Archive for the ‘This is Us’ Category

ANZAC Day – April 25th

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

ANZAC Day - April 25th

What’s in a Name?

Thursday, December 12th, 2013
people in the our tree

The people in the our tree

I have been trying to think of how best to get my children excited about genealogy for a while now. I long assumed they were much too young, and I would worry about it when they were older. Teenagers, maybe? I have since realized they are more than ready now.

I first realized it two years ago, when my three year old brought home a family tree he had made in preschool. It started with him and included me, my husband, his brother and “the baby.” At the time, I was pregnant but hadn’t announced it outside the family. The family tree project forced an announcement, since the preschool teacher was also my next-door neighbor.

This week I decided to make another family tree with my boys. To make it more interesting, we would mostly focus on my sons’ namesakes. My older son, now seven, is named after his father and grandfather. My five year old is named for two of his great-grandfathers.

My goal is to help my boys understand why their names are special. I want them to know something about the men they are named after and take a little pride in their names. My older son doesn’t like to be called by his given name. He even gets angry, when we remind him that his real name is Nathan, not Trey. This is a bit of a sore spot for him and his grandfather. Maybe making our tree will help that situation too.

Check Out the New Digs

Friday, May 17th, 2013

The MyHeritage Utah office, which houses the WorldVitalRecords team, moved last week from Provo to Lehi. We’re growing, as is the whole company, but the change is less about space than about moving to a location that will help us recruit top talent from a larger area; the Salt Lake Valley is literally a few minutes away. This, in turn, will help us to provide more and more valuable family history data and an even better experience to our growing subscriber base.

We thought you might like to see the new office and its environs and learn a bit about the area, too.

(To see a higher-resolution version of any photo in this post, click on it.)

The company name and logo on the front door, backed by art on the receptionist's wall

Our Habitat: The Wasatch Front

Utah’s Wasatch Front consists of the Salt Lake City metro area, Utah Valley (the Provo-Orem area) to the south, and the Ogden area to the north. Over two million people — roughly 80 percent of Utah’s population — live along the Wasatch Front.

On a normal day you can drive from one end of this concentration of people to the other in less than an hour and a half. In light traffic, and at the prevailing speed on Interstate 15 — at least 10 mph above the legal speed limit — you can do it in an hour, assuming you’re not pulled over.

The Wasatch Mountains, renowned for their skiing, run north and south just east of the cities and valleys; hence the term Wasatch Front. To the west are the smaller Oquirrh Mountains and the Great Salt Lake.

Local leaders like to call the Wasatch Front “Silicon Slopes,” and it’s not just hype. This is now one of the top ten concentrations of the high tech industry in the United States. High tech and financial companies whose names you would recognize just keep moving in, and new start-ups you will someday recognize just keep, well, starting up.


Making Memories into Quilts.

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

I love family history activities that culminate in something tangible, especially quilting. You can turn just about anything you can wear into a memory quilt.

I first encountered a memory quilt at my friend Katie’s house, when I was eight years old. Her guestroom had a bedspread like none I had ever seen. It looked like someone had sewn a blue satin dress right onto the bed. It was covered in sequins and beads, with streams of blue and purple radiating out from the waist. I was enchanted. I remarked that it looked like something a queen would wear. Katie answered, “Yes, my mom used to be a queen, and this is what she wore.” Katie proved it by showing me a large picture of her mom, in the dress, on the wall downstairs. I was a amazed. A real, live queen lived just across the street from me, and she had the bedspread to prove it!

Persona Quilt

Persona Quilt

A year or so later, I learned that Katie’s mom had been a beauty queen. The dress on the bedspread was the one she wore in the evening gown portion of the Miss Texas pageant. Later, she had made it into a quilt to commemorate the event. Since then I have seen many other memory quilts. They tend to fall into three categories.

Persona Quilt

This type of quilt is usually made as a gift or a means of self expression. It is meant to reflect who a person is. The photo here is one my mom made for my dad. Like this one, persona quilts often include a lot of novelty fabrics, each chosen because it has some special significance for that person. Here some of the squares represent his Eagle Scout award, the universities he attended (Brigham Young University and the University of Utah), and some of his favorite foods (suckers, BBQ, and hot sauce).

