On this page you see samples of some Memorial Plaques that have been in place for years. Now, you can order from us and preserve the likeness of your departed loved one in vivid full color. This lasting, personalized tribute will be admired and cherished for generations to come.
You can order from us the same high quality porcelain plaques sold by retail monument dealers at a fraction of the cost. These high quality Italian porcelain plaques are much more durable, compared to ceramic plaques. These Porcelain Memorials can be used on any monument including granite, marble or bronze headstone, monument, mausoleum, crypt or urn.
These fine custom pieces are crafted in the USA. As with fine china, they are kiln fire at temperatures of up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit to permanently bond the image into the clear glaze of the porcelain. After firing, the image will not scratch, bleed or fade! That’s why we proudly offer a lifetime guarantee against scratching, fading or weathering. Choose from a variety of sizes and shapes: Heart, Oval, Round, Square or Rectangular.
Your beautiful porcelain plaque will be delivered to you, ready to be affixed to your loved one’s memorial marker. You can easily do a self-installation or hire any monument company to do the installation for you.
This photo portrait transfer technology guarantees permanent resistance to frost and will not fade because of sunlight. Will remain beautiful forever!
The plaque will arrive with strong slender 3M adhesive backing for easy installation, holds up in any weather. Just clean mounting area, wipe with rubbing alcohol or solvent to remove any oily residue. Wipe dry with a clean cloth. Peel the backing from the tape and, paying careful attention to placement and straightness, firmly attach the plaque to the memorial. Do NOT move or reposition once placed. It’s best to NOT install the plaque when temperatures are below freezing. The 3M adhesive is recommended for smooth surface application ONLY. If the surface is rough or has been sandblasted, you will need to use some epoxy or silicone adhesive. Full adhesion will take approximately 72 hours at best temperature 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21°C).
Type of Photo Needed
Our goal is to help you to get the best possible reproduction porcelain picture of your loved one. The color on the porcelain may not look the same as the original photograph, when the porcelain is fired in the kilm, the color can change slightly. Submit clear, high resolution, original photographs or raw data from your digital camera, at 300 dpi or greater. Do NOT scan photocopies of photos or prints made from a laser or ink-jet printer.
Please scan original photos if possible. These hold resolution better than copied photos. During scanning a window will appear. What you want to do first is select the area you want to be scanned in the preview. Then, you will resize area close to the plaque size ordered. You will also set the resolution at 300 dpi. After the scan, save the picture as a JPG file. Then email to email@example.com with your order information.
Send Photo By email
When sending a digital image make certain it has a resolution of no less than 300 dpi, the image size must be at least 4″ x 6″, must be submitted in jpeg format, and reference your order information. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Mission News Workshops
Cleaning A Cemetery
Finding Unmarked Graves
Halloween And Your Cemetery
Iron Fence Repair
Spring Clean up
The Things We Leave At Graves
What is Acceptable?
What is a Tapholphile?
What You Can Do
Death Date Added
Hard To Read Stones
Hindostan Whetstone Gravestones
Major Stone Types
On Your Gravestone It Will Say?
Veteran Grave Markers
Tips For A Successfull VA Headstone Application
White Bronze Headstones
Cleaning A Gravestone
D2 Biological Solution
Headstones vs. Chemicals
Leveling A Headstone
Lifting and Hoisting Stones
Volunteer And Learn
By Linda S. Stuhler
The Anonymous Burial Ground at Willard State Hospital formerly, The Willard Asylum for the Insane
The conditions that exist at the Willard State Hospital Cemetery are disgraceful. It is not visible from the road; it is not marked in any way as being a cemetery; and it is not well maintained. It is my understanding that the State of New York is responsible for the upkeep and care of this burial ground. There needs to be a clearly identifiable sign stating that this is the Willard State Hospital Cemetery; a safe entrance and drive way; a designated parking lot; roads within the cemetery; clear signs dividing the cemetery into groups: Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Veteran; and signs designating the section and lot numbers.
The Inmates of Willard were never asked if they wanted a headstone inscribed with their name atop their final resting place; they were buried anonymously with numbered metal markers. The exceptions were veterans who have headstones provided by the U.S. government, inscribed clearly with the deceased’s name. At some point during the 1980s or 1990s, most of the upright metal markers were replaced with flat aluminum markers or disks that were sunk in concrete poured into PVC pipe to make it easier to mow the vast cemetery lawn.
The New York State Office of Mental Health has classified the burial ledger of the Willard State Hospital as a medical record thus denying access to the people of the state. The names of the patients and the location of their graves must be made available to the public in order that they may find their ancestor, visit the grave, and purchase a headstone if they wish to do so. Currently, descendants cannot provide headstones for their ancestors or find out if an ancestor is buried on asylum property because inquiries have been denied by the Office of Mental Health.
It is disappointing that New York State and the OMH have chosen to show such disrespect for our ancestors. The people of the State of New York have a right to know where their ancestors are buried. Anonymous burials are common for state mental institutions across New York and the country. Not only is this unacceptable, it is disgraceful. The time has come to accept the mistakes of our past and turn a wrong into a right by releasing the names of the people who were buried in anonymous graves at the Willard State Hospital Cemetery; all state hospital cemeteries held by the State of New York; and all state mental institution cemeteries across America.
The broad term insanity of the nineteenth century equals the terms mental illness or psychiatric disability of the twenty-first. When I think of insanity, Hollywood imagery comes to mind. A madman clad forcibly in a stark white straight jacket, filthy, screaming at no one, walking in circles, talking to himself, and laughing in the darkness of a padded room. And there it is; the stigma that has lasted for centuries, attributed to all who had lost their minds, from the elderly with dementia to epileptics to violent and sadistic murderers. The stigma needs to end.
Mention your ancestor was an inmate at Willard and most likely the response is derogatory. Mental illness carries a stigma unlike any other because we don’t understand what it is and we cannot see the pain and debilitating effects on the body like we do with physical illness. Few hesitate to announce that an ancestor had heart disease, high cholesterol, or diabetes; not many disclose there was mental illness in the family. Why? In my opinion, three basic reasons are responsible: fear, ignorance, and intolerance. If your mother were crazy then you might be crazy too; fear of judgment as mentally unstable because a family member – past or present – suffered or is suffering from a psychiatric disability and our propensity to suffer from the disease as well. We cannot be informed on every subject, especially one as complex as mental illness. We can try to understand the plight of the Inmates of Willard with understanding, greater knowledge, and tolerance.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share with you, what I think, is an important matter. Your support is greatly appreciated; I need all the help I can get! If you have a few moments, please visit my blog and facebook cause page to learn more and get involved. Thank you again!
Linda S. Stuhler
The Inmates of Willard 1870 to 1900
Identify the 5,776 People Buried in Numbered Graves at Willard State Hospital Cemetery
November 2014 Update: Click here to read and watch video.
The above video was designed to increase volunteerism across Texas. HAM partnered with the Texas Historical Commission and the Texas Society Daughters of the American Revolution to present this video.
As said in the video “The back bone of cemetery preservation are the Volunteers”. Cemetery preservation would never happen with out volunteers. With anything you want to learn, volunteering to help you will have the benefit of learning. The same goes for cemetery preservation. Many kinds of volunteers are needed.
You may feel like because of your health you may not be able to help. However, you can do things like research. Or you could consider photographing the stones. Many cemetery managers and caretakers don’t have a collection of photos for each stone. This can be very helpful for preservation later if the stone gets damaged.
Many larger cemeteries have maintenance crews that cut the grass and weeds. However the cemetery rules say that individual families need to maintain the plots and monuments. This can put restrictions on cemetery preservation. There are cemetery associations and managers who understand after 100 years there could be no family left. I have yet to see a cemetery that didn’t need help. So it never hurts to ask about volunteering to do anything the cemetery may need.
Your community’s history is setting there in the stones of the cemetery. They tell us about the people who settled in the area and those who fought to defend it. The cemetery helps us to understand our past and connect to our own past family members. We must step up and preserve this history of our ancestors.
Cemetery preservation also relates to safety. Many children and adults get hurt each year when visiting cemeteries. A word of caution when visiting cemeteries with children, be aware that many of these gravestones can look to a child like a climbing opportunity. A toppling stone can result in injury or death. Please make sure your children stay off stones and monuments, it not only helps keep the children safe but keeps the monument in better shape.
Most people prefer to take the view of “out of sight, out of mind” when it comes to cemeteries. They can drive by a cemetery ever day on the way to work and never stop to take a look. They may have ancestors there and not even know it. If you live in the same place as some of your ancestors I’m sure you have family in your local cemetery.
You may talk to a cemetery manager or caretaker and they may need help but not have the extra funds to have any preservation work done. Each cemetery will have its own issues. I have yet to see one that didn’t need some kind of help. Before doing any work in a cemetery you must always contact the person responsible for that cemetery. Always gain permission before doing any work. Learn what the rules and regulations the cemetery may have. Some cemeteries may be on private property, so failing to contact the land owner may result in criminal or civil litigation.
