Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Meet: The Educated Graveyard Rabbit


The Educated Graveyard Rabbit

The twentieth in a series
featuring a member of
The Graveyard Rabbit Association

Some of Ye Rabbits may not be aware I am the rabbit behind the curtain that cranks this column out brings this column to you each and every week. I felt silly writing about myself and then presenting myself, so I have asked a professional interviewer to do it for me.

Thomas MacEntee

Interviewer Extraordinaire

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sheri Fenley who runs The Educated Graveyard Rabbit blog and asked her a few questions about her involvement with the Association of Graveyard Rabbits – as well as some random, off-the-wall questions thrown in for fun!

What Graveyard Rabbit site(s) do you run?

What first interested you in joining the GYR Association?

The chance to finally be a Bunny. Then Terry Thornton of Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi told me his name really wasn't Hugh Hefner. But I was already signed up so thought I'd give it a go.

Did you always have a fascination with cemeteries? Or did this develop out of your genealogy work?

No, truth be told, I have always been creeped out by cemeteries. It was a few years ago while researching my family onsite in Lincoln County, North Carolina I started feeling a little more comfortable setting foot in one. I really had no choice as the camera I owned had no zoom feature. I wanted photos of the headstones of my ancestors so I wrapped rosary beads around my neck, sprinkled a little holy water behind my ears and got my close-ups.

Boxers or briefs?

For me or my man? Doesn't matter, the answer is the same for both - none. A little fresh air is good for you!

Do your family members think you are a “little off center” with respect to your cemetery obsession?

Definitely more than a little off centered. But Shsh! They only know about my relationship with genealogy. I haven't told them about the cemeteries yet.

Which situation evokes an immediate response of “Oh! Oh! Stop the car!”
- you spy a yard sale in the distance
- you notice a cemetery from ¼ mile away
- you see a sexy man on the side of the road
- from afar you spy Elvis with your eye

A yard sale? OMG I love yard sales, to pass one and not stop is tempting the fate of St. Vincent de Paul, patron saint of yard sales.

A cemetery? Most certainly but only if they are not conducting business at the time.

A sexy man on the side of the road? This works out best when my husband isn't in the car with me, but of course I would stop. He might need some roadside assistance.

About Elvis, I am sure this is blasphemy, but he really isn't my first choice in the "Hunk a, Hunk a, Burnin' Love" department.

Paper or plastic?

Paper - they make the grooviest party hats.

What advice do you have for anyone considering joining GYR and creating their own GYR-affiliated blog?

Why are you still here reading about it? Grab yourself some floppy ears, a big fuzzy tail and join us. The GYR blogs are such an wonderful way to give back or pay it forward to the genealogical and historical community.

Thomas MacEntee may be reached via Twitter (@geneabloggers), e-mail (tmacentee@gmail)
Ask about his group rates! Oh wait, wrong tag line.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

New Article Available in the GYR Online Journal

The newest edition of the GYR Online Journal is now available. This week's edition debuts the Photo Monument column by Julie Cahill Tarr. In this article, Julie shares with us a wonderful gravestone rich with symbolism. What does it all mean? Read the article and find out.

Next week we will debut The Educated Rabbit, written by our very own educated genealogist, Sheri Fenley.

Meet: "The Graveyard Rabbit of New York Rural Cemeteries"


The nineteenth is a series
featuring a member of
The Graveyard Rabbit Association

For someone who already runs 10 different blogs or websites, you wouldn't think of Thomas MacEntee as a candidate for a Graveyard Rabbit site. But as he says, "I've been able to get so much out of visiting various New York cemeteries that I felt I needed to give something back to the genealogy community." That's why he created The Graveyard Rabbit of New York Rural Cemeteries ("GYR-NYRC").

GYR-NYRC lists various "rural cemeteries" throughout New York state. During the mid-19th century the state was a leader in a movement to move cemeteries from urban settings and churchyards to locations away from the city and filled with landscaped terrain. The motivation for moving the cemeteries came from huge cholera and typhoid epidemics which swept much of the state in the 1830s and 1840s.

In his genealogy research, Thomas has visited many of these "rural cemeteries" which tend to be multi-denominational, some with separate sections for Catholic or Jewish burials. In many small towns, when you say "cemetery" there is only one and most often it is a rural cemetery.

Thomas' ancestors inhabited much of New York state, some as part of the Yankee Migration of the late 1700s (Austin, Crandall) and others having arrived either from Holland in the mid 1600s (Putman), France in the late 1600s (Freer) or Ireland in the early 1800s (McEntee, MacEntee).

So when he isn't traipsing through some bone yard on one of his genealogy research trips, you can find him back home in Chicago working on various genealogy and technology-related enterprises. Thomas manages the
GeneaBloggers website as well as the GeneaBloggers on Facebook group and Facebook Bootcamp for Genea-bloggers which is a great tech how-to resource. In addition to that, he is the National Genealogy and Technology Examiner for Examiner.com, and seems to live on Twitter as of late. Thomas also writes a regular column entitled Genea-MacGyver for Digital Genealogist magazine. Rumor has it that Thomas does not sleep, that he may in fact have Romanian blood and be related to Vlad the Impaler, and only comes out at night.

Contact Thomas MacEntee via Twitter (
@geneabloggers), e-mail (tmacentee@gmail) or by visiting any one of his websites or blogs (see above).

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Reminder: Submissions for the Carnival Due 3/25

Don't forget, carnival submissions due on March 25th.

The topic for the April 2009 edition will be burial customs.

