In Bohemia several types
of cemeteries and gravestones can be found. All Churches (catholic, evangelical,
jewish etc.) usually have their cemeteries in places which used to be the
centrum of authorities or offices for surrounding area. Despite the old decree
of placing gravestones aside of towns, many of them stayed around of churches.
We must recall here that many of German gravestones were damaged after WW2,
especially in border areas (Sudetenland).
In the case of aristocracy, some of them were located inside of churches with
ornaments (coat of arms, statues, decorative inscription) or left on a cemetery
wall. Many of them have origin even in the Middle Ages, with Czech, German
or Latin inscription.
Generally, gravestones of people from lower classes (peasants, workers, citizens
and so on) were preserved from the second half of the 19th century. A big
role in preservation played (and still do) relatives who paid a fee for the
place where a gravestone was situated. Without a regular payment it can be
destroyed and replaced by a new piece. Exceptions are those ones of well known
people as poets, composers, artists etc. which are protected by the state.
Two types of gravestones we can found at contemporary cemeteries. First, big
family tombs with many monumental decoration, inscription in Czech or German.
Individually names, date of birth and death, occupation and a poem were recorded
on plates for family members. On the easier version of family tombs only a
family name was mentioned.
Second, younger gravestones (after WW2) are not so impressive as the older
ones, but still have importance for the genealogy. There we can come accross
the tendency to make a simple form of gravestones, applied on tables and inscription
(majority was done in Czech). Only a family name can be found more often.
Also, family members were sometimes placed at several gravestones so that
it is better to search the whole cemetery or to ask for help local authorities
which take care of that place.