When conducting on-site cemetery research, be sure to read the entire tombstone. Not everything on a tombstone is carved on the front. It is not unusual to find inscriptions on both the front and back of a stone and even on the edges. You may find the name and vital date on the face, an epitaph or poem on the back, the names of spouse, parents, children, and other information carved elsewhere. Look for initials, names, and/or the company name of the stonemason on the stone. Often the carver chiseled his initials or mark into a stone as a form of advertisement. His family may have been engaged in the stonecutting industry for generations and may have retained many or all of the familyâ€™s work or account files. You may be able to research the carver and therefore locate other records concerning the person who ordered and paid for the tombstone, its date of installation, and other data.
What have you found on the back of a tombstone? Share your story in the comments section.