Planning A Beautiful Service

Researching Your Family Genealogy? Don’t Overlook Family Graveyards And Community Cemetaries

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Gravestones and cemetery records can offer you a wealth of information about your family tree that may not be available anywhere else. If you’re starting the genealogical research into your family, learn why making a few trips to small family graveyards and rural community cemeteries could be well worth your time. You can get rid of basic gaps in your records. There are a lot of details about families that never made it into official records—births and deaths often occurred at home, with the only “official’ record being the family Bible, particularly if your ancestors lived in areas that were rural at the time. Even if there was a courthouse keeping track of births or deaths at the time, the official records may have long been lost or destroyed, leaving you with frustrating gaps and a lot of guesses about the information in your records. Did your great-grandmother really have 16 children? Did your paternal grandfather and all of his siblings really live to be over a hundred years of age? Family and community graveyards can help fill in those gaps. Gravestone inscriptions often include valuable basics, like full names, including middle names and maiden names that can help you with your research. They also usually include the exact dates of birth and death, which can help you turn family legends into facts. Many gravestones also include epitaphs that indicate the relationship of the deceased to others. Engravings like “Beloved Wife” or “Father and Husband” can help you trace relationships with accuracy. You can find out more about the lives of your ancestors. Gravestone inscriptions also provide genealogy researchers with a wealth of additional information, just through their symbolism. There are numerous books and websites devoted to explaining the meaning of both common and uncommon gravestone engravings. Look for symbols that indicate military service, occupation, religion, or something significant about that person’s life or death. While this is by no means a definitive list, some common symbols you can expect to see include crosses, triangles, or triquetras, which usually indicate a strong Christian faith and the possible affiliation with a church the square and compass, three links of chain, or an eye enclosed inside of a pyramid, indicating that the deceased belonged to a fraternal organization like the Masons or Odd Fellows a sword indicating cavalry service, an anchor indicating that someone was a seaman, and guns for a foot soldier Symbols like these can help you broaden your research and point you in the direction of new sources. For example, knowing that someone was religious might help you track down church records that tell a little more of your family history. Military records and fraternal order records may become other valuable sources of information as well. Because of the complexity of the symbolism and the multitude of possible meanings, it’s advisable to take photographs of the gravestones your find and their inscriptions or artwork. That way, you can take the images home and can continue to research their possible meanings and the rich clues they provide....

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How You Can Turn Your Loved One’s Ashes Into A Masterpiece

Posted by on 3:16 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How You Can Turn Your Loved One’s Ashes Into A Masterpiece

Honoring and remembering the life of a deceased loved one can be one of the best ways to heal your grief. For many people, however, it is hard to honor and remember their loved while standing over a grave in a cemetery because all there is to remind them is a grave marker and an engraved name. A cemetery brings to mind coldness, fear and the memory of your loved one’s casket being lowered into the ground. Cemetery burials produce memories for some people that are too horrendous and harsh, a memory that many people try to forget. For this reason, learning more about how to have your loved one’s remains at home with you in unique way is a good idea. A Painted Portrait Of Your Deceased Loved One You may have several photographs and videos of your deceased loved one, but having a painted portrait hanging above their urn can be special. The painted portrait can be even more special when the ashes of your loved one are mixed into the paint used to create the portrait. If this sounds like an option for your loved one’s ashes for you, you should know that only a small amount of the ashes are mixed into the paint. The remaining ashes you can store in a beautiful urn underneath the area where the portrait will hang. You might consider choosing an urn that will match the colors or styles of your deceased loved one’s portrait, providing a decorative memorial for your loved one in your home where there are no bad memories of a cemetery burial. A Portrait Can Be A Therapeutic Conversation Piece When family and friends visit your home that knew your deceased loved one, you and them can reflect on that person more easily when he or she is painted in a large portrait. Knowing a part of that person is in the paint makes it special and more endearing, giving you a topic to discuss about your loved one that can ease open the conversation about that person. This can be especially helpful for family or friends having a hard time dealing with the loss of that person. Talking about the good memories of that person is the first step to healing grief. When you lose someone you love and that person is placed in a grave at a cemetery, he or she is gone. When you can have a physical part of that person at home, it makes it easier to grieve over your loss, especially when the remains are in painted portrait of that person. Contact a business, such as the American Cremation Society, for more...

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Dust To Dust: 4 Special Ways To Care For Your Loved One’s Ashes

Posted by on 10:19 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Dust To Dust: 4 Special Ways To Care For Your Loved One’s Ashes

If your loved one has recently passed away and they wanted to be cremated, you might be left wondering how to honor their memory. It’s nice to know that there are many beautiful and unique ways to preserve ashes in a dignified and loving manner. If you don’t want to scatter your loved one’s ashes, you don’t have to. Here are several special ways you can honor your loved one and hold on to their ashes. Up from the Ashes If your loved one was happiest when they were outside communing with nature, there’s no better way to honor them than by making them a part of the nature they loved so much. Biodegradable urns can be made out of your loved one’s ashes. Once the urns are created, seeds are placed in them. You’ll enjoy the beauty of nature as a beautiful tree rises up from your loved one’s ashes. Keep Them Nearby If you’re going to miss the closeness of your loved one, perhaps you should consider a teddy bear urn. These cuddly urns are soft like ordinary teddy bears but inside they contain a hidden urn that will keep your loved one’s ashes safe and secure. This is also a touching way to remember a child who has passed away. Diamonds are Forever You might not realize this, but your loved one’s ashes can be used to create beautiful synthetic diamonds. Your loved one’s ashes can be carefully collected and used to process a beautiful gem that will last forever. Because each person’s ashes are different, so are the diamonds that are created using this process. You can have one single diamond created, or you can have several created to share with loved ones. Time to Remember If you want a lasting way to remember the time you spent with your loved one, consider placing their ashes in a keepsake hourglass. You can have the hourglass custom designed to your specifications. Once the hourglass is completed, it can be filled with your loved one’s ashes. You’ll remember all of the precious moments you spent together each time you look at your hourglass. Losing a loved one is never easy. If your loved one wished to be cremated, you may want to find the perfect way to preserve their ashes. The suggestions provided above will allow you to remember your loved one in a truly unique and personal way. Work with a cremation service for more...

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Benefits Of Pre-Planning Your Funeral

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Pre-planning your own funeral is something that’s being talked about more and more often. There are a few major benefits to taking your funeral arrangements into your own hands.  Relieve Your Grieving Family of the Burden Pre-planning your funeral may bring up some uncomfortable emotions, but it helps to alleviate the discomfort of your family in the long run. Planning a funeral while mourning a death can be heart-wrenching; by planning your funeral ahead of time, you can save your family this burden and allow them to focus on grieving.  Funeral How You Want It You could look at your funeral as the last gathering you’ll ever get to throw, and by planning it yourself, you can make sure that it’s exactly how you would have wanted it.  This also helps to take the pressure off of your family, as well. While they may agonize over trying to decide how you would have wanted your funeral service to go, you can help them out by explicitly laying out the details for your own ceremony.  Getting Value Planning your own funeral can help to save money for several reasons. First, it helps to avoid emotional overspending. Your family may decide to splurge on things your funeral doesn’t need, and choose the best quality of everything offered, because they would feel guilty about choosing a budget option for their loved one’s funeral. By picking the budget yourself, you can help them to avoid making too many purchases.  There’s often a time crunch that comes with many funerals, as well. Your family won’t have a lot of time to look for the best deals if they need to plan a funeral with only a few days’ notice. They may simply opt for the most convenient options, while you have more time to shop around and find the right pricing.  The final component is mental and emotional fatigue. Your family may not have a lot of energy left to make good financial decisions when they are mourning the loss of a loved one. By planning the funeral ahead of time, you can have clear focus to decide what’s needed and the best, most cost-effective way of doing things.  If you are interested in getting started with pre-planning your own funeral, then locate a funeral home near you to begin the arrangements. A funeral director can walk you through the steps of planning and financing your funeral as well as communicating your wishes to your family at the right...

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Helpful Tips for Saving Money When You Are Arranging a Funeral

Posted by on 8:25 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Helpful Tips for Saving Money When You Are Arranging a Funeral

If you are getting ready to start arranging a funeral, you might find that you are starting to wonder what everything is going to cost and if it will be affordable with the budget that you have. To help save money, you need to take a look at the following tips. Limit the Number of Viewing Days While it would be nice to have as many days of viewing as possible, you will want to remember that you have to pay for each day you reserve one of the rooms in the funeral home for the viewing. In order to help cut down on the cost of everything, you may want to opt for a single day of viewing. This way, everyone will still be given their chance to pay their respects, but you will not have to pay extra money for the additional days. Choose Cremation over Burial Even if burial is something that first comes to mind, you might want to consider the option of a cremation instead. Cremation can cut back on the cost of the entire funeral expense. You will not have to purchase an expensive casket, burial plot, or headstone. You will also not have to worry about the expense of the services used to have the burial plot dug up and then recovered with soil. You can still have a very nice viewing for your loved ones. Simply ask the funeral director about the option of a casket rental. This way, you can have one to use for the viewing but will not have to pay to purchase it, since caskets are not used in the process of cremation. Pick the Headstone or Urn Later You are already going to have a lot that is going to need to be paid for right away. However, if you are opting for a burial, the headstone might be able to wait until later if the cemetery does not require all graves to have them right away. If you are opting for a cremation, you can keep the ashes in the box that they come in when the funeral director has you pick them up. In both cases, you are giving yourself time to save more money and to hopefully find a better deal on prices. By not having to rush to buy a headstone or urn now, you will have a better shot at finding discounted headstones or urns that will be much more affordable for you. Now that you are ready to save money on this process, you can get ahold of the funeral director of a funeral home such as Sosebee Funeral Home and start making the formal...

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3 Religions. 3 Funerals. 3 Different Takes On Flower Etiquette

Posted by on 7:58 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Religions. 3 Funerals. 3 Different Takes On Flower Etiquette

If you’ve been tasked with choosing the flowers for a funeral arrangement of a religious friend, and you know absolutely nothing about flowers or their religion, don’t panic. This article will help you out. One way you could go about the task is to simply call up the funeral home and order an arrangement. The problem with doing that is that the florist might provide you with flowers that are not appropriate for the deceased’s religion. Different religions have different etiquette when it comes to funeral flowers and not all florists understand the differences. With that said, here are the appropriate flowers (or lack thereof) for three religions: Judaism, Catholicism, and Buddhism. Jewish Funeral—No Flowers In Judaism, it is not appropriate to send flowers. Flowers are viewed as celebratory, and when one is at the funeral, or sitting shiva, it is not a time to celebrate. Other religions view the funeral as a time to mourn and also celebrate the persons life, whereas in Judaism the ceremony is strictly for morning. One common alternative to flowers is a Tzedakah, which is a donation made to a charity in the deceased honor. A card mentioning this can be brought to the funeral home or the family home during shiva. Catholic Funeral—Lilies and Roses Flowers are a big part of Catholic funerals. However, not all flowers are acceptable. The flowers should be restrained and not too showy. They should be somber and a reminder of the persons passing on to the next life. There are two perfect flowers for this occasion: lilies and roses. Lilies are perhaps the most famous of all funeral flowers. If you ever think that a place has a funeral parlor smell, you’re probably smelling lilies. They are ubiquitous in funeral parlors, so you will unconsciously associate the smell. They are perfect because they are delicate, not too showy, and beautiful. While lilies come in many colors, the best color for a Catholic funeral is white. The color white reminds mourners of the purity of the soul and a return to peace. Roses are another great flower. They are elegant and symbolic of love. While you might see red roses, you should play it safe and choose yellow or white. Avoid orange or spotted roses. An arrangement of roses in an elegant vase would be perfect. Buddhist Funeral—Chrysanthemums Flowers are acceptable for a Buddhist funeral, but they must be white. Any other color is not acceptable. While there are lots of white flowers to choose from, you should stick with white chrysanthemums. The mums can be arranged in a standing design or in a vase. You should only choose white flowers. If you cannot find mums, then white lilies can be substituted. Do not opt for different color mums, and definitely stay away from red flowers. Red is the color of celebrations (prominent at weddings), so it has no place at a funeral. Keep this information in mind next time you attend or help to plan a funeral...

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Tips For Creating The Best Funeral Program For Your Loved One

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If you have been asked to create the funeral program for your loved one, this can be a difficult task. This is especially true if you were not given much notice, which is often the case with a funeral. Below are some tips to help make this job much easier for you. Use Templates to Create the Funeral Program Instead of creating and designing the template on your own, you can use free program templates to give you a good place to start. You may have a hard time finding quality templates online, however. Because of this, many funeral homes have their own templates that you can use. Ask the funeral director about this. They may even offer to create the funeral program for you, if you prefer. Choose a Good Cover Photo One of the most important things you can do to honor your loved one is to choose a good cover photo of them. Do not use a photo taken from someone’s smartphone or camera, but instead use a professional photo from a photo studio if possible. You may want to consider choosing a photo that shows your loved one above the shoulders. If you do not have a professional photo available, make sure the photograph you do choose is clear and focuses on your loved one. The photograph should have minimal distractions. For example, you do not want other people standing in the background, or have anything that is distracting in the background. Add Additional Photos Once you have the cover photo, you can choose more relaxed photos for inside the program. Add a photo of the deceased having fun with their kids or while enjoying a favorite activity. You could create a photo collage to turn the funeral program into something that can be a keepsake for your family and friends. How many photos you use depends on how many pages the funeral program is. For example, if it is only a few pages, you should only use one additional photograph. You do not want to have too many as it will be too distracting to the readers. Use Only High Quality Paper The paper you use for the funeral program needs to be high quality. This means the paper should be thick and not flimsy. When shopping for the paper, you will see the thickness listed as weight so the higher the weight number, the thicker the paper is.  You also want to consider other things about the paper, such as the texture, finish, and brightness. The printer that you use to print the funeral programs can help you choose the best paper. Ask your family members to help you create the funeral program to take some of the stress off of you. Funeral homes, such as Morris Nilsen Funeral Chapel, can provide more...

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Essential Components Of An Obituary Program

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Saying goodbye after the death of a loved one is among the most painful experiences of life, yet it’s also a time when some practical decisions must be made. Whether you’re making the decisions on behalf of the bereaved or are currently dealing with grief head-on, these essential components to an obituary program will simplify the process to help you easily figure out the best ways to honor your loved one. Program Cover An obituary program for a funeral or cremation service should include a photograph of the deceased along with a simple statement. Most people choose “In Loving Memory of” above the photograph, with the person’s name beneath it. A tasteful background image, such as a rainbow or other symbolic stationary image, may be included on the cover. Alternately, a plain white background, or one in the person’s favorite color may be included. Obituary Page The deceased’s obituary should be included in the program. Some people choose to have this first or last, but it is an essential part. The obituary in the program can be the same one that appeared in the newspaper or the funeral service website, or it can be a longer, unique one for the program. Those who are closest to the deceased should make the call on what sort of obituary to include. Order of Services An essential part of an obituary program is the order of services for the funeral, memorial service, or cremation ceremony. Aside from the prelude, the rest of the services typically happen in any order the organizer chooses to plan them. There are no hard and fast rules, so more things may be added, and not every funeral includes all these services. In any order, the written plan for services typically includes the following: Prelude Begins – Music is often played as people enter the chapel or area that’s set aside for the service. Pallbearers Are Seated – With a funeral, those who will be carrying the coffin are often seated in their own section after the funeral has begun. Other Participants Enter – A pastor and/or other speakers enter at this point. Prelude Stops – The prelude concludes as music stops. Prayers, Quotes, and Other Thoughts – Certain prayers or other words of wisdom that meant a lot to the deceased are typically read. Spoken Obituary/Eulogy – Someone who was close to the deceased typically talks about their life story. Sharing – Others who want to speak up about the deceased may be invited to do so. Music – Whether playing some recordings or featuring live singers, music is often an important part of the service. Postlude – The ceremony often concludes with a postlude. Music may be playing during this as people make an exit. If a funeral is held, the casket is often taken out at this time. Back of Program The back of the program can be left blank, or you may include one last image of the deceased. Traditionally, the back image will be a recent photograph of the one who has passed away. It can be the most recent family photograph or a head shot. Finally, simply including these necessary parts of an obituary program will ensure that you honor the memory of the deceased without adding stress to an already difficult...

