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Tombstone Tuesday: Calvary Cemetery -The Graves Have Eyes

For some people, cemeteries are creepy- but not to me! I find them fascinating! On a recent trip to Calvary Cemetery in Queens, NY I saw something I've never seen before at any other cemetery...actual pictures preserved right on the tombstones. When walking through a cemetery I often wonder about the lives of the people buried beneath me. A picture on a tombstone really brings the name and tombstone to life!

For some of these people, I wonder if these could potentially be the only known picture left of them. This has taught me a lesson, finding an ancestor's grave could yield amazing results. Especially for those in my tree who I have no picture of. I never would have thought a tombstone could preserve an image as well as these have. And many of these pictures are almost a hundred years old (according to the death dates).

The picture to the left is of Carmela Mancino, born-1884 died- 1925.  


Click to enlarge the pictures.


One grave in particular really stuck with me, that of Rosaria Fidanza. She died when she was just 22 years old. Below is her grave and picture. There will be a follow up post on Rosaria with more information. I couldn't help myself and did a little digging on for more of her story.

The translated inscription says: "Erected by Nicola Fidanza, in memory of his adorned wife Rosaria Fidanza. Born Buttafuoco (maiden name) August 25, 1903 Died December 6, 1925"

This is Giuseppe Blanco who died in 1925 at the age of 31.

Have you seen this trend before? Calvary Cemetery is a catholic cemetery with a high population of Italian burials. In the section I was exploring (First Calvary Cemetery, Section 6B) the pictures were predominately found on Italian tombstones. I don't know if this is an Italian trend, a period trend (many died around 1925), a catholic trend, or a trend specific to this cemetery or tombstone designer- but I love it!! I would be so happy to find a picture of my ancestor on their tombstone. I'll be keeping an eye out for this trend in other cemeteries. I'd love to hear any stories you might have relating to pictures and tombstones!

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Reader Comments (1)

Hello! I was looking up some info about a giant mausoleum I photographed at First Calvary yesterday and stumbled across your blog in search results.
Last year I noticed the photos on the stones as well and thought it was terrific. Wish I found some on mine too, but I'm lucky there are even names on some of my family's stones apparently.
I do agree that the photos seem to be an Italian trend. I photographed a few of them, including one of a father and a baby. You can see them in my : Calvary Cemetery Flickr Set
Very nice blog you have - will be coming back to read more!

Jan 12, 2012 at 7:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterJJT

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