Tombstone Tuesday: Do People Place Stones Before They’ve Died?

Tombstone Found in Green Lawn Cemetery

I’ve come across several stones that have only one date on them. I’ve often thought that perhaps these stones are children who died on the day they were born. But now, I’m not so sure. The date on this stone, Jan 29, 1912, could be a birth date and the death date hasn’t been inscribed yet. Additionally, this person could still be alive. If that’s the case, my question is, do people really have their stones placed before they are buried?

I find that fascinating. That would be like looking at my own memorial before I’ve died. Again, I’m fascinated by this.

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

5 thoughts on “Tombstone Tuesday: Do People Place Stones Before They’ve Died?

  1. Yes, this is a thing! At least in my family we do it. My grandfather is still alive, but his name and birth date are already on the stone he will be sharing with his deceased family members. We also have another living family member whose name has been inscribed. I found a Find a Grave entry for her, and sent a note to say she was still alive and kicking. 🙂

  2. I laid my mother to rest today and I full understand the reasoning to inscribe a stone while alive and 'wait' for the date. To plan ahead like that tells me something about the person who placed that stone. They want things planned ahead of time so that the living have one less thing to worry about.

  3. Just this past summer my husband and I purchased our final resting place. Next to us my mother purchased hers, then the next two were purchased by my sisters; and yes, they have been inscribed. It doesn't bother me to see my name. I think all the years of researching my ancestors has put this whole death scene into an acceptable and comfortable perspective.

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