Event Quilt

Event Quilt

Event Quilts

These are made to commemorate an event or a series of events. My neighbor’s pageant dress bedspread is in this category. Such a quilt might be made from a wedding dress or race t-shirts. Annette, the wife of one of our engineers at MyHeritage, made this one to commemorate her daughter’s accomplishments in high school band. It includes a lot of embroidery and appliqué.

Classic Memory Quilt

These are the most popular memory quilts. They are made from the fabrics that we most associate with a person, usually their clothing. I have seen them made from baby clothes, old jeans, and even neckties. They are usually made in memory of a period of life that is already past (like baby clothes) or, as in this example, in memory of a person who has passed away.

Classic Memory Quilt

Classic Memory Quilt

My friend Heather Lott was commissioned to make a set of three quilts for a woman whose mother had passed away. The daughter went through her mother’s clothes and pulled out anything that reminded her of her mom. These were mostly things that she wore often, but also things she wore for special events. Heather transformed them into three lovely quilts, one for each of the deceased woman’s children. Now, whenever the children and grandchildren see the fabrics in that quilt, they remember Grandma.

Quilt 1, Quilt 2, Quilt 3

These quilts may be cozy and even beautiful. But what makes them a piece of family history is the story. Who wore this dress? When did that happen? How is this person related to me? I love the idea of putting together a little bit of my family history that is tangible and functional. I imagine myself wrapping up my kids in the blanket someday, pointing to each square and telling them where it came from and why I love it — thus turning a warm, comfy quilt into a bit of history.

I have a little stack of baby clothes, and I plan to make a blanket with them. I sat down the other day to get started so I could share it in this post. My kids are still young, and I cherish those little onesies and jackets. I sat there with my scissors in hand, before a pile of my sons’ old clothes, but I couldn’t bring myself to cut them up. What if I want the baby to wear this? (That’s not likely, since she is a girl and these are boy clothes.) What if my kids want their children to wear this? (I know this possibility is even more remote.) I actually got misty-eyed, sitting there. I know that the whole point of making the quilt is to preserve those memories, but I was unprepared for the emotions. So my step-by-step instructions don’t yet lead to my own finished product.

Select and prepare clothesStep 1: Select and Prepare

Be sure to select items that are meaningful. Remember that, depending on the size of the squares, you may be able to get multiple square from one garment. Cut the clothes along enough seams to make the fabric lie down flat.

InterfacingStep 2: Interfacing

This is the crucial step. When we sew a quilt, we want even squares, but many of the fabrics you use may be stretchy, like a t-shirt. This can make the squares uneven after they are cut. Buy some lightweight fusible interfacing. Cut that into squares a little larger than your final square size.Then iron it onto the back of the clothing.

 Cut Your SquaresStep 3: Cut Your Squares

Make sure you cut all your squares the same size. The easiest way to do this is with a cutting mat, rotary cutter, and ruler. If you don’t have these, you can get good results with a square cardboard template and sharp scissors.

Arrange and SewStep 4: Arrange and Sew.

Once all your squares are cut, lay them out on the floor and arrange them any way you like. If you are short a few squares, add in some generic fabric squares where needed. Then sew them together as you would any other quilt. Sew one row at a time, then sew each row to the next.

FinishStep 5: Finish

Finish the quilt in the usual ways. Add a layer of quilt batting and a fabric backing. Then either tie the quilt or have it quilted professionally.

Enjoy the memories.

Family Video Night, Holiday Version

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

When I was single and dating — about one generation ago — they told me that taking someone to a movie wasn’t a very good first date, because we’d just sit there quietly and passively absorb the movie, and when we were done we wouldn’t know each other any better than we did when we started. It made sense, so I didn’t go on a lot of movie dates.

family video nightSometimes they say the same thing about movies at home — family video night, if you will. But there I disagree. Movies work differently for families at home. Sometimes we do sit quietly at home as we watch them, but that’s not the end of it. The best movies, by which I mean the ones we like best, live on in our conversation. Then we go back and watch them again and again, and they live even longer.

