7/22/16

Earthly and Virtual Resting Places

As a 'Family Historian/Genealogist', I spend quite a lot of time in Cemeteries.  Some of them are of this earth cemeteries like Tamarisk Cemetery in Grandfalls, Texas, where my great grandfather settled after migrating to Texas from Georgia in the late 1890's.

As many earthly cemeteries as I have visited over the years, the number does not come close to the 'Virtual Cemeteries' I have searched, researched and even established. 

Where are these 'Virtual Cemeteries'?  They are in the 'Cloud'...as technology calls it, and isn't that a perfect place for our heavenly loved ones and ancestors.

 In virtual reality, these cemeteries are located on a website called Find A Grave.  It is a free resource for finding the final resting place of famous folks, friends and family members.  With millions of names and thousands of cemeteries world wide, it's an invaluable tool for genealogy research and a place for establishing Memorials.   HERE is the home page for Find A Grave.  HERE is my Contributor Page with my Family Virtual Cemeteries.  It is there where Great Grandfather George and Great Grandmother Emma rest in peace together even though their earthly burial places are thousands of miles apart.

When I am on the road or visiting family and friends, I often come across old cemeteries.  Such was the case last week while visiting my sister in New Braunfels, Texas.  Always it is the oldest graves, their headstones and iron work fences that captures my interest and the eye of my camera.  As you can see, I was not the only visitor that day. 

On occasion I have come across graves with sea shells, but these two are the first ones I have seen where the mound was completely covered.  I was curious about why?  Are you?

The practice of covering graves was quite common across the South in the Victorian era...particularly in the costal areas of Texas.  The types of shells used are commonly referred to as cockleshells.

There are several theories on why they were used including one about the economics of the time.  Another relates to those who came to America by sea. They said the sea had brought them to their new country and the sea would return them to their homeland when they died.  Also interpreted symbolically as to ensure a safe journey to that unknown shore where everlasting life is possible.

Another thought on loose shells placed around a grave, is as a visible reminder that the person buried below continues to be remembered and honored by those still living.  Along those same lines, some say seashells are a symbol of Christianity that symbolize a person's journey through life.

Then there is the practical and traditional method of marking a grave during the early years after the Civil War.  The shells were used as a means of protecting grave site mounds from washing away in the rain.  When shells were laid as one would lay shingles or a tile roof, they would protect the earthen mound, and they were decorative, as well.
Perhaps not as decorative as a bouquet of pansies,
but lovely and thoughtful all the same.

8 comments:

  1. It interesting how some decorate graves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is interesting. Many decorations have symbolic messages as well as being decorative.

      Delete
  2. Hi Sue - I'd never thought about graves being in the 'cloud' ... but a logical development in this day and age I guess. Interesting about the shells ... and mounds - they are still there - attesting to their effectiveness at guarding their treasure.

    Love the deer and then the flowers and well kept cemetery ... cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's amazing that the shells last so long. The ones on these graves are well over 100 years old.

      Delete
  3. I love this, so lovely
    http://www.melodyjacob.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Melody. Good to see you here...come again.

      Delete
  4. very interesting. I like the idea of the virtual cemetery. I admit I find historical cemeteries fascinating - the carvings, etc. . However, I'm not keen on visiting ones with family members. I have not been to my mother's grave because the stone has my father's name on it and his birth date. He's not gone..and seeing it bothers me immensely. I do like the seashells and other tributes - very nice

    ReplyDelete
  5. I hadn't known this about sea shells. Fascinating. I have looked up graves of relatives on Find-A-Grave. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails