Question: A cemetery I visited had an earlier gravestone then the date that was on the gate? Can you explain why this is the case?
Answer: There are three possible reasons for this. 1) A gravestone and burials were moved to this cemetery from an earlier cemetery. 2) The date on the gate is actually wrong. 3) The gravestone is a cenotaph and no one is buried there, and it is simply a memorial. An example from my own research is an Esty family gravestone that memorialize a few children. The earliest gravestone date is 1738, and the cemetery in Stoughton, Massachusetts only opened in 1744. In this case I believe the burials were moved here from an earlier cemetery.