Great Lines

In my family it’s usually not profound themes or moving monologues that enter the family’s language. It’s great lines, and most of them are funny. In just the last few days, these much-loved lines have been quoted aptly in ordinary conversation among members of my family:

  • “Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.” (Cary Elwes’ Man in Black in The Princess Bride)
  • “I tell you, it’s a whole different sex!” (Jack Lemmon’s Jerry in Some Like It Hot)
  • “For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?” (Benjamin Whitrow’s Mr. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice)

Some of our movie references require a second participant, which makes them sort of an inside joke. Two of the most common are from the 1993 comedy Dave. Kevin Kline’s title character and Ving Rhames’ Duane have this exchange:

“I can’t say.”
“You mean, you don’t know, or ‘you can’t say’?”
“I can’t say.”

And when relatives come over, especially during the holidays, they’ll wave and call out, as they drive away with their windows down:

“Thanks for doing this, Ellen!”

There are two canonical responses, depending on how naughty we’re feeling, because Dave says this two times in the movie, and his wife (played by Sigourney Weaver) responds differently. One is:

“You never change, do you, Bill?”

The other is:

“Go to h-ll, Bill!”

(For the record, Sigourney Weaver didn’t use the hyphen.)

For full effect, picture my relatively straight-laced family in front of my house on our quiet, Christmas-lit street, as midnight approaches on Christmas Eve. Huge snowflakes fall gently. My brother-in-law and his relatively straight-laced family pull away in their car, headed home. Their windows are open, the horn honks, and they yell out the windows, “Thanks for doing this, Ellen!” I and mine call loudly after them, as if with one voice, “Go to h-ll, Bill!” It’s a beloved ritual.

Scenario: Snowed In

My colleagues here at MyHeritage’s Utah office, the home of WorldVitalRecords, are fun and interesting, so I decided to consult them. I e-mailed them this question, and several replied. (The others, I assume, were too busy working.)

“It’s two days before Christmas. You’re snowed in with the family. The cable, satellite TV, and Internet are out, and you forgot to order anything new from Netflix, but the electricity’s still on. By mutual agreement, it’s video night. The popcorn’s popping, someone has a stash of relatively fresh Junior Mints, and there’s time for two movies. You’re all feeling nostalgic, and the consensus is to watch two family favorites: one that’s related to the season and one that’s not. What movies might you watch? Tell me your short lists. They have to be in your, or the family’s, video collection.”

I told them my short lists, to get them started. (Later I consulted my family and was told I got them mostly right.)


  • While You Were Sleeping (1995)
  • The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
  • Miracle on 34th Street (1947 or 1994, but some of the family strongly prefer the older one)
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)


  • Some Like It Hot (1959)
  • Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
  • My Fair Lady (1964) or The Music Man (1962)
  • Dave (1993)

For some reason, most of family’s favorites tend to involve a scam or impersonation of some sort. That probably means something.

But to My Colleagues . . .

Richard listed non-holiday flicks Ever After (1998), Harry Potter (2001), and The Count of Monte Cristo (2002), and, for the holidays, ‘Twas the Night before Christmas (1974) and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966).

Will listed, for the holidays, “in order of awesomeness,” It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf (2003), Scrooged (1988), and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966). His non-holiday choices are The Sting (1973), Groundhog Day (1993), and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).

popcorn and filmClare wrote, “Love my Christmas horror flicks!” She named Santa’s Slay (2005) and Jack Frost (1996), “and then of course the cult classic, Gremlins (1984).”

Randy’s mixed short list includes The Grinch (2000), Dumb and Dumber (1994), and White Chicks (2004).

Roger’s family likes holiday films It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf, and The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), and non-holiday pictures Enchanted (2007), Mary Poppins (1994), and Jungle Book (1967).

Ashley listed these for Christmas: It’s a Wonderful Life, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966), Home Alone (1990), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993),  The Santa Clause (1994), and Elf. Her non-Christmas choices are Tangled (2010), “any of the 007’s,” the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Harry Potter series, the Star Wars series, The Expendables (2010), Alien (1979), Predator (1987), and AVP (2004). (Her family may have to be snowed in for several days, not just an evening.)

Russ’s clan prefers A Knight’s Tale (2001), Tourist (2010), Knight and Day (2010), and, for the holidays, White Christmas (1954),  Home Alone, and Jingle All The Way (1996).

Mark offered Elf, Miracle on 34th Street (1994), Polar Express (2004), and The Grinch (2000) for the holidays, and also “Harry Potter — all of them” and “Lord of the Rings — all of them.”

