Saturday, October 18, 2008

An Invitation to join The Association of Graveyard Rabbits

You are invited to join me at The Graveyard Rabbit in a blogging experiment called The Association of Graveyard Rabbits. Your excellent work in genealogy, family history, photography and/or your association with the GeneaBlogger Group on the Internet makes you a "natural" for inclusion in this experiment.

But the major reason you are receiving this invitation is I know of your work and/or of your interest in graveyards.

This invitation consists of several parts and you are advised to consider each section prior to completing the application for membership.
Part 1. Reasons Why You Should Join The Association of Graveyard Rabbits
Part 2. Requirements to be a Member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits
Part 3. One Dozen Suggestions to Consider as a Member
Part 4. On Becoming a Charter Member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits
Part 5. Application for Membership in The Association of Graveyard Rabbits

Your first question is probably, "Terry, why the name --- why graveyard rabbit?"

When I went looking for a name for a new column I will be writing at Shades and for a name for my new blog and a name for this new association, I found a delightful short poem by the American poet Frank Lebby Stanton 1857 - 1927, the first Poet Laureate of the State of Georgia. Stanton's poem, The Graveyard Rabbit, contained just the word images I needed --- besides the name is memorable and rabbits are noted for their ability to increase rapidly as I hope the numbers of members in this group will increase.

For a more complete explanation of the name graveyard rabbit please take a look at About the name THE GRAVEYARD RABBIT (click the link to read the article which also includes the complete poem by Stanton).

Because of the poem I named the new blog The Graveyard Rabbit and I named the new group The Association of Graveyard Rabbits. I'm also using "Graveyard Rabbit" as the name of a monthly column I will be doing at Shades of the Departed. I encourage you to take a look at The Graveyard Rabbit and I encourage you to consider joining me in The Association of Graveyard Rabbits.

The new blog, The Graveyard Rabbit, will be reserved to handle the business and group publications of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits. My personal membership blog in the association will be called The Graveyard Rabbit of the Hill Country [click to view].

Before you read further, please let me say that this project has been in the planning stages for several months. During that time I asked two dedicated and talented bloggers to assist me in the planning and execution of this plan. First, I asked if they were interested in joining such an effort and, second, to review the plan for organization including this invitation you are reading. Both were enthusiastic about the association, about starting a new blog, and unflinching in their advice and suggestions to me. They are now members of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits --- and their help in drafting this document which will serve as an initial charter for the group is most appreciated.

I invite you to join us as members of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits.

If you have questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact me. Again, I invite you to join The Association of Graveyard Rabbits.

With kindest personal regards,
Terry Thornton
Fulton, Mississippi

Part 1. Here are some of the reasons why you should join The Association of Graveyard Rabbits.

First, there is no money to be made from this venture --- it is purely academic and social --- and this experiment promotes only the historical importance of cemeteries, grave markers, and the family history to be learned from a study of burial customs, burying grounds, and tombstones. The social end is from getting together in the blogosphere with a group of like-minded individuals all promoting the study of cemeteries, the preservation of cemeteries, and the transcription of genealogical/historical information written in cemeteries.

Second, there are no dues nor fees for becoming a member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits.

Third, To become a member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits you must be invited by an existing member. If you accept the invitation to membership, you must agree to three requirements for membership listed below. And yes, you are encouraged to ask a member to invite you to join.


A. You must start a blog (nobody said this was going to be easy but you all know that one blog is never enough). The blog you start as a member of the Graveyard Rabbits should be devoted exclusively to articles about cemeteries, grave markers, burial customs, the study of cemeteries, transcriptions of tombstones, or the preservation of cemeteries. [If you already have a blog devoted to this subject, you can certainly use it as your membership blog. Just comply with the other two requirements.]

The blog you start must be registered with The Association of Graveyard Rabbits in order to prevent duplication of names. The earlier, therefore, you join the Association the greater the likelihood of your being able to stake out the name and the territory you wish.

You may wish to consider using a blog title THE GRAVEYARD RABBIT OF ______ (your county or your region within a state or a county) or THE _______ GRAVEYARD RABBIT (see The Western Washington Graveyard Rabbit as an example) but the choice of title and design of your blog is up to you. The geographic region of your blog should be limited rather than so large as to be impossible to cover. Think smaller rather than larger on the coverage area involved.

My personal membership blog is titled The Graveyard Rabbit of the Hill Country and is primarily limited geographically to the eastern part of Monroe County, Mississippi, that portion east of the Tombigbee River, but is broad enough that I could write about any of the cemeteries and grave markers within the hill country region of Mississippi. But because I live in Itawamba County, Mississippi, and because another Graveyard Rabbit, has established his membership blog as being about Itawamba County, before I write about any of the cemeteries in his region I will coordinate with him and not duplicate anything he is planning to do.

Your blog should be "open" meaning that anyone can view it.

B. You blog must include (i) a statement in your banner or just beneath your banner that you are a member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits and (ii) display the association's logo just beneath the banner. The logo was designed by footnoteMaven and will be sent to you when you indicate that you are accepting this invitation.

C. The articles you post at your Graveyard Rabbit blog should be about cemeteries, grave markers, burial customs, and information relating to burying grounds or specific gravestones. Photographs are encouraged. Please keep the content of your Graveyard Rabbit blog on subject. There is no limit on how much posting to do --- we all know that more is better -- but this inactivity statement will be followed:

Should your Graveyard Rabbit blog become inactive for thirty (30) days, without written notice to the Association, you will no longer be a member in good standing and your blog will be terminated from the rolls and your geographic area be opened for adoption.


