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Texas Tombstone Symbols & their Meanings


Below is a list of tombstone symbols that can be found across Texas. and their meanings. This list is by no means comprehensive. If you have examples of tombstone symbols in our state that are not included here, please send them to: txghn@outlook.com.

For a list of abbreviations found on U.S. tombstones, visit our Tombstone Abbreviations & their Meanings website.

 

TOMBSTONE SYMBOLS & their MEANINGS
EXAMPLE
SYMBOL
MEANING / NOTES
Acorns Power; Authority; Victory. Often seen on military graves.
Alpha and Omega The beginning and the end.
Anchor Hope; Steadfastness.
  Anchor, Sextant, & Cross Staff Could mean the person was a Mariner.
Anchor with Crossed Canons Confederate States Navy.
Anchor with Chain or Rope Emblem of the United States Navy.
Anchors, Double with Shield United States Coast Guard.
Angels Spirituality; Guardians of the tomb.
Angel, Flying Rebirth; Resurrection.
Angel, Praying Advocate asking God for mercy on behalf of the deceased.
  Angel, Trumpeting Rebirth; Resurrection.
Arch Victory in death; Door to Salvation.
Arches, Double Stone Being Rejoined in Heaven With Partner.
Arrow(s) Mortality; Death.
  Axe, Knife, & Cleaver Could mean the person was a Butcher.
  Awl, Knife, & Nippers Could mean the person was a Shoemaker or Cobbler.
  Barber Bowl & Razor Could mean the person was a Barber.
Bee Flying with Gun Seabees (US Navy)
Beehive Symbol of Mormonism; Masonic symbol of productivity.
Bells & Doves Marriage.
Bellflower Gratitude
Bible The Holy Bible is often found on the tombstones of Christians.
Bird Eternal Life.
  Bird Flying Ressurection.
  Books, Holy Often found on the tombstones of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). Two books indicate the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Three books represent the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.
Books, with or without Apple Could mean the person was a Teacher.
Book, Open Book of Life.
Butterfly Shortened life.
  Candle (snuffed) Loss of Life.
Candle, Burning Everlasting Life.
Castle U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Chain, Broken Links of Death of a Spouse.
Chain, Three Links Grand United Order of Oddfellows
Chalice Sacrement.
Cherubs Innocence.
Chi Rho The first two letters, X (chi) & P (rho) in the Greek word for Christ.
Child, Sleeping Grave of a young child; Not dead, just sleeping.
Circle of Leaves The Circle (Womens auxillary - Woodmen of the World)
Clover, Four-Leaf The 4H Club.
Coffin Mortality.
Column, Broken Decay / Loss of the Head of the Family
Compass & Square Masons.
Corn, Stalk of Could mean the person was a Farmer.
  Coulter (hoe) Could mean the person was a Farmer.
  Crescent Muslum faith.
Cross General Symbol of Christianity. Represents the Ressurection to many Christian religions.
Cross with Crown In Mississippi it is usually a Christian symbol of sovereignty of the Lord.
Cross with Flames Symbol of the Methodist Religion.
Cross with Jesus Christ The Crucifixion; The Sacrifice of Christ.
Cross, Bontonee The Trinity.
Cross, Celtic or Irish Episcopalians call this the Celtic Cross, while Catholics call it the Irish Cross. Often used to denote the graves of Monks or Priests.
  Cross, Crusader's Symbol used by Europeans during the Holy War against the Muslims.
Cross, Egyptian or Coptic Used by the Gnostics and the Copts, it was devised from the ancient Egyptian symbol, ankh, which symbolizes life.
  Cross, Greek Most commonly known as the symbol adopted by the International Red Cross.
  Cross, Jerusalem Adopted by the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This is another cross from the Crusades.
Cross, Maltese w/ Firefighter Equipment. Firefighters Emblem.
  Cross, Orthodox, Patriarchal, or Eastern The top cross bar represents the sign "Jesus Christ, King of the Jews", placed on Jesus' cross by the Romans.
Cross, Presbyterian Presbyterian Religion.
Cross, Roman or Latin Came about as a result of the Great Schism between Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism.
Cross, Southern Cross of Honor Usually found on the tombstones of Confederate Veterans.
  Cross, St. Andrew's According to legend, when St. Andrew was martyred he claimed he was not worthy to be hung on a cross shaped as Jesus' cross. He requested that this shape be used for his execution.
  Crossed Swords High Ranking Military Person.
Crown The soul's achievement and the Glory of life after death.
Crown with Cross In Mississippi it is usually a Christian symbol of sovereignty of the Lord.
Crown with Knight's Head, Crossed Swords, Moon & Stars Order of DeMolay.
Curtains / Drapes Mourning; End of Life on Earth.
  Daffodil / Narcissus Rebirth and Ressurection.
  Dart w/ figure Mortality.
Deer Outdoorsman; Hunter.
Dog A Master worthy of love; Dog lover; Hunter
Dove Innocence; Peace.
  Dove, Ascending Soul rising to heaven.
  Dove, Dead Premature death.
  Dove, Decending Decent from heaven to accompany soul to heaven.
Dove, Dive Bombing with Twig Holy Ghost.
Dove, Flying Ressurrection.