Julie listed A Christmas Story (1983) and Mixed Nuts (1994) for the holidays, and Tommy Boy (1995) and Crocodile Dundee (1986) of general interest. She added a story about Crocodile Dundee:

My grandpa had a cabin when I was young. We would go up there at least once a month in the spring andsummer. There was a TV and VCR, but we could never remember to bring movies with us. For years the only tapes left up there were Crocodile Dundee and some 1980s ski movies. We ended up watching Crocodile Dundee every time we were there.

A Thought, a Suggestion, and Two Questions (not necessarily in that order)

Julie’s brief tale of Crocodile Dundee appeals to the family historian in me. Here’s my suggestion:  When the parents or grandparents or uncles or aunts are over for dinner during the holidays, ask them what have been their favorite movies — and when and why they loved them, and with whom they watched them, and how much it cost to get in.

My questions for you are these. First, based on the movies listed above, whose home would you prefer for an impromptu, snowed-in video night? Second, what would you and your family watch if you were snowed in at home?

Finally, the thought may be out of bounds for this blog post, perhaps, but Ashley added this at the bottom of her list, and it belongs at the bottom of mine, too: ”And, of course, we would cozy up and read books.”

Happy holidays, everyone!

The Darndest Things – Are We Recording Them?

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

The Darndest Things – Are We Recording Them?

As the old saying goes, “Kids say the darndest things!” Many of us older folks also say and do amazing things. Are we losing them as soon as they happen? Or are we recording them to preserve our own histories?

A year ago I wrote my goal to spend 20 minutes a day journaling, so that I would have a good history to pass on. I did badly! A more realistic goal may be 20 minutes a week. It’s less time, but it’s more likely to happen.



As we spend holidays with family and relatives, let’s also spend time writing down not only Grandma’s stories but our own as well.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself or others. The sample responses are from my own journal.

Journaling Questions

Where were you today? Describe what you smelled, felt, heard – the full experience.

(Example.) Today was another day at work. The day passed by quickly. I was excited to get home as there are only a few more days until Christmas and since it’s the weekend my wife and I planned on going Christmas shopping. We have intentionally delayed our shopping trips this year as we have been fixing up some areas of the house that have waiting way too long for some upgrades. Our worn out carpet has been replaced with some nice but inexpensive laminate wood flooring. Our Formica counters in the kitchen are no more. My wife and I had a great 20 hours or so building our own one of a kind granite counters. We love them. The whole house looks much better.

Today our youngest said the funniest thing! He shares a room with our 16 year old son and being much younger he sometimes likes to sleep in his second bed – the loft bed we made a while back in his closet. Its not as warm in the loft so when I found him there I asked – oh, why are you in here? He thought about it and said – Well, I just decided it was time to move back in. At six that was pretty cute. (more…)

Using Military Records

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Finding and Using Military Records

We honor armed forces everywhere and their families. Thank you for your sacrifice.

Military service produces lots of records. Genealogists love records.

Draft Records
Even without enrolling in the armed forces millions of people are part of their records through draft registration cards. For example, in the US all men, with very few exceptions, are required to register with Selective Service, even though the draft is not currently in effect. Such registrations are the first of many sources of military data in the United States.

I found my colleague’s grandfather, a WWII flight engineer, at in our WWII army enlistment records collection.

At WorldVitalRecords we have many military collections. These records include information from many wars.

A closer look -

Upon release from active duty the military service member will then be eligible, as a Veteran, to apply for benefits. The benefits to the soldier are many and varied. From health, education, housing, emotional support, and many other services the veteran will be creating a massive paper trail that becomes part of his Veteran status.

From recruitment to training and active duty records are created. Eventually all personnel become veterans. Each step brings more records.

Unique Military Record Collections

With nearly 300 million military records WorldVitalRecords provides some very interesting and unique source of military history and data. Here are some example collections and information:

Air Force Register Extracts
I have a living distant relative who is an Air Force Veteran
Using the WVR Air Force Register Extracts I can find out a lot about his military service including:
Full Name, Service Number, Promotion List Number, Perm Grade (pay grade), Date of Permanent Grade, Promotion List Service Date, Date of Birth, Temporary Grade, Date of temporary Grade and Pay Date.
While not all of this information may be useful to my genealogy it can certainly add color to a family history.

Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the Army and Navy of the United States during the War of the Rebellion
With a title like this you’re bound to find some great stuff in these records.
While not every genealogist will have tie in to this war, otherwise known as the civil war, those that do will find a historic listing of the relative fighting in an epoch time in our nations history.
The information included in these records are:
Company, Regiment, Name and Rank, Date of Enlistment, Date of Muster in this Organization, also includes remarks which include such items as death information, discharged, sickness desertions and more.

Military Records versus Veteran’s records
In searching for my Grandfather in the WWII archives I could find only his WWII enlistment record. He enlisted in Los Angeles on February 12, 1943.

In 2005 I attended the funeral and military salute for my grandfather. He was buried in a civilian cemetery in Idaho. I tried to find him via the national cemetery locator tool, and had no luck, probably because the cemetery is not an officially recognized veterans cemetery. Using the locator tool I was able to find the grave of his father at the Los Angeles National Cemetery, an official Veteran Cemetery.

I have often desired to know more about my Grandfather’s military service as well as that of his father. Requesting those records can be done by the next of kin – if within 62 years of military discharge. (Next of kin meaning within the same immediate family – spouse, brother or sister – son, daughter.) I cannot request his records as a next of kin – but since it was over 62 years since discharge I can follow the public records process.

Standard Form 180 – Public Records Military Request

Standard Form 180 – yes, really called that – can be found by going to this link, This form is required to request the military history of anyone discharged more than 62 years ago. The request is not lengthy but will require some dates and military information in order to have better success in locating the requested service member’s file.

Also after the 62 year mark the records go from being free to having a charge. I called the National Archives, NARA, and was told that I should fax my request form – Standard Form 180 – which I have done and that they would send me an invoice. They expect the cost to be between $25 and $70. I’ll have to wait up to 14 weeks to find out. Once I pay the fees I will receive the files in another few weeks.

In summary, 62 years after death or discharge records are sent to NARA. Before that they remain in possession of the military and can only be accessed only by the military individual or the next of kin.

Thank you to our US military and military around the world for their dedication and service.

The Undertaker Interviews

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

It’s Halloween, and we’re in the spirit of it. As you read about our recent interviews with two morticians, you’ll see that we’re willing to be a bit morbid – without being too grim, we hope. So fair warning is given: As we share what we think is interesting information, we’ll talk briefly about embalming, share a bit of gruesome mortician/autopsy humor, and present some uses for superglue and webcams that you may find a tad creepy. Read at your own risk.

Spencer and Chris

My colleague, Mark Olsen, and I recently visited the Sundberg-Olpin Funeral Home in Orem, Utah, where a young mortician, Spencer Weeks, gave us a tour and answered a lot of questions. Then we interviewed Chris Thompson, owner of Heritage North Funeral Home in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. We didn’t visit Whitehorse to tour his facility; Chris and his family were visiting our area.

Spencer Weeks

Spencer Weeks

One of our first questions for both men was, What do you like to be called? Mortician? Funeral director? Undertaker? Spencer prefers “funeral director.” Unlike some funeral directors we know, who don’t like the term at all, Chris actually prefers to be called an “undertaker.” He explained: The word undertaker refers not to a person who puts someone under the ground, but to one who undertakes whatever tasks are required when someone has died. To him the term suggests service.

Both emphasized the great professional satisfaction of helping people through a difficult time. (more…)

Halloween: using death records

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Halloween costumes and traditions, ranging from the silly to the creepy to the gory, preoccupy Americans and some other peoples at this time of year, wherever Western Christianity has been influential.

By contrast, death records of various kinds capture family historians’ attention year-round. We’ll look at several kinds of death records and consider their strengths, limitations, and usefulness in family history.

Mortuary Tour

In a recent tour of a local mortuary (of which more in a later blog post), we were given a packet of paperwork and information that the funeral home provides to the family of the deceased. Its contents provide a good tour of the various death records that are available.

There are several pages in the packet related to funeral and burial arrangements, including prices of cemetery plots, caskets, concrete vaults, funeral services, and more. You might not think that any of these would be of genealogical interest, but cemetery plot purchase records, if you can find them, can lead to other death records and also help you locate the tombstone.

