Headstone Inscriptions

AF&AM  (masonic)
AOF Ancient Order Of Foresters
AOH Ancient Order Of Hibernians
AOKMC Ancient Order Of Knights of Mystic Chain
AOUW Ancient Order Of United Workmen
ALOH American Legion of Honor
AUM  Ancient Order of Mysteries- Masonic Order
BPOE Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks
BPOEW Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World
CK of A Catholic Knights of America
COOF  Catholic Order of Foresters
CTAS Catholic Total Abstinence Society
CBKA Commander Benevolent Knights Association
CCTAS Crusaders-Catholic Total Abstinence Society
CSA Confederate States Army
DAR  Daughters of American Revolution
EBA Emerald Beneficial Association
FAA Free and Accepted Americans
F&AM – Free and Accepted Masons.
FLT-Friendship, Love, & Truth (Independent Order of Oddfellows)
FOE Fraternal Order of Eagles
GALSTPTR German American Legion of St. Peter
GAR Grand Army of the Republic
GLAUM  Grand Lodge Ancient Order of Mysteries-Masonic Order
GUOOF    Grand United Order of Odd Fellows
IHSV Red Cross of Constantine
IOI Independent Order of Immaculates
IOKP Independent Order of Knights of Pythias
IOOF Independent Order of Odd Fellows
IORM Improved Order of Redmen
ISH Independent Sons of Honor
IWW Industrial Workers of the World
JAOUW Junior Order-Ancient Order of United Workmen
JOUAM Junior Order-Order of United American Mechanics
KGL Knight Grand Legion
KM Knights Militant
KC Knights of Columbus
K of C Knights of Columbus
K of FM Knights of Father Matthew
KFM Knights of Father Matthew
K of H Knights of Honor
K of L Knights of Loyola
K M   Knights of Malta (Masonic)
KMC Knights of the Mystic Chain
KPC Knights of Peter Claver
KP Knights of Pythias
K of P Knights of Pythias
KSC Knights of St. Columbkille
KG Knights of St. George
KSTG Knights of St. George
KSTI Knights of St. Ignatius
K of SJ Knights of St. John
KSTJ Knights of St. Joseph
KSL Knights of St. Lawrence
KSTM Knights of St. Martin
K of STP Knights of St. PatrickKSTP Knights of St. Paul
KSTP Knights of St. Peter
KSTT Knights of St. Thomas
K of STW Knights of St. Wenceslas
KT Knights of Tabor
K of T Knights of Tabor
KWM Knights of Wise Men
KGE Knights of Golden Eagle
KHC Knights of Holy Cross
KKK Knights of Klu-Klux Klan
KOTM Knights of Macabees
KSF Knights of Sherwood Forest
KT Knights Templars (Masonic)
LAOH    Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians
LK of A Loyal Knights of America
LOM  Loyal Order of the M.O.O.S.E.
MOLLUS Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States
MRA Royal Arcanum
MWA Modern Woodsmen of America
NOK  New Order Knights (see KKK)
OES  Order of the Eastern Star
OUAM Order of United American Mechanics
PM Patriarchs Militant (Independent Order of Odd Fellows)
POSA Patriotic Order of the Sons of America
RMOKHSJ   The Religious and Military Order of Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem
RSTV Rite of St. Vaclara
RSTV Rite of ST. Vita
RK Roman Knights
SR  Scottish Rite      (Masonic Order)
RAM Royal Arch Masons
RO-AUM  Rosicrucian Order (Masonic)
SBCL Saint Bonifazius Catholic Union
SBL Society B. Lafayette
SCV Sons of the Confederate Veterans
SAR Sons of the American Revolution
SNA-AUM  Shrine of North America (Masonic)
SV Sons of Veterans
TH Temple of Honor-Independent Order of Odd Fellows
TOTE Totem of the Eagle (goes with IORM)
UCV United Confederate Veterans
UDC  United Daughters of the Confederacy
VFW Veterans of Foreign Wars
WOW Woodsmen of the World

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.