Once you’ve found the cemetery you wish to volunteer at and you have gotten permission you may find that you wish to do more, and for that you need training. Across the country you will find cemetery preservation workshops. If you come to the point of wanting to fix broken stones you will want to get some kind of training. You can click here to find a list of workshops that we know about. If we don’t show any in your city then you can check with your local Historical Society or your nearest large cemetery may know of people who do this kind of work. If you can not find a workshop then at less find someone who does this kind of work and ask to volunteer with them. They can always use help and will be glad to show you how to do something to help you along your way. Please take the time to learn what you need to know so that you don’t damage the historical stones in any way. This website has pages of information to help you. If you have any questions feel free to email email@example.com.
By Dawn DuBois
We may no longer surround our dead with their worldly possessions so they may have nice things in the afterlife as the Egyptians did many years ago. Or, like the Greeks, place money in the mouth of the deceased so that they could pay Charon to ferry them across the River Styx and have a wonderful afterlife. However, these days when visiting a cemetery, you never know what you may see that people have left at a gravesite.
It’s everywhere… I’ve seen it all over the USA and in other countries as well. It is a time honored tradition that goes back centuries in some areas. Social anthropologists find it extraordinarily useful for understanding a culture and the death/burial practices in various regions of the world. Frankly, I love those personal touches… they are deeply moving and heartfelt… genuine and often quite symbolic…
Around the holidays you might see grave blankets,crosses or wreaths made from evergreens. Don’t forget to check with the cemetery for their particular rules; many cemeteries have special regulations with regards to placing flowers on gravesites.
For some people placing a stone pays tribute to the dead and leaves a mark of one’s visit. Some Jewish people believe a stone placed on the grave helps to keep the dead from haunting the living. For most of us, stones conjure a harsh image. It does not seem the appropriate memorial for one who has died. But stones have a special character in Judaism. In the Bible, an altar is no more than a pile of stones, but it is on an altar that one offers to God. The stone upon which Abraham takes his son to be sacrificed is called even hashityah, the foundation stone of the world. The most sacred shrine in Judaism, after all, is a pile of stones–the wall of the Second Temple.
In the words of the popular Israeli song, “There are men with hearts of stone, and stones with the hearts of men.”
So why place stones on the grave? The explanations vary, from the superstitious to the poignant.
The superstitious rationale for stones is that they keep the soul down. There is a belief, with roots in the Talmud, that souls continue to dwell for a while in the graves in which they are placed. The grave, called a beit olam (a permanent home), was thought to retain some aspect of the departed soul.
In earlier times one did not mark a grave with a fancy granite stone, it was covered with stones that each mourner added. This not only marked the grave but help keep animals from digging up the deceased.
Sometimes you may come across some headstones with coins left on them. These coins may have distinct meaning when left on the headstone of someone who lost their life while serving in American’s military. It not only lets the family know that someone else has visited the grave to pay respect but the meanings can vary depending on the denomination of coin. A nickel indicates that the visitor and the deceased trained at boot camp together. A dime means the visitor served with the deceased in some capacity and leaving a quarter tells the family you were with them when they got killed. At many national and state veterans cemeteries the coins are collected and use toward maintaining the cemetery. This tradition of leaving coins can be traced back as far as the Roman Empire.
In American tradition, pennies are left on Benjamin Franklin’s grave. There is a photo of his funeral in Philadelphia; his grave is adorned with pennies, no doubt placed there as a token by some of the 20,000 people that came that day to pay their respects. This custom was eventually associated with good luck and may have spread to graves in general in America. Some use pennies as a prayer token for the line “In God we trust” which appears on the American penny. Of course he is a man famous for the line, “A penny saved, is a penny earned,”.
Some are, perhaps unwittingly, mimicking the ancient tradition where gold coins were buried with the corpse in order to pay the toll charged by Charon, the boatman of the Underworld, for passage to the other side of the river Styx. It was considered impious not to leave this toll with the dead, as it would condemn them to forever wander the shores without cease.
Some believe that to leave a coin on a grave brings good luck. Students in some areas are known to leave pennies on the graves of their school’s founder in the hopes of good luck with exams.
In America we mark our veterans gravesites with the America flag and many National cemetery across the country have volunteers place wreaths on the graves at holiday time. Have you ever seen ladies wearing red poppies on Memorial Day or an increase in red poppies on graves at certain times of the year? If you have, that may be because red poppies are a symbol for our soldiers, particularly on Memorial Day. In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem:
She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms.Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries.
