How to List Family Names on a Gravestone

Written by irving oala
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How to List Family Names on a Gravestone
Family names are often found on gravestones. (confederate tombstone image by Linda McPherson from

There is no set way to write family names on gravestones. However, there are suggested ways to write a series of names on a gravestone if a number of family members are to be buried in one tomb or if their ashes are grouped together for burial.

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  1. 1

    Sketch how you would like the names to be listed on the gravestone. The list may follow alphabetical order or birthright, depending on your family's wishes. Most often, those born first -- such as parents or grandparents -- are listed first and the children follow.

  2. 2

    Include all of the relevant information. Spell all of the names correctly, using each family member's legal surname. Add nicknames in quotes between first and last names of family members. Add the date they were each born and the date they died.

  3. 3

    Consult a stonecutter who will chisel the gravestone following your list. With her expert advice, decide on the type of stone, the size of the stone and the font to be used for the family names. Everything must be planned beforehand, as the stonecutter can only cut once.

  4. 4

    Show the blueprint for the family names to other surviving family members, along with your suggestions of stone type, size and font. Gather their opinions, and make any final changes before the stonecutter begins her work.

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