Death Certificate and Death Certificate Application

The folder also contains a death certificate application, from which an official death certificate is created. The application itself may be kept on file at the funeral home and may be useful when studying family history.
The application will vary from place to place. The one we were given asks for the following information about the deceased:

Death Certificate

Death Certificate

• US Social Security Number
• Name
• Place of death
• Time of death
• Age
• Attending Physician
• Date of death
• Place of birth
• Date of birth
• Father
• Mother
• Spouse
• Spouse – Living – yes or no, and date of death if applicable
• Place of Marriage
• Date of Marriage
• Occupation
• Church affiliation
• School year complete
• Veteran – yes or no – and branch of service
• Clubs/Activities/Accomplishments/Church Service


What do you want on your tombstone?

Monday, October 15th, 2012
Tombstone Symbols in Boston

Tombstones in Boston

For many of us, a tombstone is our last and most durable public memento. It marks a place where loved ones can come to remember and reflect. A colleague notes that it also guarantees that, even if our loved ones don’t remember us, the person who mows the cemetery lawn will.

Tombstones may be small or large, simple or ornate. Besides marking the burial place of our physical remains, they also provide information: a name and at least a date or two, and often more.


Many tombstones include an epitaph, a few, pithy words from or about the deceased. You may want to choose your own epitaph in advance, unless you’d prefer that your family choose it for you, when you’re no longer around to disapprove.

Boston Granary Cemetery

Boston Granary Cemetery

We don’t expect good writing to be easy, but trying to summarize a long life – or even a short one – in a phrase or two is especially difficult.

We asked a few co-workers at MyHeritage’s US office, “What would you like on your tombstone?” We weren’t talking about pizza, but we might have had more responses if we had been. Apparently, a lot of people don’t want to think about the living – especially themselves – someday being, well, dead.

Our less squeamish colleagues offered a few suggestions, for themselves and for others.

Julie, whose husband is a firefighter, offered this for her husband:

“Stay out of the heat.”

Justin suggested a famous line attributed to Edmund Burke:

Paul Revere Monument

Paul Revere Monument

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

David offered two thoughts for his own epitaph that were serious . . .

“Better life beyond. See you there someday.”

“Son, brother, husband, father, and some lesser things.”

. . . and two that weren’t:

“Here lies Mr. Rodeback, dead,

In a box, with a rock on his head.
It’s too bad he never finished this limerick, because now it’s too late.”

“Check him out at”

(That’s not a real link, at least not yet.)

Clare selected this classic verse:

Here lies my wife.
I bid her goodbye.
She rests in peace,
And now so do I.

QR Codes

For myself, a name and the dates are just fine, and any great quote from scripture or a religious leader. What I really want on my tombstone is something new: a QR code. QR is for Quick Response. Visitors can scan the code and be taken quickly to a web site about the deceased (me).

QR Code Tombstone - Scan the large QR Code

QR Code Tombstone - Scan the large QR Code

The QR code can point to a YouTube video, a family tree, an obituary, or anything else you can find at a web page. It’s on a sticker attached to the stone. Some people don’t like how they look, but they’re catching on. Anyway, it must be only a matter of time before someone designs them to blend in better with the stone.

Imagine: Someone is in the cemetery, visiting my gravestone. A simple tap of a smartphone activates a link, which pulls up more information about me, the deceased: videos, memories, family trees, and more.

Scan the QR code on the tombstone picture to see how this works – I have included a large QR code to make it easy. And yes, you actually can scan this one here now on the computer screen.  Your SmartPhone or iPad will then bring up the site where I have programed this code to take you.

Don’t have a QR code reader – download one from the App store.  Here is the one I use.

Images, New and Old

Symbols on Tombstones

Symbols on Tombstones

Putting symbols on gravestones is not a new idea. In Boston in the 1700s, for example, there was often an image carved at the top of the stone – an angel, a skull, or something else – to protect the grave from various evils. (There is a lot of information online about the various symbols used on the tombstones.  Here is information from the city of Boston about the many tombstone markings found there.)

I’ve noticed many modern tombstones which incorporate images to summarize a life: flowers, religious symbols, a car or truck, a favorite team’s logo, etc. Cooper, a boy I blogged about last year, has his photo etched in bronze on his tombstone.  It’s a beautiful monument that his family visits often.

Laser engraving now allows the creation of tombstones with realistic, high-resolution photos engraved in the stone. (See a July 2011 article in The Atlantic.)

I’ve mentioned some of the possibilities. What do you want on your tombstone?

Old Tombstones found in Boston

Old Tombstones found in Boston