Clues to Funeral Traditions Found in Obituaries

If you’re seeking clues to funeral traditions, you might look at obituaries. Current obituaries often are found online. Older obituaries, such as the one shown at left, can be found at genealogical sites and through newspaper archive sites. Look for a specific fraternity, religion or ethnic leaning when you conduct your searches, and you might be rewarded with some information on whether tradition is important, or if it is eschewed for more modern rites.

Historic Funeral Traditions: Irish American

You’ll seldom see a symbolic St. Patrick on an Irish-American cemetery marker, because those symbols are rare. But, you might see a Celtic cross, the Virgin Mary or a sacrificial lamb on an altar as well as the IHS monogram that symbolizes Jesus if the deceased Irish-American was Catholic. Many genealogists look for those symbols to learn about their heritage.

Rockefeller’s Bill to Improve End-of-Life Care

Senators John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-WV ) and Susan Collins (R-ME) reintroduced a more expansive, comprehensive version of their Advance Planning and Compassionate Care Act (S. 1150) with Senators Herb Kohl (D-WI), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Tom Carper (D-DE) as original cosponsors.

How You Can Help Your Local Hospice

NHF (National Hospice Foundation) supports the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s quality and research initiatives, hospice/palliative care provider education activities, consumer engagement and caregiver services and global hospice partnerships.

More People Know about Photography than Hospice Care

When the photography exhibit “The Art of Caring” opened on May 16 at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), the National Hospice Foundation was proud to be present as a “Caring Partner” for the section on “Remembering.”

Cemetery Vandalism and the Law

It appears that cases of cemetery vandalism have been on the rise over the past two decades. The reason for this theory is that many states have begun to add to their cemetery laws or build laws designed to charge individuals who vandalize cemeteries. In 2006, for instance, Indiana state lawmakers agreed to get tough on cemetery vandalism and added a section on “cemetery mischief” to Indiana Code:

Reasons for Exhumation

If a cemetery is an eternal resting place, why would anyone want to remove a body from its grave? In one recent example, the body of preacher and funk musician James Hines, who died in 2004, was exhumed to quell rumors about his body. This man was 6-foot-7 and 300-pounds, and everyone wondered how this body could fit into a standard-sized casket. Only the top half of the lid was open during the funeral, showing Hines from the chest up.

Veterans Cemeteries and Their Origins

Congress enacted legislation authorizing the purchase of land to be used as national cemeteries on 17 July 1862, during the Civil War. Fourteen cemeteries were established shortly after this legislation. Fourteen national cemeteries were established that first year, including one in Sharpsburg, Md., where 4,476 Union soldiers were laid to rest after the one-day Battle of Antietam. By comparison, approximately 3,000 American, British and Canadian fighters died on June 6, 1944, during the invasion of Normandy.

Tombstone Acronyms and Initials

If you’ve ever visited a cemetery, you may have noticed initials, or letters on a tombstone. The letters form acronyms such as GAR, DAR and SCV. These letters may indicate military service or membership in a veteran’s organization. Others, such as AASR, AMOS and KT may indicate fraternal orders. The following list may help in deciphering those letters when you find them:

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