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Three Times You Should Post On A Funeral Home’s Website

Posted by on 10:23 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Times You Should Post On A Funeral Home’s Website

To better serve their clients, many funeral homes have interactive websites that provide information about their services, contact information, maps, directions and obituaries and calling hours for the deceased. Some even feature memorial pages and guest books and invite visitors to offer condolences or share memories online. Whether you plan to attend the funeral, can’t attend or if you only found out after the funeral that the person passed away, here are three times you should post to the funeral home’s online guestbook. 1. If you didn’t know the family Even if you considered yourself a close friend or co-worker to the deceased, you may not have known anything about his or her family. You may have  worked with the person for eight hours per day for years, shared jokes, ate lunch together and gone through both stressful and happy events with each other. The funeral home guest book is a wonderful opportunity to express to the family how much the person meant to you. The family may know very little about the deceased’s work life, especially if the person lived far away from them. A post from someone who shared every day with their loved one can be very comforting and also lets them know something about their life. Even if you don’t know the family, it’s important for them to read these memories and how their loved one brought happiness, friendship or support to others. 2. If you knew the deceased long ago, but lost touch Losing touch with people that you were once close to happens to almost everyone, but it doesn’t mean their death doesn’t affect you or that you don’t feel a loss. Not only will family members understand, but they will probably be deeply touched to read a memory or expression of grief from a long-lost friend, neighbor, a fellow student, former teacher or co-worker. Simply mentioning how you knew them, however briefly, or sharing a short story shows that the deceased had an impact on your life, which is very comforting to the person’s survivors. 3. When you can’t make it to the wake or funeral If distance, finances or other commitments keep you from attending the wake or funeral in person, the posts on the memorial wall or guest book can provide a permanent remembrance for the family, just like the paper guest book at the funeral home. Unlike the paper guest book, the online version gives you the opportunity to express condolences and include a few words about what the deceased meant to you.     Posting on a funeral home’s website can be therapeutic for visitors and a source of comfort to a grieving family. You can still attend in person if you are able, or you can include longer or more personal stories in a handwritten note or card. If you don’t know the family’s address, contact the funeral home for guidance. The staff understands how important cards and expressions of sympathy are to the grieving process, so most funeral homes accept cards or even emails and forward them to the...

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An Alternative Eco-Friendly Cremation Option

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Although cremation is typically a less expensive option than a traditional burial, it’s not as eco-friendly as one would think. Many crematoriums use natural gas, which contributes to the greenhouse gas problem, and toxins are released into the air when metals or plastics that are on/in the body are burned. That doesn’t mean you have to take cremation completely off the table. Here is an alternative cremation option to consider that may be more environmentally friendly than fire-based cremation. Alkaline Hydrolysis Also known as resomation or aquamation, alkaline hydrolysis uses a combination of water and lye to dissolve the body. The decedent is placed into a special high-pressure chamber that’s filled with the mixture and heated to about 320 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately three hours or until everything except the skeleton has been liquefied. At the end of the process, the bones are crushed into dust and–along with the liquid ash–are placed into an urn. This method is more eco-friendly than regular fire-based cremation because it produces less carbon dioxide and uses less energy. Additionally, potentially harmful toxins are not admitted into the air from burning plastics and metal, and the liquid remains can be disposed of in a number of ways that benefit the Earth (e.g. fertilize a garden). Cost and Availability At this time, alkaline hydrolysis is only available in 13 states. So if you don’t live in a state where it’s legal, you may have to go with an alternative burial option or ship the decedent’s body to a crematorium in a state where the procedure is legal. The cost of resomation varies depending on the company and geographic location, but tends to be about the same as fire-based cremation. In Minnesota, for instance, the cost comes in around $2,395 to $4,230 depending on if you have a ceremony or not. For comparison, the average cost of fire-based cremation is $1,500 to $3,000 if you work directly with a crematorium and $2,000 to $4,000 if you work with a funeral home and funeral director. Since the technology is somewhat new, it’s best to check with any insurance policy you have that’s designed to assist with funeral costs to ensure the procedure is covered. There are many other green funeral options available such as burial directly into the soil without the use of chemicals or a casket. Speak to a funeral director who can help you decide which one is the best for your needs and...

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