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Glossary of Terms

Below is a list of terms that we feel are important when it comes to the knowledge about a cemetery. These will help you understand a little bit about the important factors involved in a cemetery. 

Cemetery Services: opening and closing graves, crypts, or niches; setting vaults; setting markers; and long-term maintenance of cemetery grounds and facilities. 

Crypt: a space or compartment in a mausoleum or other building to hold human remains.

Mausoleum: a building in which human remains are buried (entombed) in compartments or crypts.

Entombment: burial in a mausoleum.

Niche: a space or compartment in a columbarium, mausoleum, or niche wall to hold an urn. 

Columbarium: a structure with compartments or niches (small spaces) for placement of cremated remains in urns or other approved containers. It may be outdoors or part of a mausoleum.

Cremated Remains: the product of reducing the human body through cremation.

Cremation: exposing human remains and the container holding them to extreme heat and flame and processing the resulting bone fragments to a uniform size and consistency.

Urn: a container to hold cremated remains. It can be placed in a columbarium or mausoleum, or it can be buried in the ground.

Casket/Coffin: a decorative enclosure for viewing, transporting, and  burying of human remains. 

Vault: a cover that completely encloses a casket in a grave.

Grave: a space in the ground in a cemetery for the burial of human or cremated remains.

Graveside Service: a service to commemorate the deceased held at the cemetery prior to burial.

Interment: burial in the ground, inurnment, or entombment. 

Inurnment: the placing of cremated remains in an urn.

Perpetual Care Fund: Moneys collected from cemetery property purchasers and placed in trust for the maintenance and upkeep of the cemetery. The State of Tennessee Department of Burial Services establishes the minimum amount that must be collected; however, the cemetery is permitted to collect more than the minimum to build the fund. Only the interest earned by such funds may be used for the care, maintenance, and embellishment of the cemetery.

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