Whatever one chooses to leave behind in remembrance of a passed loved one; it most certainly holds some sort of personal meaning. Respecting what others leave on graves is very important. What may seem gaudy or ugly to you, may have very deep meaning to the person who left it.
Of course, you should always respect the individual cemeteries rules. Some things are not allowed in certain areas, and it is always a shame when someone leaves something, only to find out later it has been removed for violation of a rule.
In the early 1800′s stone from the Hindostan Whetstone beds of Orange County Indiana became the first commercial tombstone in Indiana. This was a vast improvement over fieldstone and wood markers. They are composed of thick and thin layers of river silt deposits and are commonly known for sharpening tools. The number of layers seen on a headstone has been as few as nine and as many as 32 within the space of less then three inches.
At the lower right of the inscriptions you may find the headstone signed by the engraver or dealer. The lettering used on the headstones are similar to fonts used by newspapers and books prior to the pre-Civil War era. The stone layers are prone to splitting and flaking away over time.
Transported from the quarries in ox drawn wagons to the White river and then placed on barges. Many stones where taken to New Orleans and then shipped overseas. The last quarry closed in 1980, with the railroad lines opened up Indiana to white marble from other states. The Indiana limestone industry began to produce gravestones.
You can identify a Hindostan Whetstone Marker by three physical features. First they are mush more weather resistant than limestone or marble, so the inscriptions can be very clear and easy to read. The color is often tan with off white, buff, light brown and rust streaked. Once you have seen one you will be able to easily spot more. Most vital is the layers show a progressive overall pattern of thickening and thinning. A thick-thin pair is referred to as a “couplet”. You can view these on the top or side of the monument.
In Southwestern Indiana and Pope County, Ill many Whetstone headstones have been identified in pioneer cemeteries. Some have been found near the Wabash River along the lower Ohio and Mississipi rivers because of the rivers being used for transporting the stone. The Indiana Geological Survey at Indiana University is recording the locations of ever stone found. If you encounter a monument that you believe may be made from Whetstone they ask that you send in or email your photos of the face and of the edge. The contact information is IGS 611 N Walnut Grove Bloomington IN 47405 or email Dr. Richard Powell at firstname.lastname@example.org
See more photos at this Findagrave.com link
A properly maintained cemetery discourages vandalism and is pleasant to visit. It should be maintained out of respect for those who are buried. Choices for the ongoing maintenance depend upon the budget for the cemetery. If the cemetery has no income, volunteers may be doing the only maintenance or it has been abandon with no one to care for it.
Keeping the grass mowed and the weeds under control can be very costly for the cemetery. They may have employees or contract the work out to a landscaping company who may just simply cut the grass on a specified schedule. Many city cemeteries have maintenance done by the city maintenance crew. Whoever is reasonable for the mowing and other grounds work needs to train the crews to respect the headstones and markers in the cemetery. Safety issues are to be a priority! The crew will be faced with a unique set of challenges you may not face when simply mowing your own lawn.
Careless mowing can harm marble and granite headstones. You just don’t want a 100-year-old stone to be broken by a careless act of a crewmember. Without proper training, supervision and follow through, ground maintenance can be very damaging to the stones.
Make sure the crew is using the right equipment. All mowers used in the cemetery should have discharged guards to protect the gravestones from thrown debris. Project the discharge guard away from the headstones while mowing, as mowers can throw rocks a great distance and they can chip a headstone. The mower should have bumpers on all the features on the mower that might come in contact with a stone. It should be made clear to workers that mowing equipment should never make contact with the stones, but having bumpers will help incase it happens. Bumpers can be fabricated out of old inner tubes or tires. Make sure everything is firmly attached and do checks before using the equipment.
When mowing try to stay at less 12 inches from the headstones, that area can be trimmed with a trimmer using line that measures no more then .09″ in diameter. The heavier the line the more damage it can do to a headstone. The work must be precise because a stone can show the damage from trimmers being used to close to the stone. Many times the maintenance crew feels they need to work fast to get the job done; this also can lead to carelessness. Rather that mow around a footstone or flat marker, the crew may simply mow over it. This can make scratches on stone or bronze markers with each mowing.
The crew should report any damages to the cemetery management, however this may not happen. The cemetery should be inspected by management for any signs of carelessness. It’s also an opportunity to carefully inspect overall landscape conditions and evaluate possible problems like the sinking of new graves. The crew may failure to report or correct the problem reflects poorly on the cemetery and poses a significant public hazard. There should be a process for delaying maintenance in the event of a funeral or burial.
