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[Even though it is Wednesday where I am, I'm still calling it "Tombstone Tuesday." Hey, it's still Tuesday somewhere in the world!]

Question: When is a tombstone not a tombstone?

Answer: When it’s a cenotaph.

A cenotaph (literally “empty tomb”) is a memorial for someone who is not buried at that place, either because they are buried someplace else or the body could not be recovered. Sometimes the marker will give you a clue that it is a cenotaph rather than a tombstone.

 

George Kruskie, Holy Cross Cemetery, Cross Village Township, Emmet County, Michigan. Photo take by Amy Crow, all rights reserved.

George Kruskie, Holy Cross Cemetery, Cross Village Township, Emmet County, Michigan. Photo taken by Amy Crow, all rights reserved.

The phrase “Lost on Ice” on this marker in Holy Cross Cemetery in Emmet County, Michigan is a clue that George Kruskie is not actually buried here, but rather was lost. The area is on the shores of Lake Michigan and near the Straits of Mackinac. A search for newspaper articles might confirm my hypothesis that he fell through the ice and his body was never recovered.

 

Dorothy Beetham, Union Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio. Photo by Amy Johnson Crow, 2008. All rights reserved.

Dorothy Beetham, Union Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio. Photo by Amy Johnson Crow, 2008. All rights reserved.

The marker shown above is the first one I have seen that actually notes that it is a cenotaph. It isn’t clear whether it is a cenotaph just for Dorothy Beetham or for all three people listed on the stone. A check with the office at Union Cemetery in Columbus, obituaries, and death certificates would clear up the situation.

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