Ancient Cemetery encompasses 300 years of social and economic history of Cape Cod recorded on stone. The data we collect and analyze enriches the history of Yarmouth. (Did you know that one little period, extra space, or gravestone with no death date can trigger research insanity?)
Analysis of Inscription Data on Ancient Cemetery Gravestones
by Laurel K.Gabel
An analysis of the introduction or dedication phrases of a gravestone inscription (e.g., “Here lyes,” “Here lies,” and “In memory of”) is one way to illustrate what can be learned from the markers we clean. Just as the shape, stone material, and iconography of gravestones themselves evolved over time, so did the language of the inscriptions. Read the entire analysis here.
Data Analysis of The Ancient Cemetery Project
by Laurel K. Gabel
This preliminary analysis is an overview of collected data of a modest percentage of gravestones in Ancient Cemetery. Data were collected by Project volunteers in this collaborative effort between the Town of Yarmouth Cemetery Department and the Historical Society of Old Yarmouth. These results change continually as additional stones are included in the database.
Some Results of Recent Analysis of Data
Largest Number of
Most Popular Male Names
William, James, Joseph
Most Popular Female Names
Lucy and Thankful (tie)
The highest death month is October; the fewest number of deaths occur in January.
Largest number of memorialized deaths are from the 19th Century.
(both seafaring and military)
1730 -1830 gravestones were predominately slate
1830 -1930 stones were mostly marble
1930 to today, gravestones are almost all granite
288 gravestones refer to a wife, mother, widow
7 gravestone refer to husband, father or widower
WOMEN were described solely by their relationship to a man:
MEN were identified by:
photo david and pauline schafer
- Earliest stones were imported from Boston
- Nathaniel Holmes was the Cape’s first resident carver
- Holmes supplied urn and willow style stones
- Jabez Fisher & Son, William Fisher were local carvers after the mid-1840s
- Carvers sometimes signed their stones
To read more about various carvers from Ancient Cemetery, click here.
Carvers Signed Stones
Engraved on Nantucket by WM. Sturges.
J. Milmore. Boston
R. Needham, Chelsea
A. Cary, Fecit., Boston.
[F. Cooley. Prov. R.I.]
photo melanie barron