Virtual | Genealogy Basics: Cemeteries & Gravestones

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Whether plain and functional or elaborate and symbolic, gravestones can be a tangible link to ancestors. The material, style and the symbolism used for grave markers may have brought comfort to the family when the person was buried, but the meanings may have been lost over the generations. Learning the vocabulary of the stones can provide us with clues and leads to further one’s research.

Cemeteries can provide a context for the people buried in them as well. Our attitudes and expectations have changed over the years, and understanding the ownership, rules of operation, and place in the community can illuminate the time periods they represent. Cemetery records, when available, can provide helpful genealogical information.

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