Sunday, February 5, 2012

Why is That on His Tombstone?

Ever wonder why a particular craving, design, etc. appears on a tombstone? I think up to now I just assumed that the person that chose that craving or design liked it. Now that I have found the wonderful Iowa GenWeb Project, I learned that in many cases each design or craving on the tombstone has an actual meaning. Below is the list found on the Photos of Gravestone page of
I am now going through photos of my ancestors' grave sites more carefully, trying to discern what love ones chose for their dearly departed. Add a comment if you discover anything interesting about your ancestor's tombstone

Meanings of Carvings:
Arches - Victory in Death
Arrows - Mortality
Bouquets/Flowers - Condolences, grief, sorrow
Buds/Rosebud - Morning of Life or Renewal of Life
Roses - Brevity of earthly existence
Portals - Passageway to eternal journey
Bugles - Resurrection and the Military
Crossed Swords - High-ranking military person
Flying Birds - Flight of the Soul
Fruits - Eternal plenty
Garlands - Victory in death
Imps - Mortality
Shells - Pilgrimage of Life
Thistles - Remembrance
Tombs - Mortality
Trees - Life
Trumpeters - Heralds of the Resurrection
Willows - Earthly Sorrow
Morning Glory - Beginning of Life
Butterfly - Short-lived+ADs-Early Death
Full-Blown Rose - Prime of Life
Palm Branch - Signifies Victory and rejoicing
Ivy - Friendship and Immortality
Laurel - Fame or victory
Oak Leaves + ACY - Acorn - Maturity, Ripe Old Age
Weeping Willow - Emblem of Sorrow
Corn - Ripe Old Age
Sheaf of Wheat - Ripe for Harvest, Divine Harvest, Time
Poppy - Sleep
Lamb - Innocence
Dove - Innocence, Gentleness, Affection, Purity
Cherub - Angelic
Cross - Emblem of Faith
Anchor/Ships - Hope or Seafaring profession
Broken Ring - Family Circle Severed
Broken Column - Loss of Head of Family
Torch Inverted - Life Extinct
Urn with Blaze - Undying Friendship
Harp - Praise to the Maker
Handshakes - Farewell
Hearts - Soul in Bliss or Love of Christ
Horns - The Resurrection
Hourglass - Swiftness of Time
Open Book/Bible - Deceased Teacher, Minister, etc.
Lily or lily of Valley - Emblem of Innocence and Purity
Tree Stump w/Ivy - head of family +ADs - Immortality
Urn with/Wreath or crepe - Mourning
Stars + ACY - Stripes Around Eagle - Eternal Vigilance, Liberty
Hourglass w/Wings of Time - Time Flying +Ads - Short Life
Candle being Snuffed - Time, mortality
Hand of God Chopping - Sudden Death
Winged Effigies - Flight of the Soul
Source: Iowa GenWeb Project, Tombstone Photos