1. Parenting

Photo Gallery of Cemetery Symbolism

Meanings of Common Tombstone Symbols & Icons


Have you ever wandered through a cemetery and wondered about the meanings of the designs carved on old gravestones? Thousands of different religious and secular symbols and emblems have adorned tombstones through the ages, indicating attitudes towards death and the hereafter, membership in a fraternal or social organization, or an individual's trade, occupation or even ethnic identity. While many of these tombstone symbols have fairly simple interpretations, it is not always easy to determine their meaning and significance. We were not present when these symbols were carved into the stone and can't claim to know our ancestors' intentions. They may have included a particular symbol for no other reason than because they thought it was pretty.

While we can only speculate what our ancestors were trying to tell us through their choice of tombstone art, these symbols and their interpretations are commonly agreed upon by gravestone scholars.

Images 1-12 of 28
alpha and omega cemetery symbolism tombstone symbolsAlpha and Omegaamerican flag cemetery symbolism tombstone symbol grave marker veteransAmerican FlagAnchor symbol on a zinc tombstone in Malta Ridge Cemetery, Saratoga County, New York.AnchorAngels in the cemetery and on tombstones are a symbol of spiritualityAngel
Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elksbook cemetery symbolism open book symbols cemetery tombstone carvingBookSymbol of a calla lilly adorns a tombstone in Fort Ann Cemetery near Glens Falls, New York.Calla LilyThe Celtic or Irish cross is a cross within a circle, symbolizing eternityCeltic Cross or Irish Cross
broken column tombstone symbolism gravestone cemetery symbols columnsColumn, BrokenSymbol of the Daughters of Rebekah at Sheffield Cemetery in Warren County, PennsylvaniaDaughters of RebekahDove carved onto a tombstone in Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh PADovedraped urn cemetery tombstone symbolsDraped Urn
Related Video
Wooden Block Photo Puzzles
How to Make Photo Greeting Cards
  1. About.com
  2. Parenting
  3. Genealogy
  4. Databases & Records
  5. Cemetery Records
  6. Cemetery Symbols - Photo Gallery of Tombstone Symbols & Their Meanings

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.