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In the last month, I have been researching one family name in the Lothian area of Scotland trying to work out which families are related to mine. I’ve been building private mini trees until I can work out more about their background in hope to slot them onto mine. It’s proved to be very successful. I kept them private because if I could work out where they slotted into my public DNA tree, I deleted them. No point having hundreds of mini trees when all the same information is on a larger tree with more connections.

While working on “007. McNeil Tree”, one of the mini trees, information came up on the couple I was researching suggesting that they had moved from the Lothian area over to Utah in the United States. I continued to follow the hints and found that there were not only photographs of members of the family, but also of their headstones. 

Since starting my research, I have visited a number of graveyards looking for headstones and clues on family members, but I never looked into the symbolism in great depth. In Scotland, I have seen on a lot of the older headstones that they have skulls on them and the more modern can have anything from photographs to pictures of teddy bears for children.

What caught my eye with the photographs of the family members of “007. McNeil Tree” was both husband and wife’s headstones had shaking hands at the top between what looked like stage curtains. It wasn’t something I had come across before, so I thought it best to look it up.

I found this great blog which had loads of information on cemeteries and symbolism.

Cemetery and Cemetery Symbols – https://cemeteries.wordpress.com

I found out some new information on the handshake symbol on headstones that I possibly wouldn’t have guessed on my own. It was definitely worth a quick Google search to find out more!

If you come across something you are unsure of it is definitely worth looking up while you remember to do so. I knew if I didn’t read up on the reason for the handshake symbol it would be something that annoyed me until I completely forgot about it. If I hadn’t found that fantastic blog I would have taken to social media to see if anyone knew the answer. You never know what you might find out!

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