After a loved one’s passing, funeral services provide an opportunity to express condolences to the friends and family of the deceased and memorialize them. However, funeral arrangements haven’t always been the same throughout the years. Below is a guide highlighting how families across the United States have memorialized their loved ones over time.
A Guide to Memorial Services Throughout History
The Early 1700s
In earlier times, funeral services were almost entirely the responsibility of the family, though neighbors would often help with preparing and dressing the body for burial. The family would either buy a casket at a local general store or build their own. Funeral visitations were often held in a home’s parlor, followed by a church service, and burial in either a church or family plot.
During the Civil War, the number of people dying away from their homes led to the introduction of embalming, in which morticians replaced the blood with mercury and arsenic (today, formaldehyde is used instead). This technique helped preserve the bodies long enough for them to be returned to their families for a funeral. The rise of embalming subsequently led to a need for funeral homes and morticians who specialized in these services.
Modern Funeral Services
Funeral homes and funeral directors have become more commonplace than ever. Having this vital assistance when preparing for a memorial service can greatly ease the burden on family members. While embalming techniques have improved—morticians remove liquids and use cosmetics—many funeral homes today also provide alternative memorial options such as cremation. The services themselves are often held at the funeral home instead of inside a church. With more options available than ever, families can find meaningful ways to honor their loved ones.
If you need help with your funeral planning needs, contact Johnson-Kennedy Funeral Home. Serving residents across Ontario County, NY, for over 100 years, their caring team can help with all aspects of the arrangements, from cremation options to pre-planning needs. To learn more about their funeral services, visit them online or call (585) 394-4280 to discuss your needs.