When going into cemeteries, please respect the rules of each one. Most will request you to leave at sunset, and some have a set time for you to leave. In many States you will be charged with trespassing without the consent of the owner, proprietor or custodian, to enter at night. Please respect the laws.


Most people go into cemeteries not knowing what the meaning of the art on the headstones mean. Here is a list of their meanings, and initials of Fraternal Organizations that you will find. 


When doing research you will find initials you may come across when reading old wills or other documents. A list of some of these initials are also be included.


Initials and Cemeteries

Initials for old wills and documents

a.a.s. - died in the year of his/her age (anno aetitis suae) AE - An abbreviation for Aetatis, or years of life d.s.p. - died without issue (decessit sine prole legitima) d.s.p.l. -died without legitimate issue (decessit sine prole mascula supersita) d.s.p.m.s. -died without surviving male issue...

Initials of Fraternal Organizations

FRATERNAL ACRONYMS:   AAONMS - Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (Masonic) ("The Shriners") AASR - Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite (Masonic) ABA - American Benefit Association AF&AM - Ancient Free and Accepted Masons AMD - Allied Masonic Degree AMORC - Ancient and...

Cemetery Art

 Animals   Birds–eternal life, resurrection Butterfly–short life Deer- Hart (stag) - represented either faithfulness, thirsting for God Dog–good master worthy of love Dolphin - portrays resurrection Dove–innocence, peace Dragon - being defeated by St. George depicts triumph over sin Eagle...