When you explore old cemeteries you walk in the footprints of researchers who have gone before you. I have used the Spencer Co. Cemetery log’s created by the Captain Jacob Warrick Chapter of the DAR. It is in the Boonville library. We are taking pictures of all stones, checking with newspaper obituaries, death date indexes and other sources to add names as we find them and to clarify the names and dates on badly worn stones.
I am working on mainly Grass and Luce township . Donna Schauss is working mostly in Luce township. Notable exceptions are St Peters in Lamar which is in Huff Township. For the stones in german, I have the services of fellow researcher Kathryn Robinett who translates the old german script.
A few comments on how data is presented. If there is information of military service the comment section will be in Blue. Maiden names if known are preceded with "nee" and are italic. Standard abbreviations are used such as s/o for son of. d/o for daughter of, w/o wife of etc. Obits in the comment section means their is additional information from a obituary and it can be found in that section alphabetically by surname on the site.
These are the most common of the abbreviations found on grave stones
Cemetery Inscriptions This was submitted to the Bibb County GenWeb mailing list. B.P.O.E.: Benevolent Protective Order of Elks F.L.T.: with each letter in a link of a chain: Friendship, Love and Truth (see I.O.O.F.) F.O.E.: Fraternal Order of Eagles G.A.R.: Grand Army of the Republic. It was an organization of Civil War Union Army veterans. I.O.O.F.: International Order of Odd Fellows (see F.L.T.). V.D.M.: verbi Dei minister (Minister of the Word of God). W.O.W.: Woodmen of the World. Upright tree stump markers are typical of the fraternity. Relect carved on a woman's headstone: she died a widow. Consort: she outlived her husband. Some examples of engraved symbols include: Anchors and Ships: Hope or Seafaring profession Arches: Victory in Death Arrows: Mortality Broken column: Loss of head of family Broken ring: Family circle severed Bugles: Military (see Trumpeters) Butterfly: Short-lived; early death Candle being snuffed: Time, mortality Cherub: Angelic Compass and Square: Masonic emblems Corn: Ripe old age Cross: Symbol of Christian hope Crossed Swords: Officer in the military Darts: Mortality Doves: The soul, purity, innocence, gentleness Father Time: Mortality, The Grim Reaper Flowers: Brevity of early existence, sorrow Flowers: Condolence, grief, sorrow Flying Birds: Flight of the soul Fruits : Eternal plenty Garlands : Victory in death Hand of God Chopping: Sudden death Hands of God Chopping: Sudden Death Handshakes: Farewell to earthly existence Harp: Praise to the Maker Hearts: Blissfulness or love of Christ Hourglass with wings: Time flying; short life Hourglass: Swiftness of time Ivy: Friendship and immortality Lamb: Innocence Laurel: Fame or victory Lily or lily of valley: Emblem of innocence and purity Morning glory: Beginning of life Oak leaves and acorn: Maturity, ripe old age Open book or Bible: Deceased teacher, minister, etc. Palm Branch: Signifies victory and rejoicing Picks and shovels: Mortality Poppy: Sleep Portals: Passageway to eternal journey Rose in full bloom: Prime of life Rosebud: Morning of life or renewal of life Roses: Brevity of mortal life Sheaf of wheat: Ripe for harvest, divine harvest time Shells: Pilgrimage of life Stars and stripes around eagle: Eternal vigilance, liberty Suns: The Resurrection Thistles: Remembrance Tombs: Mortality Torch Inverted: Life extinct Tree stump with ivy: Head of family; immortality Trees: Life Trumpeters: Heralds of the resurrection Urn with flame: Undying friendship Urn with wreath or crepe: mourning Willows: Emblem of sorrow Winged effigies: Flight of the soul
A cenotaph is not a grave marker at all. It is a monument erected in memory of someone who died elsewhere, perhaps at sea.