Home   Contact Us   Bookmark Us
Receive Family Tree Talk Ezine Only Once Per Month For Free Today!
                                                                    Home Guide Famous Trees Family Art Free Resources Find Cousins

cemetery genealogy For cemetery genealogy research, a family historian's visit to a graveyard, whether large or a small family cemetery, is for them much like entering a library making photocopies of books which are in a cemetery, the tombstone symbols. Each tombstone cemetery plot is a valuable book foretelling invaluable cemetery genealogy research about someone whose final resting place is marked by beautifully etched gravestone markers. The clustering together of family plots could resemble different genres of books making this a great family tree research tool or activity.

You may gather information that includes the full name, birth and death date, as well as symbols, phrases, and epitaphs that indicate religious, community or military affiliations, cause of death, and the impact this person had on the mourners he left behind. Keep in mind that some symbols may be chosen primarily for aesthetic reasons, but in most cases a symbol represents a universally accepted definition.

As a helpful aspect, cemeteries generally include large groupings of family members. A genealogist may discover a missing link after inquiring about a mysterious plot included near the family burial grounds.


Tips For Cemetery Genealogy Visits
As online genealogy researching becomes more popular, an increasing number of researchers are digitizing cemetery plot transcriptions. Older cemeteries located in rural communities prove to be the most valuable, since they are less likely to have already been recorded. Grave markings whittle away with age, so this practice is a must for preserving this valuable genealogy research tool.

Overall Cemetery Description - You may want to photograph the entrance to the cemetery to capture the name and the overall appearance of the cemetery. Along with a photography, we advise recording the history of this cemetery including who started it, notable families, and how it has been maintained, and the length of time it was open for burials. Also include driving directions, so others may visit the cemetery as well.

Recording Inscriptions - Some people may share the same plot. These relationships may be parent and child or a married couple. Never assume a marriage relationship unless the words "husband" and "wife" are inscribed on the headstone marker. Record everything on the tombstone, especially exactly how phrases or words are abbreviated. A recordkeeper may mistake a meaning of an abbreviation on a headstone that will throw off the genealogist using this information.

Inquire About Sexton Records - Beware that some sextons may ask you to leave if they discover you are visiting the graveyard as a cemetery transcriber. Therefore, always inquire about sexton records after first transcribing all of the gravestone carvings. The sexton may have an Ariel map of the grave sites, as well as more defined information about each interred such as their occupations, family relationships, cause of death, military affiliations, and last known residences. Never record information about a living relative.

Formulate a map of the plot locations - First ask a sexton for a copy of the map of the cemetery plots in his records. When creating your own cemetery plot map, understand that most older cemeteries are not lined evenly. Form a number each plot and correspond that number with your tombstone transcription records, so others can easily visit the tombstone.


Tombstone Symbols and Meanings
Religious Gravestone Symbols:
A Bibleusually contains a cross and is a universal symbol for the belief in christianity. AngelA christian symbol that is believed to guard a person's final resting place
Anchorrepresents a hidden cross ChaliseRepresents the holy sacriment
HeartA Catholic symbol indicating the suffering of Christ for our sins Menorah :A symbol of someone practicing Judaism
Star of David :A symbol of someone practicing Judaism Triangle :Holy trinity

Trades and Occupations Symbols on Gravestones:
Barber :Bowel (to catch the blood) and a razor Butcher :An axe, steel knife, or a clever
Farmer :Coulter (a type of hoe) or a stalk of corn Mason :Wedge and a level
Mariner :An anchor or a sexton A Bible or book :May indicate a teacher or a minister
Celtic Cross :represents faith and someone from Irish ancestry 

Plants and Animals Symbols on Gravestones :
Birds :Means eternal life or the resurrection Butterfly :The diseased lived a short life
Lamb :Usually marks on the grave of a child meaning always maitaining innocence Lion :Eternally watching over the grave; also could mean the courage of the diseased
Tree :Represents life; a tree spouting indicates life everlasting; A tree stump stands for a life interrupted Full Bloomed Rose :The person died during the prime of their life
Eagle :Courage, faith and military service Hands : 

Military Symbols on Gravestones :
Sword found at base of stoneinfantry Sword inverted :victory
Sword sheathed :temperance during conflict Swords crossed :Life lost in battle
Fish :May indicate military service Eagle :Courage and military service
Cannon :If found at base of stone means artillary Bugle : 
Gun :Strength and protection   

Policies :Terms of ServicePrivacy PolicyFamily Tree LinksWebmaster LoginAdvertise

   
Make My Family Tree.com is a free online step by step family tree guide that explains how to make a family tree. Other genealogy resources found on this site include free family resources, famous family tree articles, informative genealogy articles, and family art drawings made by kids around the world, and family tree making crafts. The goal of this family tree website is to help family historians and genealogist learn more about genealogy in a fun and creative way. Subscribe to Tree Talk Ezine to learn more about the updates of make my family tree.com and read informative genealogy articles.
Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the makemyfamilytree.com Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
Copyright 2007-2011 Shoppy Designs LLC All Rights Reserved
Shoppy Designs Network :