Inscribed in Stone: The Life of a Community Recreated from Cemetery Headstones
Cemeteries are often overlooked as sources of historical information about the experiences of a community and its families. Yet careful analysis of gravestones can reveal changes in family patterns, religious beliefs, life expectancies, naming patterns, and ethnic make-up, as well as the impact of epidemics and wars. The details of poetic inscriptions, styles of carvings, and references to civic groups create a rich picture of the lives of the people of a community as it changes over time. This talk uses a study of a Moravian cemetery in North Carolina as an example of the historical richness of cemeteries, and presents skills that can be used to study any cemetery.