Sunday, January 8, 2012

Other Ways to Honor Your Ancestors

Many of us spend quite a bit of our family history research time tracking down obituaries, death certificates and  walking through cemeteries. Perhaps your ancestors lived and died hundreds or thousands of miles away from where you live. Maybe they don't have a grave marker. There are other ways you can honor their memory without erecting a tombstone.

A few years ago, one of my favorite arts organizations, Friends of the Lied (supporters of the Lied Center for Performing Arts in Lincoln, Nebraska) sponsored a fundraising activity where patrons could purchase a commemorative brick which would then be placed on the grounds of the Lied Center. It was a tax deductible charitable contribution.

Maybe it was my ego, maybe I thought I would disappear into oblivion after my demise - whatever the reason at the time, I decided to contribute and purchased a brick. The inscription was just to denote the year of my graduation from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. It seemed appropriate since the Lied Center is housed on the University campus.

I've heard from a few genealogists who have done something similar to honor their parents, grandparents or other family member. It's especially nice if the location or organization is a good match for one of your ancestor's favorite interests or charities. And it helps out a worthwhile cause at the same time.

With some of the horror stories we keep reading about the destruction and vandalism of cemeteries, this might be an inexpensive way for families to still have something concrete (pardon the pun) that will honor their life.

If you have done something similar, I'd like to hear about it. Please leave a comment below.


  1. Susan, Each year at our family reunion we have a white elephant sale to support the purchase of memorial bricks at a very small local history museum. The bricks purchased honor family members who have died. Great post!

  2. That's a wonderful idea, Brenda! Thanks for sharing!