Members of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits should consider the following as they prepare their new blog and publish articles on it (these are not requirements but topics to consider):

1. Members should consider joining their local historical society, joining some of the national groups such as The Association for Gravestone Studies, and joining the online community known as the GeneaBlogger Group and to promote and to support the work that has been and is being done by those organizations.

2. Members should help promote the work of Graveyard Rabbits by providing links to other Graveyard Rabbits. [I will maintain an index listing --- and will share that one-click index with you --- but you are encouraged to provide whatever linking you wish to other blogs of your choice including but not necessarily limited to just other Graveyard Rabbits.]

3. Each member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits is encouraged to use his/her blog to participate in the Cemetery of the Year Award and to identify at least one cemetery within his/her geographic region to be highlighted, written about, photographed (and perhaps inventoried), and nominated as a local "Cemetery of the Year."

There will be various categories of this project; i.e., Abandoned Cemetery of the Year; Rural Cemetery of the Year; Urban Cemetery of the Year; etc as demand warrants.]. From all of the local nominations, The Association of Graveyard Rabbits Cemetery of the Year will be selected and announced in October each year beginning first in 2009. All members will have a voice in the selection of the AGR-COTY Award --- but the final selection committee may include non-members.

4. Members should consider not using his/her Graveyard Rabbit blog to participate in any challenges, memes, carnivals, or issues unrelated to cemeteries, grave markers, burials customs and the like. Your other blogs are the places for non-related topics: let's try to keep all of the Graveyard Rabbit blogs on subject. By all means, however, use your other blogs for those wonderful activities sponsored by the GeneaBlogger Group and others.

5. It is recommended that members place a copyright notice on his/her Graveyard Rabbit blog. It is also recommended that all copyrighted work, other than your own, be accompanied by owner permission and attribution.

6. It is recommended that members design his/her Graveyard Rabbit blog with readability in mind in the selection of elements for layout, colors, fonts, banners, and the like. Remember, however, that you must include a statement on or beneath your banner that you are a member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits and you must include the association's logo just beneath your banner. [And it would be only polite to credit footnoteMaven for her Association logo design which she has so graciously provided.]

7. It is recommended that members give special consideration to the ease with which readers can interact with your Graveyard Rabbit blog through commenting or emailing. It is further recommended that each member protect his/her blog and The Association of Graveyard Rabbits by always using the moderated comments option.

8. It is recommended that members add some sort of site counter to his/her Graveyard Rabbit blog (Google Analytics or SiteMeter are two of many which are available) so that periodically, as a group, we can determine the reach of the association.

9. Members should consider carefully the type of advertising permitted on his/her Graveyard Rabbit blog.

10. Members of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits are encouraged to invite others to join the Graveyard Rabbits. Please notify me by email the names and emails of the invitees. Invitees who accept membership into The Association of Graveyard Rabbits should send me the name and web address of their Graveyard Rabbit blog prior to publishing to prevent duplicate names.

11. As a member in The Association of Graveyard Rabbits, you should consider submitting articles for the group's monthly e-letter, a quarterly e-publication, and eventually an annual e-journal. [Formats yet to be determined]

12. After the initial year of organization, the membership will be polled to develop a statement of purpose, a statement of goals for the association, a brief set of rules for governance, and to develop a process to select officers/administrators. It is hoped that each member of the Graveyard Rabbits will participate in those discussions, planning, and implementation. [And by that time it is hoped that The Association of Graveyard Rabbits has grown exponentially so that we will have the numbers to consider a formal organization. Think rabbits.]


1. You will be in good company.

2. There will be no dues, no administrative work, no conferences, no committee meetings, nor annual conference. This association's work will be accomplished through the marvels of digital information being transferred at the speed of light via the Internet. Your degree of involvement will be strictly determined by you.

3. Collectively we can add tremendously to the growing body of information so vital to the community of genealogists and family historians who depend heavily upon information recorded in cemeteries and upon grave markers. And in the process, I think we can have an enjoyable time being Graveyard Rabbits.

4. Anyone who joins The Association of Graveyard Rabbits prior to November 1, 2008, and who begins posting on a dedicated Graveyard Rabbit geneaBlog, and who otherwise complies with the three conditions of membership will be known as a Charter Member of the Graveyard Rabbits.


Please cut and paste this form, complete it and email it to Terry Thornton, with the phrase Graveyard Rabbit Application in the subject line:





YOUR LOCATION, City, County, State (required):

Your Email address (required):


PROPOSED DATE OF BLOG ACTIVATION (activation of blog is a requirement of membership):

Upon receipt of application for membership, you will receive a confirmation email from Graveyard Rabbit and a link to the official logo button which must be displayed beneath your membership blog's banner.

When your membership blog is activiated, notify Graveyard Rabbit at the email address above. Upon confimation that you have complied with the three requirements (1) an activated and dedicated blog (2) placement of a notice in your banner that you are a member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits and (3) placement of the official badge/logo/button of the Association beneath your banner, you will be admitted as a member of Graveyard Rabbits.

Those who join and whose membership blogs are activated prior to November 2, 2008, will be henceforth known as a Charter Member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits. Those who join after that date will be known as a Member of the Association of Graveyard Rabbits.

Logo courtesy of footnoteMaven


Henk van Kampen said...

Will this be an international association, or U.S.A. only?

Terry Thornton said...

HENK, A very good question --- and a topic I didn't address in the invitation/discussion about membership.

The association is open to anyone within the blogosphere --- so please consider joining us as we explore cemeteries, grave markers, and burial customs around the world.