Your Name in History
| Find out if your Surname is part of the Our Name in History Collection! Just type your surname into the search box|
Looking for a Miltary Ancestor? This is the place!
Search Olive Tree Genealogy Family of Websites
GRAVEN IMAGES: Gravestone Motifs & Their Meanings
The following list was compiled from several different sources. I welcome additions.
These are a few of many motifs found on gravestones with some of
the commonly held interpretations of their symbolism.
Don't forget to visit Grave Symbols - my list of various initials for lodges and organizations, often found on gravestones.
- Anchor/Ships -- Hope or Seafaring profession
- Angel, Flying- Rebirth; Resurrection.
- Angel, Trumpeting- Resurrection.
- Angel, Weeping- Grief and Mourning.
- Arch - Victory in death.
- Arrow- Mortality.
- Bird- Eternal life.
- Bird, Flying- Resurrection.
- Book-Representation of a holy book: i.e. the Bible.
- A pair of Holy Books on Mormom (LDS) headstones indicates the Bibleand Book of Mormon
- Three Holy Books on Mormom headstones indicates the Bible, Book
of Mormon, and Doctrine & Covenants -- all of which are scripture to the LDS Church.
- Breasts (Gourds, Pomegranates) - Nourishment of the soul;
- Bouquets/Flowers -- Condolences, grief, sorrow
- Broken Column -- Loss of Head of Family
- Broken Ring -- Family Circle Severed
- Buds/Rosebud -- Morning of Life or Renewal of Life
- Bugles -- Resurrection and the Military
- Butterfly -- Short-lived - Early Death
- Candle being Snuffed -- Time, mortality
- Cherub -- Angelic
- Coffin, Father Time, Picks/Shovels, Darts -- Mortality
- Columns and Doors- Heavenly entrance.
- Corn -- Ripe Old Age
- Cross -- Emblem of Faith
- Crossed Swords -- High-ranking military person
- Crown- Glory of life after death.
- Cup or Chalice- The Sacraments.
- Dove- Purity; Devotion.
- Dove, Flying- Resurrection.
- Drapes- Mourning; Mortality.
- Flame or Light- Life; Resurrection.
- Flower- Fragility of life.
- Flower, Severed Stem- Shortened life.
- Flying Birds -- Flight of the Soul
- Fruits -- Eternal plenty
- Full-Blown Rose -- Prime of Life
- Garland or Wreath- Victory in death.
- Grim Reaper- Death personified.
- Hand, Pointing Up- Pathway to heaven; Heavenly reward.
- Hands, Clapsed- The goodbyes said at death.
- Hand of God Chopping -- Sudden Death
- Handshakes -- Farewell
- Harp -- Praise to the Maker
- Heart- Love; Love of God; Abode of the soul; Mortality.
- Horns -- The Resurrection
- Hourglass- Passing of time.
- Hourglass, Flying- Time flies.
- Imps -- Mortality
- Ivy -- Friendship and Immortality
- Lamb- Innocence.
- Laurel ---Fame or Victory
- Lily or Lily of Valley -- Emblem of Innocence and Purity
- Lion- Courage; The Lion of Judah.
- Morning Glory -- Beginning of Life
- Oak Leaves and Acorn -- Maturity, Ripe Old Age
- Open Book/ Bible -- Deceased Teacher, Minister, etc.
- Pall- Mortality.
- Palm Branch -- Signifies Victory and Rejoicing
- Pick- Death; Mortality.
- Poppy -- Sleep
- Portals -- Passageway to eternal journey
- Rod or Staff- Comfort for the bereaved.
- Rooster- Awakening; Resurrection.
- Roses -- Brevity of earthly existence
- Scythe- Death; The divine harvest.
- Seashell- Resurrection; Life everlasting; Life's pilgrimage.
- Sheaf of Wheat -- Ripe for Harvest, Divine Harvest, Time
- Skull- Mortality.
- Skull/ Crossed Bones- Death.
- Skeleton- Life's brevity.
- Snake (Tail in Mouth)- Everlasting life in heaven.
- Spade- Mortality; Death.
- Stars and Stripes Around Eagle -- Eternal Vigilance, Liberty
- Sun Rising- Renewed life.
- Sun Shining-Life everlasting.
- Sun Setting- Death.
- Thistle- Scottish descent.
- Thistles -- Remembrance
- Tombs -- Mortality
- Torch Inverted -- Life Extinct
- Tree- Life.
- Tree Sprouting- Life everlasting.
- Severed Branch- Mortality.
- Tree Stump- Life interrupted.
- Tree Stump w/Ivy -- Head of Family - Immortality
- Tree Trunk- Brevity of life.
- Tree Trunk Leaning- Short interrupted life.
- Trumpeters -- Heralds of the Resurrection
- Urn- Immortality (ancient Egyptian belief that life would
be restored in the future through the vital organs placed
in the urn).
- Urn with /Wreath or Crepe -- Mourning
- Urn with Blaze -- Undying Friendship
- Weeping Willow Tree- Mourning; Grief; Nature's lament.
- Willows -- Earthly Sorrow
- Winged Face- Effigy of the deceased soul; the soul in flight.
- Winged Skull- Flight of the soul from mortal man.
- Wreath- Victory.
- Wreath on Skull- Victory of death over life.
- Wheat Strands or Sheaves- The divine harvest.
|Search Olive Tree Genealogy Family of Websites
Your Name in History
Find out if your Surname is part of the Our Name in History Collection! Just type your surname into the search box