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Understanding Cemetery Symbols: A Field Guide for Historic Graveyards (Messages from the Dead Book 1)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  50 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Understanding Cemetery Symbols" by Tui Snider helps history buffs, genealogists, ghost hunters and other curiosity seekers decode the forgotten meanings of the symbols our ancestors placed on their headstones. By understanding the meaning behind the architecture, acronyms, & symbols found in America's burial grounds, readers will gain a deeper appreciation for these "m ...more
Kindle Edition, 127 pages
Published August 19th 2017 by Castle Azle Press
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4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  50 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genealogy, 2018
“Americans are beginning to realize once again that burial grounds exist to nurture the living as well as shelter the dead.” (p. 20)

Whether you’re into history, cemeteries, or genealogy this book will interest you. It is not just about the symbols often seen on historic gravestones, but also a look at the evolution from burial grounds to today’s garden cemeteries. Snider covers cemetery elements, architecture, and design; burial and death beliefs, superstitions, and customs; cemetery and burial
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wishes to understand cemetery symbols.
Tui Snider’s Understanding Cemetery Symbols: A Field Guide for Historic Graveyards is an excellent book for a person who is discovering she/he have an interest in cemeteries and would like to comprehend what the many different symbols found on the gravestones mean. For example, one may find many types of crosses in cemeteries such as Celtic Crosses often used ‘on graves of those of Irish descent’, or an Eastern Cross (Greek Orthodox Cross), or the Latin Cross (Protestant Cross ‘which focuses on ...more
Deb Atwood
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, reference
This is an invaluable guide to writers and researchers as well as amateur taphophiles (okay, I admit, I had to look that word up). The chapters such as "Why Symbols Matter," "Cemetery Safety and Etiquette," and "Cemetery Architecture" are well organized so if you have a particular interest or question, you can easily flip to the page and find the needed information.

One aspect I found interesting in this book was the way symbols change over time and wane in popularity. Also, the same symbol can a
Sab Cornelius
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it <--- I do book blogging on the side, so posted my full review here. [Site is currently A WIP]
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I was given the opportunity to review this book, I didn’t merely sign up for it, I begged for the chance. Partly, of course, it’s because a lot of my writing lately is focusing on ghosts, but also it’s because the subject fascinates me. Maybe it’s because we don’t bury our dead in my family – we have them cremated and scatter the ashes somewhere meaningful – or maybe I’ve just read too many gothic novels with confrontations in family crypts, but graveyards have always intrigued me. In fact, ...more
Lynn Poppe
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I’m starting this review with a quote that succinctly describes Understanding Cemetery Symbols:
"Simply put, symbols are the perfect example of the old cliche that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’."
What I really enjoyed about Understanding Cemetery Symbols is the conversational writing style. Ms. Snider’s writing made me feel like we were sitting on a front porch with a lemonade, looking over a historical cemetery, discussing symbols and history.
The anthropologist in me quite appreciated thi
Briar Lynn
Jun 18, 2018 rated it liked it
A winter solstice gift from my husband after we spent the summer before exploring local graveyards.

This book a solid companion when exploring graveyards, particularly in the United States. I was raised Presbyterian, and because of my background, I was not intimate with the symbols associated with saints, angels, and the like. I also learned quite a great deal about fraternities and other "secret societies" and their place in American history. A large number of which offered funeral and other fin
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very Informative!

If you enjoy visiting old graveyards as a hobby or pastime this is definitely the book for you. I can also see it being useful for those interested in history or those who like to do genealogical research by visiting graveyards. Very easy to access for all readers, and can easily be brought along as a field guide when at the graveyard. The only reason I chose to give it four stars instead of five, I felt like it needed more pictures. Often I had to stop reading to look up what t
Virginia Van
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a valuable guide for anyone interested in old cemeteries, their histories and the "decoding" of various symbols found on gravestones. The author points out the need to interpret symbols in context and not to go into cemeteries alone, the latter a valuable piece of advice I have not seen in similar books. Although the content is tilted towards American cemeteries, most of the information is applicable to Canada as well.
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Nice set of explanations

If you’re a genealogist or a geocacher or just like cemeteries, you should get this book. Quick way to find a quick explanation for symbols you might see in cemeteries. Recommended!
Niki Gratton
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A triumph

Straightforward, the way she writes is easy and fun to read. It goes alphabetically and properly organized. I enjoyed it enormously!
Amy L. Sholar
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very helpful!

I learned quite a lot while reading this book! It is very educational with regard to cemetery symbolism. Thanks so much!
Shirley A. McManus
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Good information

The information presented in organized in an easy to follow fashion. I found it very useful. I do visit old cemeteries and have often wondered about the not so obvious symbols on headstones.
Chris Shockey
Feb 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Not bad...

Interesting treatise on graveyard symbology, but was very hard to read because you couldn't increase the point size of the type. It would actually zoom in and cut off text. I didn't notice until I got to a page turn where the text didn't make sense. I had to zoomback out to a point size that was difficult to read. Also, more photos would've helped.
Terry McIntire
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
An interesting book for all of the taphophiles among us. Always wondered about the origin of the things seen in old cemeteries. Fun concise information. If you ever visit a cemetery for any reason, this would be an excellent companion.
Cynthia L Jennings
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A must for cemetery nerds

I spend a lot of time in cemeteries. This is very helpful to have in hand when I am wondering what something means.
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Interesting read

I enjoyed reading this book.It offered a unique approach to understanding cemetery symbols. I'm sure with the millennial generation emoji will be used as well in the years to come.
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