Understanding Cemetery Symbols Part I – BillionGraves

I saw this in an e-mail today, https://blog.billiongraves.com/2019/01/29/understanding-the-cemetery-symbols-on-your-ancestors-gravestones/. Part II should be posted next week. Some earlier links on the BillionGraves (BG) blog are https://blog.billiongraves.com/2013/08/20/headstone-symbolism-part-1/ and https://blog.billiongraves.com/2013/12/21/headstone-symbolism-part-2/.

I urge caution on headstone symbols as sometimes the person or family liked the symbol and it had little or nothing to do with the traditional symbolism associated with the symbol. I ran across this with an epitaph “God alone understands” and as I went around the cemetery, there were probably half dozen or more headstones with this epitaph. The headstones all appear to be from the same company, or at least they all had the same material and designs. In some cases, there was a reason for choosing the stone with the epitaph, but in other cases, it may have been cost motivated.

Here are a few other links about headstone symbolism:

The above sites include overlap. There may be cases where sites go with different observations on a symbol.

 

About ICT Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's collaborateDealspotr.com
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4 Responses to Understanding Cemetery Symbols Part I – BillionGraves

  1. Pingback: Acronyms on Headstones | Ups and Downs of Family History V2.0

  2. Pingback: Understanding Cemetery Symbols, Part II – BillionGraves | Ups and Downs of Family History V2.0

  3. Cathy Wallace says:

    Thanks for your references to our BillionGraves blog posts and we agree that symbols can have duplicity of meanings. We also noted that in our blog posts as follows:

    “The Webster Dictionary definition of symbols is ‘something that stands for or suggests something else by reason of relationship, association, convention, or accidental resemblance.’ The key word in that definition is “suggests.” In the end, a symbol is still a symbol. It represents whatever the person who designed it meant it to be, even though someone else may interpret it differently.

    “Since we cannot speak to the people who commissioned the symbol on the stone or those who carved it, interpretations should always be considered possibilities, not certainties. That said, there are particular symbols that have come to have commonly accepted meanings through their repeated use.”

    You can read the full BillonGraves Cemetery Symbols, Part I blog post here: https://blog.billiongraves.com/2019/01/29/understanding-the-cemetery-symbols-on-your-ancestors-gravestones/
    And BillonGraves Cemetery Symbols, Part II blog post here: https://blog.billiongraves.com/2019/02/05/understanding-cemetery-symbols-part-ii/

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cathy Wallace says:

    Thanks for your references to our BillionGraves blog posts! 🙂 We agree that symbols can have duplicity of meanings. We also noted that in our blog posts as follows:

    “The Webster Dictionary definition of symbols is ‘something that stands for or suggests something else by reason of relationship, association, convention, or accidental resemblance.’ The key word in that definition is “suggests.” In the end, a symbol is still a symbol. It represents whatever the person who designed it meant it to be, even though someone else may interpret it differently.

    “Since we cannot speak to the people who commissioned the symbol on the stone or those who carved it, interpretations should always be considered possibilities, not certainties. That said, there are particular symbols that have come to have commonly accepted meanings through their repeated use.”

    You can read the full BillonGraves Cemetery Symbols, Part I blog post here: https://blog.billiongraves.com/2019/01/29/understanding-the-cemetery-symbols-on-your-ancestors-gravestones/
    And BillonGraves Cemetery Symbols, Part II blog post here: https://blog.billiongraves.com/2019/02/05/understanding-cemetery-symbols-part-ii/

    Liked by 1 person

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