Jerripedia gravestone image collection

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Chris Le Mottee taking photographs for the collection in St Ouen's Church cemetery

Jersey gravestones are an important source of family history data, but until comparatively recently this has only been accessible to those historians able to visit Jersey cemeteries, and search for graves which might contain information about their ancestors.

In 2013 Chris Le Mottee embarked on a project to photograph graves in Jersey cemeteries and her photographs were posted to the Facebook Jersey Family Tree group. Although this has become a valuable resource, the pictures are grouped in albums relating to individual cemeteries, without any index.

Family pages

Chris has agreed that her photographs can be reproduced in Jerripedia, and we have added many of them to the family pages of those families whose members appear on the stones. We also have a page of images which are not linked to family pages.

Image quality

As might be expected with photographs of gravestones which can be more than 150 years old, the inscriptions are often very difficult to read, and in processing them for inclusion in Jerripedia we are doing our best to enhance their quality. Sometimes we can adjust the contrast of the image to make the lettering stand out better, sometimes we can highlight specific words, and sometimes we can undertake a very time-consuming process of digitally cleaning the stone.

It should be noted that this is a collection of gravestone inscriptions, not images of the whole graves. By concentrating on the inscriptions only we can help provide valuable information for family historians. Where possible we also crop inscriptions to show only the most relevant family details and dates so that we can maximise the value of the image which inevitably has to be reduced in size to avoid overloading our server's storage capacity. The photograph of the grave on the Facebook page will show a wider view of most graves, but there is no index, so you will have to search through the albums for the appropriate cemetery to locate the photograph.

In some cases an inscription provides information about two or more generations of a single family; in others it unfortunately does no more than indicate that a specific family name features on the gravestone, confirming that further information could be available to any researcher able to locate individual graves in specific cemeteries. We regret that we are unable to handle any inquiries about whether more information is readable on the original digital images.

If you are having trouble reading any inscriptions you may want to change your screen resolution temporarily to zoom in on the lettering. How you accomplish this varies from device to device, but within most browsers on a standard Windows computer you use Ctrl and + one or more times to increase the magnification and Ctrl and - to return to the original setting. You can also click on a thumbnail image to see a larger version.

The images attached to each family page are captioned with information about the cemetery in which they can be found. At the moment the collection of images only covers about half the island's cemeteries, but work has already started to take photographs in further cemeteries.

Other families

Eventually our objective is to include an image of every gravestone in every Jersey cemetery, searchable by the names of those family members inscribed on the stones, but understandably this is likely to take some time.

There are also a number of graveyards yet to be visited by Chris Le Mottee with her camera, but she has recently added St John, St Ouen, St Saviour and St Lawrence to the growing collection and intends to work towards creating a complete set.

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