Do not use herbicides to control the weeds, as many obtain salts that are acidic and will cause severe harm to limestone and marble. Even granite can be affected over time. It causes deterioration of the stones and destruction of groundcover will result in erosion around the base of the stone and make depressions that will collect water and cause even more damage. Also the dead grass distracts from the beauty of the landscape.
Cemetery maintenance is much more then mowing and weed control but everything comes with a cost. So many things like trash collection, planting, seeding, fertilizing, raking, mulching, watering, pruning, tree care & removal, fire ants & other pest, pathways, drives, parking areas, irrigation systems and many other services related to the grounds can take a great deal of money. This all leaves little time or money for headstone raising, resetting, aligning, cleaning or any repairs. There for many cemeteries make it a rule that family must maintain the headstones. They see it as the family’s private property no matter what happens to it.
God saw you getting tired and a cure was not to be, so He put His arms around you and whispered, “Come To Me” With tearful eyes we watched you and saw you fading away, and though we loved you dearly, we could not make you stay. A golden heart stopped beating, hard working hands at rest, and although our hearts were broken we knew God Knows Best ….. Author Unknown
The funeral poem above has been placed upon a one of a kind monument in Frankfort KY Cemetery. You can’t help but spot it when you are now leaving the cemetery and I could not help but wonder whom this young man was. Russell “Dale” Stephenson, 21 years old was a son, brother, fiance and someone whose life was taken away at a young age. It seems so unfair his life being cut short by an illness. We as humans find it especially hard to accept death when it’s “premature” and the person had so many things that they did not get to do in life. It’s only when the deceased is much older that we allow ourselves the peaceful feeling that they had a complete life. My heart hurts for his family and friends. RIP Dale!
By Dawn Richardson
I would like to tell you a little about a wonderful man. His name was Lance Richardson. All his life Lance loved cemeteries and was intrigued with Archaeology. As soon as he was old enough, he got a job and worked while he was in high school. As soon as he graduated from high school he went to college, all the while working a full time job. He graduated from college with Bachelors in liberal arts. This was not good enough for him though. He wanted to be an Archaeologist. He decided to go back to school to get his Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. This was not easy. He had to work full time while in school and pay for everything himself. He got a job working for the University of Alabama as an Archaeologist. He worked there for over 12 years. Some people have a bad sense of what they do though. They think of Indiana Jones but it is not really like that. He had to take a second job that he worked at for around 10 years to make ends meet. He worked two jobs for as long as I know.
When I met Lance I felt that I had met a kindred spirit. His passion for cemeteries rubbed off on me very quickly. On the rare times that he had time away from working both jobs, we would visit cemeteries, taking photos, and just walk through looking at the beauty that was contained in them. We talked of getting books published to share that beauty. While we were there we would upright flowers that had been turned over, clear back weeds, and generally show respect to those who were buried there. He always marveled at the big, beautiful headstones and statues. He adored them. Lance shared a lot of his photos with his friends on Facebook. He was proud to talk about them. He was always eager to talk with anyone who shared his love of cemeteries. He made many wonderful friends in the taphophile community. His passion shown through just in his comments of others pictures and the way he would talk about cemeteries.
I lost Lance on August 3, 2012. He was on an archaeological survey in Clarke county Alabama. I still do not know how he passed. We are still awaiting the autopsy report. It was a truly shocking event to many. He left behind me, his wife Dawn, 1 son and 2 daughters. He also left behind many, many dear friends and many of them have helped by giving to a fund for his headstone. More funds are needed and any help you can give is very appreciated. Here is the link to the fund https://www.pleasefund.com/pages/6432
Grave Blankets provide a beautiful decoration during winter weather. Grave blankets also referred to as cemetery blankets can be made to cover all of the grave site traditionally made of evergreens, such as pine. Along with baby’s breath, flowers, ribbons and bows. Small ones may be referred to as grave pillows. Before making or ordering a grave blanket be sure the cemetery allows this type of grave decoration.
An American tradition, grave blankets are most common in Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois and New York. Most popular are Holiday grave blankets however they are also used for Mother’s day, birthdays and the anniversary of the person’s death.
Other decorations are made from evergreens like crosses and wreaths. Wreaths Across America coordinates wreath laying ceremonies across the country to get wreaths on the graves of our military at National Cemeteries by using thousands of volunteers. They receive no government funds, Individual sponsors pay the cost of the programs.