Cemetery Sign Language

Cemetery Sign Language

Unravel the meanings of your ancestors' tombstone art with this quick guide to the significance of common marks.

Unravel the meanings of your ancestors’ tombstone art with this quick guide to the significance of common marks:

angels: God’s messengers and guardians

archways, pillars and gates: passage into the next life

book: the Bible, the book of life

broken tree stump or pillar: a life cut short

completed pillar or column: a complete and full life

doves: the Holy Spirit

forefinger pointing down: God reaching down for the soul

forefinger pointing up: passage of the soul to heaven

half-carved tombstone: transition from life to death

handshake: God welcoming the soul into heaven

heart: a blissful soul (Colonial era), romantic love (Victorian era to today)

hourglass: flight of time

lambs: purity, gentleness, innocence

palm leaves and lilies: resurrection

rose: motherhood, beauty

skeleton: death

skull and crossbones: mortal remains of the deceased

soul effigy: the immortal soul

tree stumps: usually Woodmen of the World member

urn: death of the flesh

willow: mourning and earthly sorrow

winged death head: mortal remains of the deceased

 
From the June 2005 Family Tree Magazine

 


 

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