Joiner History Room
Located in the Sycamore Public Library
103 E. State Street
Sycamore, IL 60178

Hours: Tuesday and Thursday, 10AM-3PM 


Home About Us Archives Coroner Records 1850-1905
Databases The DeKalb County Poor Farm Early Wills Family Files
Joiner Room Journal Marriage Applications 1891-1905 Military Records Obituaries
Publications Research Services Subject Files Sycamore True Republican
Ritzman Photo Collection      
Email Us   Return to DeKalb County GenWeb


Gravestone Symbolism

An ancestor's gravestone (headstone, grave marker) sometimes will offer information such as birth and death dates and relationships such as "daughter of".  Looking closer at the design of the headstone will reveal how a loved one chose to represent the deceased symbolically for all eternity.

According to The Association for Gravestone Studies, many designs are not just decorative; they have meaning(s).  See their list.  The Ringgold County, IA USGenWeb site also has a list of symbolic meanings.  These are some examples taken from these web sites.  Pictures are from gravestones in the Elmwood Cemetery, Sycamore, IL.

The wreath represents victory, honor or eternal love.  It can also be a symbol for the soul, immortality or penitence.  A wreath of roses symbolizes heavenly joy and bliss, while a wreath of skulls symbolizes death's victory over life.

An urn, usually placed at the top of the gravestone, is a classic symbol associated with death.  A draped urn is a traditional symbol of sorrow, mourning.

Wheat symbolizes productivity or bounty.  Gathered wheat represents harvesting and is seen most often on the grave markers of productive, mature men of faith.

A finger pointing up symbolizes the hope of Heaven; while a finger pointing down represents God reaching down for the soul.

Organizations, fraternal brotherhoods and sisterhoods are also represented symbolically.  The above marker is attached to the gravestone of Sarah Bacon Wood, identifying her as a "Real Daughter".  Real Daughters are menbers of the Daughters of the American Revolution organization whose father served in the Revolutionary War.  Sarah's father, John Bacon (4 Aug 1751-22 Mar 1813) served 19 days under Capt. John Dixon and was part of the Lexing Alarm.  Sarah's plaque was placed by the local chapter of the organization in 1956.


Past Website Articles
 Changling Movie Has DeKalb County Connection

Chicago and North Western Depot 

Letitia Westgate and the 1902 Smallpox Season

Early Weather Reporting

The Lincoln Statue

First Jury of Sycamore Women

Sycamore Electric Company

Sycamore Wagon Works

Obituary of Phyllis I. Horton Kelly

In Grandmother's Attic

The Own Your Own Home Association

Truman Vangalder

Fairdale Train Accident

Pictures Show A Sad Time In Kingston's History

Prather's Speedway

Franks, DeKalb County, IL?

Finding Hattie




New Military Link
Coffelt Database of Vietnam Casualties - Click on Military Records and scroll to bottom of page.

Great News!

The DeKalb County Clerk's office has put online birth, marriage, death and naturalization records that meet genealogical guidelines.  You can print the document image for $3.00.   Their website is

New Malta Obituary Collection

A Scrapbook of Obituary Collections, People with a Connection to the Community of Malta, IL  Compiled by Dorothy W. Stoddard, December 2012.  3,274 obits.  These obits are not part of our online database.  If you are looking for an obit on someone from the Malta area contact the Joiner History Room. 

This collection is also for sale in printed ($80) and CD ($20) formats.  All proceeds go to the Malta Historical Society.

On Sale Now

Complete Information
and Order Form

Young Author Gets Acknowledged

Erin Templin, daughter of Dan Templin, "Young Author's" story was selected by Sycamore School District in her grade to attend a statewide young author's meeting in May.  Because her story takes place in one of Sycamore's most loved historical buildings, we are pleased to post it online. Adobe Reader required.

Sycamore City Council Minutes


Present Sycamore mayor Ken Mundy is a history buff.  He has compiled a brief description of each meeting held by the city council during the years 1858-1949.     By reading his work, you get a historical sense of the important issues for this growing city.  It is an ongoing project.  The manuscripts are available for review at the Joiner History Room. 

Adoptee Law Passed By Illinois Legislature
Excerpts From the Chicago Tribune 10 June 2011

Since last year when the bill was signed, about 645 adoptees born in Illinois before 1946 have been issued their birth certificates.  Starting November 15, 2011, those born after 1946 will be able to do the same thing.  The law also allows birth parents to have their names redacted from any released birth certificate by filling out a form by Nov. 1.  For more information see

JHR Adoption and Juvenile Court Records Database  Updated February 2012




Images of Sycamore

The Mighty Maroons

The Mighty Maroons boys' baseball team had this formal portrait taken at the local M. F. Carlson studio, circa 1900.  Mascot Raymond Branen is front and center.  Team members, from left to right, are (second row) Will Sell and Rex Shield; (third row) Doug Langhorn, George Murray, Captain Charles B. Townsend, Earl Branen, and George St. Dennis; (back row) Harry Cornwell, Jim Branen, and Walter Wallmark.

Picture and historical information used with permission of Sue Breese and the Joiner Room Staff.

See More Like This In
 Images of America-Sycamore
Available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon and at Local Stores



Quick Links

Obituary Database


Sycamore True Republican


Joiner Room Journal
April 2014


Click here for more information on these Quick Links



Burkhart Funeral Home Records 1891-1943

Funeral home records are often overlooked as a source of genealogical information.  Joiner History Room volunteer Fran Besserman diligently compared a hand-written list of Burkhart burials with obits available from other sources in our collection.  This may be the only record of a death.  Click here to see list.


Looking Back Index Available

The Midweek, a current DeKalb County area publication, has a column called "Looking Back" that has small snipits of local news dating back to the late 1800's.  Most items are one or two lines long, just enough to give you a flavor of what was happening at the time.  This index covers publication dates from the start of the column, mid-2010, through December 2012.  If you find an item of interest, e-mail the Joiner History Room with date of publication and page number.  Access index.

Can You Help?

The Joiner History Room is seeking to add to its archives pre 1960 telephone books and city directories for the cities of Dekalb and Sycamore.  We are also interested in historical documents pertaining to DeKalb County.  You don't have to send the original historical document, copies will be just as good.  If you have such an item to donate, please email the Joiner History Room.  In the subject line enter "Item to Donate."  Thank you. 

Joiner Room Honored To
 Be Part Of The DeKalb County
 Community Foundation


The Joiner History Room Endowment Fund was established in 2008 to honor Ralph Joiner and the first appointed DeKalb County historian, Phyllis Kelley.  If you wish to donate to our Endowment Fund, click on the DCCF logo or send a check directly to The Joiner Room at the address above.


Copying/Scanning/Mailing Pricing

$ .25/page......Photocopy by patron at JHR
   .50/page......Photocopies by JHR staff
 2.00/scan......By JHR researcher
 2.00/each......Photo quality prints
Scans will be emailed.  To keep your costs down, we will try to get as much on one scan as possible.  Photocopies by JHR staff and photo quality prints are sent U.S. mail only.  Postage is also charged.

Sycamore True Republican, 1893


This Page Maintained by the Joiner History Room
Copyright 2010 Joiner History Room.  All Rights Reserved.  Copyright of submitted items belongs to those responsible
for the authorship or creation unless otherwise assigned.