My paternal grandparents.

My parents do not reside here.
Their remains were cremated and dispersed in Prince's Inlet off Martins Brook.
This is the only monumental record of their having existed.


My maternal grandparents.


Two of my maternal-paternal great grandparents.



This page illustrates some of the symbols found on Lunenburg County Headstones along with some possible meanings for these symbols.

Thanks to Kim, Muriel Davidson, Rev J.A. Alexander, and Wendy Ward for submitting some of these meanings. Others came from the following web sites: mattielbird, Gravestonestudies, MTSU Cemetery, and TombView.

In a commentary on Symbolism on Gravestones, Jessie Lie Farber notes that "Professional scholars disagree sharply about the meaning of particular designs; they even debate the extent to which it is possible to determine their meaning and significance. This healthy diversity of opinion stimulates interest and further study."

The first group involves the use of the hand in the symbol. Hands are found on many gravestones. It may be the hand of God pointing downward signifying mortality or sudden death. The hand of God pointing upward signifies the reward of the righteous, confirmation of life after death. Praying hands signify devotion. The presence of God the Father, the first person of the Trinity, was frequently indicated in early Christian art by a hand appearing from a cloud. Usually the fingers of the hand were arranged as though in the act of blessing. This convention was derived from the double meaning of the Hebrew word yad, which means either hand or power, so that a hand expressed the power of God to intervene in human affairs and bestow grace. Diminutive fingers in a closed hand represent the souls of the righteous.

headstone symbols hands

1 & 2. Hand, pointing Up - Pathway to heaven; heavenly reward. See also 32. & 34. below.

3 & 4. Book;Circle-bible - Resurrection through the scripture/ Divine word; wisdom; one's accomplishments. See also 31. below.

5. Hands Clasped - Handshakes, the goodbyes said at death; farewells to earthly existence or may be clasped hands of a couple to be reunited in death as they were in life, their devotion to each other not destroyed by death; hope of meeting in eternity. See also 33. below.

The second group involves a variety of symbols.

headstone symbols miscellaneous

6. Wheat Strands or Sheaves - The divine harvest; old age; a fruitful life. In this case, harvested early at age 25. See also 27. below.

7. Weeping Willow Tree - Mourning; grief; nature's lament; the weeping willow symbolises grief and death. It thus appears in paintings of the Crucifixion. It is also a symbol for the Gospel because, even if its branches are cut and distributed, it does not perish. See also 28. below.

8. Cross - Faith, resurrection & salvation; Rev J.A. Alexander commented "The tilt is similar to that of a cross being carried and reminds me of Christ's words, as recorded in Luke 1:9: "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." See also 25 & 26. below.

9. Lamb - Principally the symbol of Christ, the Lamb of God, the sacrificial victim for the sins of mankind. A lamb also symbolises meekness or innocence and is the attribute of St. Agnes. Frequently used for children. The two instances I observed were for children 2 and 4 years old. See also 29 & 30. below.

10. Flying Dove - Resurrection; messenger of God carrying soul to heaven; Dove = peace, innocence, purity; eternal life.

11. Page Scroll - This indicates who erected the stone. Common messages in addition to as shown might include, Our Mother, My Wife, My Husband.

The third group involves the use of a flower. This symbol reminds us of the fragility of life and the brevity of earthly existence.

headstone symbols flowers

12 & 14. Open Rose - Victory, pride, triumphant love, purity, i.e. a full life; these individuals lived to 53 and 60 years of age.

13, 15 & 16. Flower in Bud or Broken Stem - Shortened life; premature death. These three died at 6, 5, and 15 months of age.

See also 36-40. below.

The next group involves the use of society symbols.

headstone symbols societies

18a & 18b. Orange Lodge
19a & 19b. Masonic Order - Masonic Compas and Set Square; uprightness, judgment.
20. Independent Order of Odd Fellows - Three linked rings can also signify the Trinity and faith.
21. Royal Canadian Legion

The final four groups are pictures taken by George Newbury in the Old Burial Ground, the Old Baptist Cemetery in Chester and they are used with his permission.

headstone symbols miscellaneous

22. Skull & Crossbones - Death, crucifixion.

23. Acorn - oak; supernatural power and strength; eternity.

24. Shell - Birth, baptism, resurrection, life everlasting, pilgrimage of life.

25 & 26. Crosses - see also 8 above.

headstone symbols mixture

27. Wheat Sheaves - see also 6. above.

28. Tree - see also 7. above.

29 & 30. Lambs - see also 9. above.

headstone symbols hands

See also 1 - 5. above.

35. Closed Hands - Diminutive fingers in a closed hand represent the souls of the righteous.

headstone symbols flowers

See also 12-17. above.

While gathering information for this page, several genealogists remarked on some unusual figures or drawings found on more modern headstones. Here is one of the most ornate headstones I encountered.




Germany 1728-1750 | Getting to Halifax | Getting to Lunenburg| Out Onto the Land | Andreas JUNG at work | My Ancestors | Fishing for Cod | Lunenburg Architecture| Headstones |

European Adventure Home Page
(Memoirs of two weeks in Germany, Montbeliard, France and Northern Switzerland
on a Genealogical trek to discover roots.)