Grayson County TXGenWeb
 
Gravestone Symbols
&
Their Meaning
All tombstone emblems are from tombstones located in Grayson County cemeteries.


IMAGE OBJECT SYMBOLIZES APPEARED
777     333 International Order of 12 Knights & Daughters of Tabor
AcornSymbol of potential, life, fertility & immortality

Alpha and Omega
The beginning and the end

American Flag Courage, Pride

Anchor Well grounded hope, Steadfastness, Eternal life 18th & 19th Century

Angel A Guide to Heaven 18th & 19th Century
Angel, Praying Advocate asking God for mercy on behalf of the deceased
AnvilBlacksmith

Arch Passage to heaven, Victory over death 18th & 19th Century
Arrow Mortality, Martyrdom 17th & 18th Century
Barber

Bats
Hell 18th Century

Bee flying with a gun
Seebees - US Navy
Beehive Domestic virtue, Faith, Education, Human industry

Bell
Religious faith, Religion

Bird Peace, messenger of God. The most common birds found on gravestones are doves.
Bird, deadSparrows traditionally represent wild freedom - a dead sparrow may be symbolic of the end of freedom. Answer According to the Bible, God is aware of all things upon earth, even the death of a sparrow. These verses are to express that no soul is too insignificant for God to be aware of their suffering (Matthew 10:29-31)   
source: Answers.com


Dove - Dead
A dead Dove represents a prematurely shortened life
source: Magnolias & Peaches Tombstone Iconograpy

Bird, flying Ressurection 18th & 19th Century
BLEBrotherhood of Locomotive Engineers
Boat A voyage or journey to the other side

Book or Bible Knowledge, Open Heart, Deceased's Lifetime Accomplishments 18th & 19th Century
Bouquets Grief, Sorrow 19th Century
BRCA Brotherhood of Railway Carmen of America

Branches
Life Cycle19th Century

Branches - severed
Mortality18th Century
Bud, broken Renewal of life, Loss of a young soul

Bugles
Military Profession, Resurrection 18th & 19th Century
Butterfly Rurrection, Early death 19th Century
Calla LilyBeauty18th & 19th Century
Candle The Spirit of the Soul

Candle, snuffed
Mortality, Time 17th Century
CastleReference to the Kingdom of Heaven
Chain, broken links Death of a Spouse
Chain, three links Independent Order of the Oddfellows
Chalice The Sacrements
Chalice with a CrossChristian Church
CherubThe graves of children

Circle Eternal Life
Citizen of the Republic of TexasMarks the graves of people whose residence was in The Republic of Texas before February 19, 1846

Clock
Passage of Time 18th Century
Clouds
Transition to the afterlife; 
Heavenly Rewards
18th Century

Coat of Arms
Lineage, Status, Nobility17th & 18th Century

Coffin
Mortality, Death 17th & 18th Century
Column Noble life of the deceased or the head of the family
Column, Broken Decay / Loss of the Head of the Family
Compass & Square Mason

Corn
Rebirth, Fertility
Cross, Celtic Taking the form of a cross within a circle represents eternity
Cross, Maltese with Firefighter EquipmentFighters Emblem
Cross, Presbyterian Presbyterian Religion

Cross, Roman or Latin Came about as a result of the Great Schism between Eastern Orthodoxy & Roman Catholicism
Faith, Eternity
Cross with Crown Sovereignty of the Lord
Cross with Flame Methodist Religion

Cross with Jesus Christ The Crucifixion; The Sacrifice of Christ

Crown Glory of life after death 18th Century
Daffodil / Narcissus Rebirth, Ressurection 18th & 19th Century
Daisy Innocence of a child 18th & 19th Century

Darts

Mortality 17th & 18th Century

Dog Loyalty, Fidelity, Vigilance
Dove Innocence, Peace 18th & 19th Century
Dove, Ascending Soul rising to Heaven 18th & 19th Century
Dove, Decending Decent from Heaven to accompany soul to Heaven 18th & 19th Century
Dove, Flying Resurrection 18th & 19th Century
Dove, holding an olive branch Soul has reached divine peace in Heaven 18th & 19th Century
Drapery Mourning, Mortality
Dragon Imperial Power
Eagle Deceased was a veteran 18th & 19th Century
Eagle clutching Arrows with Shield United States Army
Eagle,
double headed
Emblem of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Masons (32nd Degree).

