JULIE CAHILL TARR
the Chicagoland Graveyard Rabbit
the Graveyard Rabbit of Bloomington-Normal, IL
The tenth in a series featuring the members of
The Graveyard Rabbit Association
presented in order of their membership.
In terms of genealogy, I’m a newbie, but hey, you gotta start somewhere. Although I was always interested in genealogy, I never got serious about it until 2007. In the beginning, it was more about finding out if the family story was true, that we were related to Noah Webster, the “father of the dictionary.” While I found this to be true (he’s my third cousin eight times removed), I became fascinated with all of the information I had accumulated. Luckily, my family kept everything, so I had documents galore at my fingertips.
I am a researcher by nature. I love taking puzzle pieces and figuring out how they all go together. As a result, I became more serious about my family history quest and sought out sources beyond the records I had in my possession.
While Googling a relative, I came a listing on Find A Grave. At first, this struck me as odd. Cemeteries have not been on my “top ten places to visit” list, as they’ve always been a sore subject for me. My paternal grandmother died when I was three, my maternal grandfather died when I was five, my paternal grandfather died when I was seven, and my maternal grandmother and my dad died when I was twelve. Death was all I knew and cemeteries to me were places of sorrow.
For these reasons, I found Find A Grave a little odd, but as I perused it, I realized how much information could be learned from gravestones and other cemetery records. This offered some comfort to me, and as I began to visit the cemeteries were my relatives were laid to rest, I began to feel at peace. I realized that death was a part of life, and that what I was doing, in terms of my family history research, would further preserve those lives for generations to come.
So I’ve overcome my adversity with cemeteries and now rely on them to further my research. It was an honor to be asked by Terry Thornton to join him in the Association of Graveyard Rabbits endeavor, since I now realize how important cemetery research is to the field of genealogy. It is my pleasure to represent graveyards in my homeland of the Chicago area and my current residence of Bloomington-Normal, Illinois through the Association.
Now you know a little bit more about me. Be sure to check out my four blogs (yes, I just added ANOTHER one, which was created on 12 January 2009).
[Note: Julie failed to mention that she has also agreed to take on the responsibility and enormous job of Editor of the Graveyard Rabbit Journal. Elsewhere on this site is information about the Journal and the call for papers Julie has already issued. Julie is a prime example of "busy rabbits are happy rabbits!"]