U.S. cemetery trivia quiz #1

As you can see in the title for this page, U.S. cemetery trivia quiz #1 covers the history and other interesting facts about cemeteries across the United States. Any factual information is fair game! As you know, there is lots of information out there about some of the more popular cemeteries and grave sites in the U.S. I avoided those (for now) to test your knowledge on! There are other facts about cemeteries and burial practices in the United States that are just as interesting! Here’s one example: Boot Hill cemetery at Tombstone, Arizona is a very popular tourist attraction. It is not the first Boot Hill in the U.S.!

As with all of my quizzes, there is no penalty for wrong answers! Below this paragraph, you see “Helpful links” to other websites that can give you some clues to answer the questions. You don’t need a perfect score to get credit for completing the quiz! Hopefully you have fun learning some new Taphophile facts. Use the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of this page to send me your answers. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!


Question 1: Can you scatter human cremains in a U.S. National Park?

A. You need to check with the park rangers, and may need to obtain a permit

B. Never-scattered cremains are considered a health hazard

C. It would be better to scatter the cremains in a local county park

D. It’s bad luck to scatter cremains!

Question 2: What does “Boot Hill Cemetery” usually refer to ?

A. The cemetery is on a hill-you need good hiking boots to get to the cemetery

B. It’s a tribute to old cowboys-they were allowed to wear their boots in bed as they died from old age or illness

C. It’s an old cemetery, typically in the Western U.S., for cowboys that “died with their boots on”, often in a gunfight or hanged by the neck

D. A cemetery that uses the boots of the deceased to mark their graves

Photo of the aqua cremation chamber at White Rose Aqua Cremation in San Diego County.
Aqua Cremation is a very recent event in U.S. cemetery history, but an important green method, so it's a part of the trivia quiz!

Photo courtesy of White Rose Aqua Cremation

A. Amino Acids

B. Peptides

C. Sugars

D. Salts

E. All the above

Question 4: Many graves “face” East. Why?

A. The symmetry of all the gravestones facing East makes it easier for the ground maintenance team to keep the graveyard grass trimmed

B. The feet of the deceased are on the East “end”. The head is on the West “end.” This way the deceased can “stand” and face the rising sun at “the Rapture”

C. Facing East is a uniquely American practice. It began with the Pilgrims. They could “stand” and face England in the afterlife.

D. Funeral directors are very superstitious, and don’t want to “break” and outdated practice

Question 5: “Epitaph” is:

A. The words in an obituary

B. Part of a memorial service

C. The words engraved on a gravestone/headstone

D. The stone marking the “foot” of a grave

Question 6: A few of the differences in the U.S. between a “traditional” in-ground burial and an in-ground “green” burial:

A. A burial ceremony can be held at the grave

B. The casket/coffin is made of a durable material and placed inside a durable burial vault to keep the ground above the grave from caving in

C. Green burials are usually not allowed next to a traditional burial. Green burials do not use a burial vault, and there is a risk of the ground caving in

D. If a coffin is used for a green burial, it is made of an earth-friendly material that will not delay decay

E. B, C, and D

Question 7: What do the letters R.I.P. on a gravestone/headstone stand for?

Photo of a cross-shaped gravestone engraved with the letters R.I.P., in the graveyard at Mission San Luis Rey, Oceanside, California.
R.I.P. is often seen in U.S. cemetery history, but the trivia quiz asks you what R.I.P. actually stands for!

A. Eternal Rest in Peace

B. Remain in Paradise

C. Requiescat in Pace

D. Answers A and C

Question 8: What was the purpose of creating the first Victorian era cemetery in the U.S. in 1831 in Cambridge, Massachusetts?

Click here to display content from YouTube.
Learn more in YouTube’s privacy policy.

A. To establish a pleasant park or garden-like setting around graves that families would enjoy spending time in

B. To provide additional burial space outside of crowded church graveyards

C. To reduce the restrictions on the shape and design of headstones/family plots

D. All the above

Question 9: “Modern day” embalming begin in the United States for what reason?

A. It started in the Civil War

B. Embalming preserved bodies for transport home for a funeral

C. To support the theory at the time that embalming was a way to prevent the spread of disease

D. All the above

Question 10: What city is recognized as the location of the first Boot Hill cemetery in the U.S.?

A. San Antonio, Texas

B. Lone Pine, California

C. Hays, Kansas

D. Saint Louis, Missouri

Use the “Leave a Reply” box below to send me your answers. There is no penalty for wrong answers! This is just a fun way to confirm your knowledge or to learn something new!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Black and white sketch of a skeleton sitting down reading a book

Free Taphophile newsletter!

Sign up to receive content relevant to cemetery enthusiasts in your inbox, every month.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Black and white sketch of a skeleton sitting down reading a book

Free Taphophile newsletter!

Sign up to receive content relevant to cemetery enthusiasts in your inbox, every month.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.