Last Words - A Glossary of Cemetery Terms
The terminology used in conjunction with cemeteries, burials, grave markers and the associated structures are unfamiliar to most. The following list has been compiled to help understand what the words mean, and how the terms are used specifically at Newton Cemetery.
Advance Planning - The process in which cemetery and funeral arrangements are made in advance of death. This may include purchasing an interment space, planning the funeral or listing preferences for funeral arrangements. By pre-planning, an individual creates their statement of wishes for their final event plan, allowing loved ones to focus on celebrating a life lived. Pre-planning at Newton Cemetery includes the selection and payment of an interment place. Other arrangements, such as interment fees, are paid for at the time of death or may be pre-arranged through a funeral home. See also Pre-Need, Pre-Arranging or Pre-Planning.
At-Need (or Immediate Need) – Cemetery and funeral arrangements that are made at the time of death.
Certificate or Deed (for Interment Rights) - The document by which the cemetery grants the purchaser the exclusive “right” to interment in the selected space(s) in exchange for a dollar amount paid, subject to certain rules, regulations and conditions.
Cenotaph - A marker for the empty grave if a body is lost at sea or, through some other situation, is unavailable.
Columbarium – A structure or a room or space in a building containing niches used to contain cremated remains. A "Columbarium" may include an entire building, a room, a series of special indoor alcoves, or a bank along a corridor or part of an outdoor garden setting.
Committal Service - The final portion of the funeral service at which time the deceased is interred or entombed and the last remarks or prayers are said; also referred to as graveside service.
Cremation Authorization – A document signed by the decedent’s next of kin authorizing the cremation to take place.
Crematory - A building where cremations take place.
Crypt – A chamber or space in a mausoleum generally used to contain the casketed remains of a deceased person. Single crypts are designed for one entombment. Double crypts are designed for two entombments and can include what is called a ‘True Companion’ which is two spaces wide with no dividing wall or a ‘Tandem' which is two spaces deep. A ‘Westminster Crypt’ is a crypt space at ground level with an additional lower level that is accessed by lowering the deceased from inside the crypt space and generally holds two or four entombments.
Deed of Trust – A written instrument by which the owner of a cemetery lot can ensure their wishes for the use and care of their lot are followed even after death. The owner of a cemetery lot conveys all rights to the site unto the Newton Cemetery Corporation as trustee. The trustee then ensures only the persons designated in the Deed of Trust are interred in the lot, remains interred in the lot are not moved, and no other use is made of the Site.
Double Depth - Double Depth burial refers to making two full casket burials in one grave space. The first burial is placed deep enough (double depth) to allow a second burial to be placed on top at a later time. Availability of Double Depth burial for full casket interment depends on the location in Newton Cemetery.
Double Grave – At Newton Cemetery, this refers to a lot or plot that is two grave spaces wide. Double graves in Newton Cemetery can accommodate up to four interments. This could include four full casket interments utilizing double depth burial (not available in all areas of Newton Cemetery) or a combination of full casket and cremated remains.
Endowment/Perpetual Care Fund - These are monies set aside for the Perpetual Care and maintenance of the cemetery grounds, lots and graves, landscaping, and buildings and fixtures. The funds normally do not cover family owned structures or headstones. The name by which these funds are referred to and the manner in which they are collected vary from state to state and even by cemetery. (A.k.a. endowed care, care and maintenance fund). A portion of the sale of each interment space at Newton Cemetery is placed in the fund and invested for future care.
Entombment – The placing of remains in a crypt space within a mausoleum.
Family Lot – A cemetery lot or plot that is three or more grave spaces wide. Family lots at Newton Cemetery accommodate six or more interments of full casket and/or cremated remains. Flush marker and upright monument Family Lot options are available.
Foundation - The base or footing on which a monument/memorial is installed.
Grave Box – A Grave Box is an unsealed two piece concrete receptacle in which a casket is placed at the time of burial. Grave Boxes are required at all full casket burials at Newton Cemetery. The main purpose is to prevent the ground from sinking around the grave site as the earth settles. By keeping the grass above the grave level with the rest of the cemetery, it is safer for visitors.
Grave Space - The space designated by the area of the ground that is set aside for the purpose of receiving the deceased persons remains. Grave spaces in Urn Garden Plots are intended for the interment of one cremated remain each. ‘Single Grave’, ‘Double Grave’ and ‘Family Lot’ grave spaces are about 3' x 10' wide and can accommodate full casket and cremated remain interments. Many of the grave spaces within these types of lots can accommodate two full casket interments, one at ‘double depth’ and one at ‘single depth’.
Heir - This term generally refers to those who now hold the right of interment/entombment by reason of lawful transfer due to death of the owner.
Interment – The placement of remains in their final resting place. Interment generally refers to “burial” in the ground, although it is used interchangeably with entombment in a mausoleum or inurnment of cremated remains in a niche.
Interment Acknowledgement – A document signed by the heirs of a deceased owner of a gravesite, permitting the interment of a non-heir.
Interment Order – A document authorizing a burial to take place, signed by the decedent’s next of kin and the owner of the interment space. The next of kin and lot owner may or may not be the same person.
