Lake County Genealogical Society (Ohio)

Frequently Asked Questions,
Symbols and Abbreviations
for Cemetery Inscriptions

Here we try to answer the questions and provide extra pieces of information about the gravestone readings themselves to provide more insight into the lives of our ancestors.

I found an error on a stone. How can I get it changed? If the error is an error in the information on a stone, it cannot be changed because the readings are a true transcription of what is on the stone. If it is an error in reading, by all means, email the webmaster. Tell the exact location of the stone, the way it is given, what it should be, and a bit about why you think this. Someone will have to travel to the stone to verify the information, and the correction will be made on the database. Unfortunately once this is in hard copy print, no corrections will be made.

How do I update the reading for a stone? Unfortunately, there is no reasonable way for us to keep this database updated for new deaths, new stones, moving of burials, etc. The readings are presented as of the stated proofing date.

Why is my city cemetery listed as being in the township? When the county was divided for this reading project, the township boundaries from about 1840 were used. This fairly evenly divided the county into eight areas, each about 5 miles square. As a result, the city cemteries are listed in the 1840 township in which they belong. Historical boundaries were chosen because they will not change with annexations as this project is used over the next century.

"From Old Readings" What does that mean? Most of Lake County's cemetery stones were read and compiled by Edith Holton Sherman and Grace Price Rawson from 1927-1930. This book is available at Morley Library, the Lake County Historical Society, Kirtland Family History Center, and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. In a case where a stone is now illegible or missing, These abstractions were used to supplement or substitute for our readings.

What do the slashes (/) mean? The slash was a space saving method of denoting "next line" on the stone. It was felt that this might be helpful when the stone is more illegible. One can compare the reading to the stone and see what it used to be.

What is Secton X, or Row X? When a reading was found in the 1920s readings and the stone was not located in the cemetery, it was included rather than to lose it. Section X was a designation for a reading for which we could not determine any section. It is found at the end of the cemetery reading. If the old readings were done in reasonable section fashion, we concluded that the stone had been in that section and designated it row X, at the end of the section readings. In some cases it was rather obvious by the order of the old readings that a stone was the one we found but could not read, or was broken, etc. In that case, we put the old reading in where we were quite sure it belonged.

What are "gov't bronze" "gov't granite" and "gov't marble?" These are designations for the government issued grave markers. The bronze ones are usually flush unless otherwise stated. Sometimes they are bolted to the back of a regular granite stone, or mounted as the face of a granite slant. The granite ones are nearly all flush, and the marble ones are usually upright, but occasionally are flush. Marble ones are denoted. These markers actually belong to the govenment, and can be ordered to mark any honorably discharged US veteran grave at no cost. There is a cemetery installation fee in many cases.

I don't understand the last line. What is Stuart Morse? Many times the stone engraver signature was included in the readings. The older ones include Uhle, Stuart, Morse, Stuart Morse & Co., etc. Rock of Ages, Stone Eternal, and Barre Guild are similar, but more recent, denoting monument companies.

The flagholder is wrong for the person buried. Can it be changed? If the correct flagholder was on the grave, and it was read in error, this can be corrected. If the wrong flag is there, this is recorded as we saw it. If it was obviously wrong, a question mark (?) was placed after it, such as the six year old girl-- "Rev. War flagholder ?" For historians doing serious research on a cemetery, it could be deduced that there is a Rev. War soldier somewhere in that cemetery. This is true about the three Confederate flagholders on Ohio Volunteer Infantry men in one cemetery. Surely, there are three Confederates there somewhere. A question mark can be added if you know the flagholder is incorrect. It must be noted that flagholders are rarely permanent fixtures, and are constantly moved. It may be a clue to military service, which is why they were included, but have a good chance of inaccuracy.

What is this abbreviation on a military marker? An article regarding military stones, originally published in LakeLines, the Lake County Genealogical Society's newsletter, supplemented with some awards, may be viewed in the military section of Lake County OH GenWeb site. (off-site) However, some of the awards are included here. They usually are denoted after the designation for the war in which the person served.
PH -- Purple Heart
BSM -- Bronze Star Medal
SSM -- Silver Star Medal
DFC -- Distinguished Flying Cross
AM -- Air Medal
LOM -- Legion of Merit
ACM -- Army Commendation Medal
CSC -- Conspicuous Service Cross
OLC -- preceded by a number-- Oak Leaf Cluster. This follows another award, such as "DFC 2OLC" This means that the person received three Distinguished Flying Crosses. The first is a medal with ribbon, and for subsequent awards of the same type, the Oak Leaf Clusters are pinned on the first.
V -- following another award means for Valor, such as AM-V is Air Medal for Valor.
A -- following another award means for Achievment, such as AM-A for Air Medal for Achievment.

What are these abbreviations for organizations on flagholders and emblems? In many cases the organization was spelled out, but in some cases they were not.
AL -- American Legion
BPOE -- Order of Elks
BSA -- Boy Scouts of America
FOA -- Foresters of America
FOE -- Fraternal Order of Elks
FOP -- Fraternal Order of Police
GAR -- Grand Army of the Republic (Civil War)
I.O.O.F. -- Independent Order of Odd Fellows
K of C -- Knights of Columbus
KN -- Ladies of Kaleva, Finnish women's lodge
KP or K of P -- Knights of Pythias
KR -- Knights of Kaleva, Finnish men's lodge
MW of A -- Modern Woodmen of America
OES -- Order of Eastern Star
RL or R -- Rebekah Lodge
RNA -- Royal Neighbors of America (women's group of MWA)
VFD -- Volunteer Fire Department
VFW -- Veterans of Foreign Wars
WOW -- Woodmen of the World
32 in triangle -- Usually Thirty-second degree Mason
FLT -- the letters on IOOF and Rebekah Lodge emblems
FBK -- the letters on Knights of Pythias emblems
FPLE -- the letters on Pythian Sisters emblems
G with tools -- on Masonic emblems

I couldn't figure out what something meant, even after reading this whole page! Help? Contact the webmaster below and the society will try to answer. Cite the stone location so we can go back to find it. Some things we just don't know.

I know something you don't know! Can I share? By all means. Contact the webmaster. This is a forum for sharing knowledge to help others know their ancestors through Lake County gravestones.

Lake County Genealogical Society,
A Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society
Cynthia Turk, Project Manager
This page last updated 8 FEB 2003
Copyright 2003

For problems or comments on this site, contact the webmaster at lcgsohio@juno.com

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