know when we would be able to make the trip to install them. He suggested that we could ask a local historical or genealogical society to recommend a reputable handyman, pay him for a couple of hours of work, and request a digital photo of the installed markers.

Dignity Marker© is not a big company. Rather, these are family genealogists who are sharing a simple solution to a real need. I am so impressed that I decided to help spread the word about this product. There are so many situations where an inexpensive grave marker is needed. (This post is not a paid advertisement!)

Please see the Dignity Marker© website for much more information than I've given here. They also have a Facebook page with lots of photos.

Thanks to Ron Yates and Dignity Marker© for permission to use the photographs in this post.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.