Genealogy is an increasingly popular pursuit for those who are interested in learning more about their ancestors. As part of doing family history research, it is common to visit cemeteries to view and photograph the grave markers and headstones of ancestors.
The basic purpose of placing a headstone or monument on a grave is to respectfully identify the one who has passed. In the simplest instance, these structures often include nothing but the first and last names of the deceased and their dates of birth and death.
While it is perfectly acceptable to do this, this sparseness of information will not be particularly helpful to future generations who may visit as part of their search for their own ancestral roots. Those who are currently involved in pre-planning their funeral arrangements may want to give a nod to future generations of their family by designing a unique headstone that will also help to preserve family history.
Adding a picture or portrait to the headstone is an excellent way to add familiarity and personality in a way that will appeal to those who may visit your grave decades into the future. When making plans for the headstone, couples may want to include both a wedding photo and one taken later in life, while singles may want use a favorite photo from their childhood, along with one taken later in adulthood.
List descendants or include an abbreviated family tree
Your family's future genealogy sleuths would likely also want to see information included on your headstone that will help them better piece together all the family connections. Some possible ways for you to provide this information include using the back of the stone to create an abbreviated family tree that goes back several generations. In instances where you will be leaving behind a large immediate family, a better choice may be to include a scroll-like image with a list of your children (and their spouses, if applicable) along with their birth years.
Provide clues about your life
Your future descendants will also be interested in knowing more about your life and interests, so it makes sense to find a way to include this information on your headstone. Some suggestions for this include:
- having the headstone shaped to reflect a hobby or special talent, such as using the shape of a musical instrument or note
- incorporating features that speak of your life's work, such using a brick-like background for someone who worked as a mason or an open book for an author
- using symbols to denote significant periods in life, such as a flag to denote military service
To learn more about your options for personalizing a headstone in a way that will be historically significant for future generations of your family, ask your funeral director to refer you to a headstone company, like Maurice Moore Memorials.