Dragonfly Immortality and regeneration.
Eagle U.S. Postal Service.
  Eagle with Stars & Stripes Eternal vigilance and liberty.
Eagle and Shield on Fleur de lis Boy Scouts of America
Eagle Clutching Arrows with Shield United States Army.
Eagles, Double w/ pyramid & the number 32 Emblem of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Masons (32nd Degree).
Eye with Sunburst or Triagle Masonic Symbol.
Firefighter Helmet & Double Axes crossed Mississippi State Firefighters Associan.
  Flail Could mean the person was a Farmer.
  Flame Immortality of the Spirit; The Resurrection.
Fleur-de-Lis Faith, wisdom and valor; The Trinity, passion and love.
  Fruit Eternal Plenty; Fruit of Life.
  Garland Saintliness; Glory; Victory in Death.
Gates Pearly Gates; Entrance to Heaven.
Grapes / Grapevine Blood of Christ; Sacrament.
  Grim Reaper Personification of death.
  Hammer, Anvil, & Crown Could mean the person was a Blacksmith.
Hammer & Square Could mean the person was a Carpenter.
Hand, Pointing Up Pathway to Heaven.
Hands with Rosery Beads Symbol of the Catholic Religion.
  Hands, Blessing Blessing those remaining behind.
Hands, Clasped Farewell.
Hands, Holding Unity of Marriage.
Hands, Praying Asking God for Eternal Life.
Hands reaching for the Lord's Hand Faith that the Lord will help us to Heaven & Eternal Life.
Harp Praising God.
Heart Love; Affection of the living for the dead.
  Heart, Sacred Commonly found in Catholic Cemeteries. Representative of the suffering of Christ for our sins.
Hearts, Two interlocked Marriage.
Heart and Rose in Cupped Hands Organ Donor.
  Horns The Resurrection.
Horse and Rider superimposed on Globe. United Methodist Clergy
Hourglass Time has expired; Brievity of Life.
"I" made with railroad tie Employee of Illinois Central Gulf Railroad.
Ivy Immortality; Friendship.
Lamb Innocence. Usually marks a child's grave.
Lamp Immortality of the Spirit; The Resurrection.
Laurel Worldly accomplishment; Heroism
  Light Immortality of the Spirit; The Resurrection.
Lily Flower of a Virgin; Purity & Innocence.
  Lion Courage. The Lion's eternal watch guards the tomb.
  Loom, Shuttle, & Stretcher Could mean the person was a Weaver.
Medal, Ribbon with Heart & likeness of George Washington. Purple Heart, a U.S. Military medal given to soldiers wounded in action.
Medal, Ribbon with 5-Pointed Star. The Bronze Star, a U.S. Military medal awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service.
Menorah An Emblem of Judaism.
Militia Soldier w/ Rifle & 5 Stars Army National Guard.
Mississippi Map with Eagle, Shield, & Stars Mississippi Highway Patrol.
Morning Glory Beginning of Life.
Mortar and Pestle Pharmacists (sometimes Doctor).
Navy Seal United States Navy.
Oak Leaves Power; Authority; Victory. Often seen on military graves.
Palm Branch Victory; Rejoicing.
Pine Tree, Cones, Branch, and/or needles Immortality.
Poppy Eternal Sleep.
  Rake & Spade Could mean the person was a Gardener.
Ring Marriage.
  Ring, Broken A Family Circle has been severed.
Rings, Interlocked Marriage.
  Rod Comfort for the Bereaved.
Rooster Awakening; Resurrection.
Rose, Fully opened Death in the prime of life.
Rosebud Death early in life.
Rosemary Remembrance.
  Scales Could mean the person was a Merchant.
Scimitar & 5-pointed Star Emblem of the Shriners.
Scimitar with Rose & Crescent Daughters of the Nile.
  Scythe Harvest of death.
Sissors, Brush, Razor, &/or Comb Person was probably a Barber / Hairdresser / Beautician.
Skull or Skull & Crossbones Death.
  Spade or Spade crossed with Shovel Death.
Spinning Wheel Heroines of Jericho (Masonic).
Spinning Wheel over Distaff filled with Flax Daughters of the American Revolution.
  Staff Comfort for the Bereaved.
Staff of Aesculapius w/ wings & the letter "V" superimposed (Caduceus) Veterinarian.
Staff of Asklepios with wings & double snakes (Caduceus) Medical Doctor.
Staff of Asklepios with wings, double snakes & the letter "D" (Caduceus) Doctor of Dentistry.
Star The Order of the Eastern Star (Masonic).
Star The Light of the Spirit overpowers death.
Star of David International Symbol of Judaism.
Star, 5-Pointed with Wreath & "US" in Center American Legion Emblem.
Sun Light and warmth; Renewed life and life everlasting.
Sunrise / Sunset The Ressurection; Life Ending.
Thistles Remembrance.
Tourch Immortality of the Spirit; The Resurrection.
Tree Life.
  Tree, Sprouting Everlasting Life.
Tree Stump Life Cut Short.
Tree Trunk Brevity of Life; Member of Woodmen of the World.
Triangle with 3 joined "T's" Royal Arch Mason.
  Trumpeters Harbingers of the Resurrection.
Urn Immortality.
  Urn with Flame Undying Remembrence.
  Wedge & Level Could mean the person was a Mason by trade.
Weeping Willow Perpetual Mourning; Grief.
Wheat Sheaves or Strands Divine Harvest.
Wreath Saintliness; Glory; Victory in Death.
Wings with Crest U.S. Air Force Pilot.
Wings with Parachute & Star U.S. Army Airbourne.
Wings with Propeller U.S. Army Air Corps.
Wings with Star and Wreath U.S. Army Master Aviator.
Wings, Pilot's, with "L" in Center WW II U.S. Military Liaison Pilot.
Wreath Saintliness; Glory; Victory in Death.