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Genealogy

Tombstone Carvings and Their Meanings:
Did you know that tombstone carvings/symbols have certain meanings to them?

Here is a list of common carvings/symbols and their meanings:
Taken from Michigan Traveler Number 146 October 2004:

Anchor/Ships
Hope, the cross, or a mariner/member of the navy

Angels
Messengers and attendants of God

Acorn
Fertility and life, strength<

Arches
Door to salvation, journey to heaven

Arrows
Mortality, death, hunting or military profession(if with other weapons)

Bed
Visual denial of death; not dead, but resting

Bird
Eternal life

Bird flying
Resurrection, flight of the soul

Book open
Teacher, wisdom

Bible open
Minister

Bouquets/flowers
Condolences, grief, sorrow

Broken column
Loss of head of family

Bugles
Resurrection or military

Butterfly
Short lived, early death

Calla lily
Marriage, fidelity

Candle being snuffed
Time, mortality

Chain
Earthly existence, broken chain for end of Earthly exsistance, three links for International Order of Oddfellows

Cherub
Angelic, usually on children's stones

Circle
Eternity, never-ending existence, eternal union

Crossed Swords
High ranking military person

Daisy
Innocence of the Christ Child, children, young people, or a young beautiful woman

Eagle
Christian soul strengthened by grace, nationalism, military profession

Elk
Membership in Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks

Gate
Death, heaven

Grapes
Blood of Christ

Hands
Shaking hands mean farewll, male and female represent union of marriage, hand of God chopping means sudden death

Hourglass
Swiftnes of time;life is short

Iris
Death, afterlife

Ivy
Friendship and immortality

Lamb
Innocence, gentleness, often found on children's graves, devout Christian if found on adult's

Lily or Lily of the Valley
Emblem of Innocence and purity

Log
Part of the "rustic" movement, Woodsmen of the World Symbol

Musical Instruments
Heavenly music, musician

Oak leaves
Maturity, ripe old age, strength

Palm branches
Signifies victory and rejoicing

Picks and Shovels
Mortality

Pinecone
Fertility and regeneration

Poppy
Sleep

Portals
Passageways to eternal life

Rings broken
Family circle severed

Rope
Binding together, usually through a fraternal organization

Rose bud
Morning of life, renewal of life

Rose fully opened
Prime of life

Roses
Bervity of earthly life, immortal love, death of a child or young woman, motherhood, Virgin Mary

Shells
Pilgrimage of life

Star
Christ, divine guidance, Eastern Star organization emblem

Stars and Stripes on Eagle
Eternal vigilance, liberty

Sun
Resurrection, heavenly light

Swords
Military profession; points down means death during military service, crossed swords represent ranking military person

Thistles
Rememberance

Tombs
Mortality

Torch
Life and truth, often war commemoration

Torch inverted
Life extinct

Tree stump with Ivy
Head of family, immortality

Urn with blaze
Undying friendship

Urn with wreath/crepe
Mourning

Vine
Marriage, fertility, family

Weeping willow
Emblem of sorrow

Wheat sheaf
Ripe for harvest, divine harvest , time

Willow
Earthly sorrow

Winged Effigies
Flight of the soul

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