Understanding Cemetery Symbols – My Review

A Field Guide for Historic Graveyards
(Messages from the Dead)

  Genre: History / Landmarks & Monuments / Iconography
Publisher: Castle Azle Press
Date of Publication: August 19, 2017
Number of Pages: 250
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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 “messages from the dead.”


Praise for Understanding Cemetery Symbols:

“When I ordered this book I thought it would be good for information concerning cemetery symbolism. I was wrong. It is GREAT!!!! This has already become my go to guide for all types of cemetery information. By far the best book I have come across!”  – Amazon verified purchase, wearylibrarian

“Wow! What a great book! I got bit by the bug doing genealogy research. I always wondered what the symbols meant and could not find a reliable resource for the info. With Ms. Snider’s book along with the symbiology and great pictures, also a creative process of Tui’s, are plenty of interesting tidbits! Useful and entertaining! The book is small enough to keep in the glove box or your handbag or backpack!!” – Amazon verified purchase, Rev. Joy Daley
“I always enjoyed walking through a cemetery and looking at the stones. Now it will give it a much deeper meaning. I really enjoyed reading this book!”  – Amazon verified purchase, Deborah D.

“Perfect book to get an idea for symbols and meaning. Only glanced through it and already picked up a few facts! Welcome addition to our growing library…” – Amazon verified purchase, Toripotterfan

Check out the book trailer! Music by Tui Snider!



Understanding Cemetery Symbols – My Review

I’m a natural taphophile, so I love cemeteries and graveyards. Concrete angels and epitaphs are what draws me to cemeteries and graveyards. Plus, the unknown history you can gather from a cemetery or graveyard is incredibly intriguing. Like seeing rows upon rows of priests graves or when an epidemic struck a community causing numerous deaths. I was thrilled to be able to read and add to my collection, Tui Snider’s recent publication on Understanding Cemetery Symbols.

The book is informative in a conversational tone for a beginner or even a seasoned taphophile. The author breaks her book down into easy to read sections from discussing headstone types to flora engravings on headstones to cross types. She brings to light how many crosses there are in the world that symbolizes diverse meanings.

One notable chapter discusses what symbols can represent, as well as have different meanings on a variety of levels for people. I agree with Tui that symbols can signify particular things to everyone. For instance – I dislike roosters, so I’ll never have an affinity for them because one attacked me, but for some people these animals represent vigilance.

She’s dead-on (no pun intended) that exploring cemeteries is a great way to get outside, especially during the spring and fall seasons. We all need more outdoor time. The chapter on cemetery safety and etiquette provides tips to abide by when you visit a cemetery. I’ve always made sure never to walk across graves to obeying the posted signage. The latter is one of the most important things you can do when you visit a cemetery or graveyard. If it says “Silence” then be silent, just to name one.

Tui further details the distinctive types of cemeteries you’ll encounter, as well as the differences between coffins and caskets. Do you know their distinctions? I’ll know when I visit a cemetery or graveyard in the future and see a sarcophagus what it means. She provides answers to basic questions of why husbands are buried on the left and why headstones face east.

There were some errors in the book, like a repeat of photos and the consistent misspelling of Chi Rho. One notable error is in distinguishing between the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Daughters of the Republic. While I had to prove my lineage to the DAR, my membership was not based on if I was personally acceptable. An index would be very useful for the book to help readers quickly reference specific items.

Overall, Tui’s book is a precious packed resource that provided me new insights into cemeteries and their symbols that I did not know before. If you love cemeteries too, then grab her book to guide your discoveries. I’ll now be on the outlook for four new major symbols to photograph: owl, spider web, a squirrel with acorns, and zebras, especially the squirrel with acorns. You’ll have to read her book to find out why this small animal has such a significant meaning.

Tui Snider is an award-winning writer, speaker, photographer, and musician specializing in quirky travel, overlooked history, cemetery symbolism, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction, but then I moved to Texas!”
Tui lectures frequently at universities, libraries, conferences and bookstores. Her best-selling books include Paranormal Texas, The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber, Unexpected Texas, and Understanding Cemetery Symbols. She recently taught classes based on her books at Texas Christian University.
When not writing books, you can find Tui exploring the historic graveyards and backroads of Texas with her husband, Larry. 
Grand Prize: Signed Copies of Understanding Cemetery Symbols + wGraveyard Journal Workbook + Ghost Hunters Journal 
2nd & 3rd Prizes: Signed Copies of Understanding Cemetery Symbols
October 18-October 27, 2017
(U.S. Only)
Excerpt 1
Guest Post 1
Author Interview
Excerpt 2
Top 5 List
Guest Post 2
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