The Double-Headed Eagle of Lagash is used as an emblem by the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. There are many meanings attached to this symbol. It was introduced in France in the early 1760s as the emblem of the Kadosh degree

The double-headed eagle symbol is for the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. The number 32 inside the triangle represents the 32nd degree of the Scottish Rite.
Eagle with F O ESymbol of the Fraternal Order of Eagles,
a fraternal organization.
Easter Lily Purity, Chastity 18th & 19th Century

Effigies, winged
Flight of the soul 18th Century
Eyes God's watchful eye 19th Century
FBCFriendship, Charity, Benevolence - found on Knights of Pythias Swords

Father Time
Passage of time 17th & 18th Century
Female Figure Sorrow, Grief
Fern Humility, Sincerity

Finger pointing upward The pathway to Heaven
Fish Spiritual nourishment, Faith, Christianity
FlagUsually found on a Veteran's grave

Flame Life, Resurrection.
Fleur-de-lisFaith, wisdom and valor; The Trinity, passion and love.
Flower Immortality, Fragility of life 18th & 19th Century
Fruit Eternity
G.A.R. Deceased was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic
Garland Victory over death 18th & 19th Century
GideonGideons International - the oldest association of Christian businessmen and professional  men in the United States of American founded in 189920th Century

Grapes Blood of Christ; Sacrament 17th & 18th Century

Grim Reaper
Inevitability of death
Gate Pearly Gates, Entrance to Heaven

GOD
Judgement 18th Century
Hammer & Saw Building tools; Woodwork
Hammer & SquareCarpenter
Harp Praise to God; Hope

Hand, chopping
Mortality, Sudden Death 18th Century
Hand holding chain with broken link Death of a family member
Hands, clasped Farewell and the hope of meeting again in eternity
Hand, clasping a crossSalvation

Hands, outstreached
Healing Power; Physician 18th & 19th Century
Hands praying Asking God for Eternal Live 18th & 19th Century
Hand pointing downGod Reaching Down for the Soul
Hand pointing up Pathway to Heaven 19th Century
Hands reaching for the Lord's hand Faith that the Lord will help us enter Heaven, Eternal Life
Hands with Rosery Beads Catholic Religion

Handshake
Farewell to earthly matters 19th Century
Harp
Heart Love, Devotion, Joy, and Mortality 18th & 19th Century

Horns
Resurrection
Horse Death - White horse represents good; Black horse represents evil

Horse & BuggyNational Rural Letter Carriers Association

Hourglass
Passage of time 17th & 18th Century
IHSIHS stands for the first three letters of Jesus' name in the Greek alphabet.

Another meaning for IHS, contributed by Jim Miller:
This symbol also stands for "in hoc signo", Latin for "by this sign we conquer", referring to the cross.
I.T.U.International Telegraph Union
Ivy Friendship, eternal life and immortality
Jesus holding a lamb
Key Key to unlock gates of heaven; a learned  person; knowledge of the scriptures
Knights of Pythias An International Fraternity that promotes univeral peace

Knot
Marriage, Unity
Lamb innocence 19th Century
LampWisdom, Faithfulness19th Century

Laurel Worldly accomplishments, Heroism
Lily Purity, Chastity, Resurrection 18th & 19th Century
Lily of the Valley Rebirth, Innocence, Purity, Virginity 18th & 19th Century

Lion
Strength, Courage
LionsLions Club ~ a service membership organization

Lotus
Purity, Creation, Rebirth
LyreOften have a broken string, symbolizing the end of life. Lyres are usually found on the graves of musicians.

Menorah
Emblem of Judasim
Moon Death, Rebirth, or Victory
Morning Glory Beginning of life along with Beauty, Youth, Love 18th & 19th Century

Myrtle Leaves
Undying love, Peace
OES, 5 pointed star Order of the Eastern Star
Oak Leaf Long Life, Strength, Endurance, Faith and Virtue
Olive Branch Peace, Fruitfulness, Forgiveness, Purification,
Humanity, Victory

Owl
Wisdom, Watchfulness
Ox Patience, Strength

Pall
Mortality
Palm Success, Victory over death, Eternal peace
Passion Cross K.C.C.H. (Knight Commander Court of Honor)
Masonic Honor

Picks

Mortality 17th Century
Pine Tree, Cones, Branches, Needles Immortality

Plow

The harvest, The reaping of one’s life

Poppy

Eternal sleep 18th & 19th Century

Portals

Passage into Heaven 17th & 18th Century

Portrait Likeness of the Deceased 18th & 19th Century

Pulpit

Religious Profession 17th & 18th Century
Purple HeartExhibits a bust of bust/profile of George Washington; awarded to soldiers for wounds received during war and to civilians during terrorists attacks20th Century
Pyramid Resurrection, Eternal life, Enlightenment, Spiritual attainment

Rabbit

Humility, Gentleness, Self-sacrifice
Rainbow Union or fulfillment of the promise of resurrection
Rifle Military Service 18th & 19th Century

Rooster

Awakening, Vigilance, Resurrection 18th Century

Rosary Catholic Religion, Constant prayer for the deceased person
Rose, fully opened Love, Beauty, Victory, Triumph, Purity 18th & 19th Century

Rosebud Death early in life 18th Century

Rosemary

Remembrance

Scroll Life, Time

Scythe

Death, The final harvest 17th & 18th Century
Shell Baptism, Rebirth 18th & 19th Century
Scallop Shell with a  Sleeping ChildUsed exclusively for children under age of 6 years
Scallop shell is a symbol of transformation
Sleeping child is a symbol of a pure and innocent soul
1870s - World War II
Ship The church, Life on the sea like that of a fisherman or Sailor. 18th & 19th Century
Shoes Empty shoes with one overturned - loss of a child

Shovels

Mortality 17th Century
Shriners Imperial Council of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine

Skeleton

Death, Life's brevity on earth 17th & 18th Century
Skull Death, Mortality
Sleeping Child Victorian Era symbol of Death

Snakes

Temptation 18th & 19th Century

Snakes, hooped

Eternity 18th & 19th Century
Southern Cross of Honor Usually found on tombstone of a Confederate Veteran
Spinning Wheel over Distaff filled with Flax Daughters of the American Revolution
Square & CompassUsually have the letter "G" in the middle. Found on gravestones belonging to members of the Freemasons (Masons).
Staff of Aesculapius w/ wingsMedical Field
Staff of Asklepios with wings & double snakes (Caduceus)Medical Doctor

Staff of Asklepios with wings, double snakes & the letter "D" (Caduceus

Staff of Aesculapius w/ wings & the letter "V" superimposed (Caduceus)

Star Divine Guidance
Star, five pointed Star of Bethlehem

Star, six pointed

Creation
Sun The soul rising to heaven 18th & 19th Century

Sunflower

Devotion to God 18th & 19th Century
Swallow Motherhood or the spirit of children
Sword Represents martyrdom; crossed swords are found on
grave stones of veterans, especially officers
17th & 18th Century

Swords, crossed

Ranking Military Person 18th Century

Thistle

Earthly sorrow, Remembrance 18th Century

Torch

Enlightenment, Zeal, Liberty, Immortality 19th Century
Tree Life, Human fragility 18th Century
Tree Trunk, broken Premature death, Mourning
Triangle The Holy Trinity

Trowel

Mortality, Death

Trumpet

Resurrection, Entry into Heaven 18th Century

Tulip

Love, Passion 18th & 19th Century

U.C.V.United Confederate Veterans
Urn The soul, Immortality, Penitence 19th Century
Vacant Chair Death of a child
Veteran Veteran of World War II

Vines

Wine, Blood of Christ 18th Century
Violet Humility 18th & 19th Century
Wedding RingsMarriage
Weeping WillowMourning, Grief, Sadness, Lamentation19th Century
Wheat Divine Harvest 19th Century
Wheat Shaft Old age, Fruitful life

Wheel
The cycle of life, Enlightenment, Spiritual power
Wings with Anchor U.S. Navy

Wings with Crest U.S. Air Force Pilot
Woodmen of the World Membership in the WOW fraternal organization
Wreath Victory of death over life 18th & 19th Century
Wrenches, CrossedMechanic


List of Gravestone Symbols and Their Meanings

All symbols found on tombstones in Cemeteries in Grayson County, Texas

Cemetery Research
Elaine Nall Bay
2014
Grayson County TXGenWeb