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Tombstone Insignia & Inscriptions
Waukesha County Wisconsin Genealogy

Common Foreign Words Found on Tombstones

Many of these words have variations to them, which mean the same thing. Each list below belongs to the same language.

EnglishBohemianBoh. dialectGermanFrenchWelsh
BornNarNarozenGeborenNe(e)-
DiedUmZemrelGestorbenDecede(e)-
FatherOtekOjciecVaterPere-
MotherMatkaMatkaMutterMere-
WifeZenaZonaGattin or FrauEpouse-
DaughterDcera---TochterFille-
SonSyn---SohnFils-
OurNas---Unser, UnsereNotre, Nos-
ThisTen---Den or d.----
Here RestsZde Odpociva---Hier RuhetIci Repose-
YearRokuRokuJahreAnnee-
JanuaryLedenStyczenJanuaryJanvierIonawr
FebruaryUnorLutyFebruaryFevrierChwefror (Chwefrol)
MarchBrezenMarzecMarz or MaerzMarsMawrth
AprilDubenKwiecienAprilAvrilEbrill
MayKvetenMajaMaiMaiMai
JuneCervenCzerwiecJuniJuinMehefin
JulyCervenecLipiecJuliJuilletGorffennaf
AugustSrpenSierpienAugustAoutAwst
SeptemberZariWrzesienSeptemberSeptembreMedi
OctoberRijenPazdzernikOktoberOctobre-
NovemberListopadListopadNovemberNovembreTachwedd
DecemberProsinecGrudzienDezemberDecembreRhagfyr

Basic genealogical vocabulary

EnglishGermanCzech
birthGeburtnarozeni
borngeboren, geb.narozeny(a), rozeny(a)
(il)legitimate(un)ehelichnemanzelsky(a)
baptismTaufekrest, krtiny
baptizedgetauft, get.pokrteny(a)
marriageHeirat, Hochzeit

Trauung,Vermählung

svatba, oddavky
marryheiraten, trauen,

verheiraten, verh.,

vermählen, verm.

vdat se, oddavat,

byli oddani

deathTodumrti, smrt
diedgestorben, gest.zemrel(a)
burialBeerdigung, Begräbnispohreb
buriedbeerdigt, begrabenpohrbeny(a)
cemetaryFriedhofhrbitov
father, motherVater, Mutterotec, matka
parentsElternrodice
husbandMann, Ehemann, Gattemanzel, muz
wifeFrau, Ehefrau, Gattinmanzelka, zena
married coupleEhepaarmanzele
sonSohn (Söhnlein)syn (synek, synacek)
daughterTochter (Töchterlein)dcera (dcerka)
childKinddite
male, femalemännlich, weiblichmuzsky, zensky
sister, brotherSchwester, Brudersestra, bratr
siblingsGeschwistersourozenci
uncle, auntOnkel, Tantestryc, teta
(great-)grandfather(Ur)grossvater(pra)ded
grandsonEnkelvnuk
granddaughterEnkelinvnucka
grandchildEnkelkindvnuk ,vnuci, vnouckove
niece, nephewNichte, Neffesynovec, neter
godparent(Tauf)pate, Taufzeugekmotr(a)
day of the weekWochentagden v tydnu
SundaySonntagnedele
MondayMontagpondeli
TuesdayDienstagutery
WednesdayMittwochstreda
ThursdayDonnerstagctvrtek
FridayFreitagpatek
SaturdaySamstag (Sonnabend)sobota
monthMonatmesic
JanuaryJanuar (Jänner)leden
FebruaryFebruar (Feber)unor
MarchMärzbrezen
AprilAprilduben
MayMaikveten
JuneJunicerven
JulyJulicervenec
AugustAugustsrpen
SeptemberSeptemberzari
OctoberOktoberrijen
NovemberNovemberlistopad
DecemberDezemberprosinec
yearJahrrok
dateDatumdatum
parishPfarrei, Prarrbezirk,

Pfarrsprengel

fara, farnost, farni
parsonPfarrerfarar
churchKirchekostel
parish bookKirchenbuch, Matrikmatrika
placeOrtmisto
residenceWohnortbydliste
houseHausdum
numberNummer, Nr. No.cislo, c.
villageDorfvesnice
communityGemeinde----
cityStadtmesto
countyKreisokres
stateStaat, Landzeme
kingdomKönigreichkralovstvi

Example Birth Records


Zapis narozeni Josefa Neumana
jmeno:           Josef Neumann
narozen:         20.11.1814
misto narozeni:  Blazim c. domu 163
otec:            Jan Neumann, tesar
matka:           Tereza Boehmova z Chomutova
kmotri:          Antonin Gebauer, mestan
                 Barbora manzelka jeho
Matrika rimskokatolickeho farniho uradu Blazim,
svazek 5 z let 1804-1828, strana 107.

Birth record of Josef Neumann
name:           Josef Neumann
born:           November 20th 1814
place of birth: Ploscha, house number 163
father:         Johann Neumann, carpenter
mother:         Theresia Boehm from Komotau
godparents:     Anton Gebauer, citizen
                Barbara, his wife
Parish book of the roman-catholic parish of Ploscha,
volume 5, for the years 1804-1828, page 107.

Modern Woodmen of America

Condensed from the Spring 2002 issue of the Modern Woodmen Magazine. Submitted by Joan, Adams and Marquette Co. Coordinator

Many of us have found Modern Woodmen mentioned in an obituary or have found "MWA" on a tombstone.

Modern Woodmen of America life insurance records are available to help verify information and can help you continue in the right direction on your family research. Now, you can contact the MWA corporate librarian to check death benefit claim records 1884 - 1946 via e-mail: glevis@modern-woodmen.org

Include your ancestor's name, date of death and place of residence if known, as well as your full contact information.

Death benefit claim records are a secondary source and typically provide the following: *Name of Insured
*Date of Certificate
*MWA Camp Number and Location
*Date of Death
*Cause of Death
*Occupation

Requests for information for deaths after 1946 may or may not be released, and will be reviewed to protect confidentiality of the living family members. Requests are answered in the order they are received and there is no fee for this service.

Understanding the Art and Symbols on Tombstones

There is nothing like a visit to an cemetery to make you feel close to an ancestor. You are walking the very ground where they were buried and where they may have walked once long ago and visited loved ones. Tombstone can be plain or they can be decorated with art and symbols and wording that have meaning you might not fully appreciate. Some examples of words or letters you might find engraved include:

"B.P.O.E." means Benevolent Protective Order of Elks
"F.L.T." with each letter in a link of a chain means Friendship, Love and
Truth
(see "I.O.O.F.")
"F.O.E." Means Fraternal Order of Eagles
"G.A.R." means Grand Army of the Republic. It was an organization of Civil
War
Union Army veterans.
"I.O.O.F." means International Order of Odd Fellows (see "F.L.T.").
"V.D.M." means "verbi Dei minister" (Minister of the Word of God).
"W.O.W." means "Woodmen of the World". Upright tree stump markers are typical of the fraternity.

"Relect" carved on a woman's headstone means she died a widow. "Consort" means 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.

by professional genealogist Sharon DeBartolo Carmack


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PLEASE NOTE: I am not affiliated with any of the cemeteries or organizations listed on these pages. I am happy to answer general questions, but would not have more specific information other than what you see listed without doing additional research. If you need help with your research, please see the lookup page for a list of volunteers and paid services that can help.

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Brookfield, WI 53008-1172
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