Inurnment - The placement of cremated remains in a niche in the cemetery.
Lawn Crypt - A lawn crypt is an underground concrete compartment (“crypt”) pre-installed in a grave space. Lawn crypts are also referred to as pre-placed grave boxes and are typically set in the ground as part of a larger project prior to the purchase of a lot. Lots purchased with a lawn crypt do not require the purchase of a grave box at the time of interment. In essence, the grave box is being 'pre-purchased' when a lot with a lawn crypt is bought. There are a number of lots with lawn crypts available at Newton Cemetery.
Lot Representative – A Person designated by a burial space owner (or his/her heirs) to act for them in all matters pertaining to the burial space.
Marker - A stone memorial flush with the ground indicating the name of the deceased, date of birth and death and similar personal information.
Mausoleum – A mausoleum is a permanent, freestanding, above-ground structure built as a burial chamber or multiple chambers (crypts) for the purpose of holding the remains of a deceased person. Interment within a mausoleum crypt is generally referred to as an ‘entombment’. A private mausoleum is designed and built by an individual owner(s) on a private family lot. A community mausoleum is designed, built and maintained by the cemetery and crypts within the mausoleum are available to purchase.
Memorial – the generic name given to any type of headstone or flat marker used to identify the occupant of a particular grave or crypt. A marker is usually a flat piece of granite or bronze upon which identifying data is inscribed. A headstone is usually two large pieces of granite or marble upon which the identifying information is carved. The identifying information may include the name of the individual, date and place of birth, date and place of death. It is common for the grave markers to contain information about the person or persons buried in the grave. It is also common for the grave markers to have an epitaph or brief saying, sometimes poetic and sometimes humorous.
Monument – a structure of stone or metal commemorating the life, deeds or career of a deceased person; a monument or memorial to mark the place of burial. "Monument" means a memorial made principally of stone which extends above the surface of the earth, in upright form. The dimensions for Monuments allowed by the Cemetery are available to contractors at the Cemetery office on request.
Niche – A recess in a columbarium used for the permanent placing of cremated remains.
Order for Interment – A document signed by the decedent’s next of kin and the owner of the cemetery space (who may or may not be the same person) authorizing the interment.
Owner - This term generally refers to the original purchaser of interment/entombment rights. The owner is the person or persons:
- to whom the cemetery has conveyed burial right(s);
- who have acquired such burial right(s) by transfer in accordance with these rules and regulations; or
- who hold such burial right(s) by inheritance.
Perpetual Care – Regular Perpetual Care includes the general maintenance of grass and upkeep of the cemetery grounds and its buildings. Newton Cemetery’s Regular Perpetual Care is included in the purchase price of all interment locations throughout the cemetery. Families are not obligated to perform any maintenance or required to pay ongoing fees for the Regular Perpetual Care of their space. Special Perpetual Care may be purchased in addition to Regular Perpetual Care. It may include special or particular kinds of planting, decoration or monument care. Special Perpetual Care contracts are arranged through the cemetery office.
Pre-Need, Pre-Arranging or Pre-Planning – The process in which cemetery and funeral arrangements are made in advance of death. This may include purchasing an interment space, planning the funeral or listing preferences for funeral arrangements. By pre-planning, an individual creates their statement of wishes for their final event plan, allowing loved ones to focus on celebrating a life lived. Pre-planning at Newton Cemetery includes the selection and payment of an interment place. Other arrangements, such as interment fees, are paid for at the time of death or may be pre-arranged through a funeral home. See also Advance Planning.
Right of Interment – The Right of Interment (or Interment Right) is the burial entitlement for a specific location within the cemetery. When purchasing a cemetery space, the right to use the cemetery space is being purchased. The grave, lot, niche, or crypt remains the property of Newton Cemetery.
Scattering Grounds or Garden – A dedicated area of the cemetery where cremated remains are interred in an unmarked location.
Single Grave – At Newton Cemetery, this refers to a lot or plot that is one grave space wide. Single graves in Newton Cemetery accommodate up to two interments. This could include two full caskets interments utilizing double depth burial (not available in all areas), one full casket and one cremated remain or two cremated remains. Flush marker and upright monument Single Grave options are available.
Urn - A container to hold cremated remains. It can be placed in a columbarium, mausoleum, or buried in the ground.
Urn Garden Plot – An outdoor grave space specifically for the in ground interment of cremated remains. Newton Cemetery has several Urn Garden locations to choose from, from wooded areas overlooking the ponds to hillside locations underneath flowering trees. Flush marker and upright monument Urn Garden Plot options are available.
Vase in Ground – A vessel securely attached to the ground and available for use to display floral arrangements year round. When not in use, inverted vases are flush with the ground.
Vault – A vault is a two-piece sealed grave box providing additional protection of the casket. Vaults may have an inner liner to enhance the appearance and sealing ability of the unit. Vaults are not offered at Newton Cemetery, but can be purchased through a funeral home.
Witness the Start of Cremation – A ritual where family members are present when the body is placed into the cremation chamber.