Articles could discuss the evolution of customs, unusual customs, customs for the armed services, or customs for a specific religion. Basically anything related to burial customs is fair game.

Submit your blog article using our carnival submission form or email Julie. Please be sure to include a quick blurb about your article in the "Remarks" field.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Article Available in the GYR Online Journal

The newest edition of the GYR Online Journal is now available. This week, we debut A Rabbit's Tale, which is a multi-author column. In this article, written by JoLyn Day, we are introduced to a new website, Names in Stone. Be sure to read the article where JoLyn explains the site's purpose and the many functions available.

Next week we will debut the Photo Monument column, written by Julie Cahill Tarr.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Meet: John Newmark, Author of Arnevet Beth Olam - St. Louis


The eighteenth in a series
featuring a member of
The Graveyard Rabbit Association

I’ve been asked to describe my interest in genealogy and how I became a Graveyard Rabbit a couple weeks early, however, the timing is appropriate.

I’ve always enjoyed puzzles. My favorite magazine as a youth was GAMES, and my favorite puzzle was the Logic Puzzle, where you would be given 20 statements, and from those 20 statements you had to match five people with five cars, five professions, and five ice cream flavors. My second favorite was the crossword puzzle, but the crossword puzzle often required knowledge I didn’t have as a kid; I knew if I couldn’t solve the logic puzzle it was my own fault.
Also when I was a kid I was taught by my older siblings that you had to hold your breath while passing by a cemetery in the car. I knew where my paternal great grandparents were buried, but the family didn’t visit the graves on a regular basis.

All four sets of my paternal second great grandparents arrived in St.Louis between 1880 and 1910, so I grew up with many cousins and other relations, many of whom I had no idea how we were related. I am horrible with remembering names, and I always got lost when all the relationships were explained to me. Today I know I have a verbal learning style. That is, if I write something down, or repeat it over and over, I will remember it. But I could listen to my family repeat the information to me over and over, and I would keep forgetting what they had said.

My great grandfather, Barney Newmark, often claimed he was born on March 17, 1886 in Dublin, Ireland. However, he was actually born in Warsaw, Poland. (And there is some question as to the accuracy of the date.) He spent fourteen years in London, England, from age 7-21, before coming to America, but he likely never set foot in Ireland. Still, every St. Patrick’s Day, the family would talk about our "Irish roots", and Barney’s blarney.

I also told the tale to some of my friends, and in late March or early April of 2007, one of these friends sent me the 1920 census page they had found on HeritageQuest, which contained Barney and his family. I had no idea about the genealogical treasure trove available online, but I quickly found out. And as I began organizing and writing down all the information, a funny thing happened. Some of you may have predicted this a couple paragraphs ago. A verbal learner, I was able to remember it, and able to comprehend the relationships that had eluded me for decades.

I had been blogging since 2002, but my new genealogy research began to take over my blog to the point I decided it deserved a separate home. When The Association of Graveyard Rabbits was announced, I immediately decided I wanted to join. By this time I had learned that there were eight Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis, and I had relatives in most of them, though I had only visited three. Long quitted of the superstition of holding my breath, I am fascinated by the history on the tombstones.

Since I wanted to focus the blog on the Jewish cemeteries of St.Louis, I decided to translate the name “Graveyard Rabbit” into Hebrew, and chose “Arnevet Beth Olam”. Beth Olam literally means House of Eternity, but it is commonly used for cemeteries. Unfortunately, my hopes for the blog haven’t materialized, and there has been a dearth of posts. My original intention required actively visiting the cemeteries, and I am unable to visit the cemeteries during the week due to my work hours, and all of the cemeteries are closed on Saturday for the Sabbath, leaving Sundays. And even when the weather cooperates, my life hasn’t been. But I have decided even if I don’t get to the cemeteries as quickly as I hoped, I can find out more about the cemeteries through online and library research, and I will continue sharing what I find.

TransylvanianDutch Genealogy
Arnevet Beth Olam – St. Louis http://arnevetbetholam-stl.blogspot.com/
I am also on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter (as TransDutch)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Article Available in the GYR Online Journal

The newest edition of the GYR Online Journal is now available. This week's column is Tech T.I.P. with our technical guru Denise Olson. In this article, Denise discusses various ways to increase the visibility of your graveyard research and information. There's a lot of great information in this article so be sure to check it out.

Next week we will debut our multi-author column A Rabbit's Tale. The first article for this column will be written by JoLyn Day and will be available on March 19th.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Meet: "The Graveyard Rabbit of Lancaster County"


The seventeenth in a series

featuring a member of

The Graveyard Rabbit Association

presented in order of their membership

I haven’t always been Lancaster’s Graveyard Rabbit ~ I used to be a graveyard bunny wherever I could find a graveyard! You see, I find the history of my family and the country, in general, fascinating, and what better place to find it but in a Cemetery? Since I felt I had to “regionalize” my self for this group, I picked the County I live in, and it’s Cemeteries are so historic, volumes could be written on them.

One of my addictions would be collecting books. My collection of books pertaining to Cemeteries is growing and, of course, invaluable to my Graveyard Rabbit blogging. I have over three bookcases of books pertaining to my genealogy passion, including area histories, family histories, research methodology, dictionaries, atlases, biographies and anything else that I think pertains to my passion! I find them in thrift stores, at garage sales, used book sales, online and just anywhere else they seem to pop up. My husband says I don't have enough days left on this earth to read all the books I have. My theory is if I get just a little out of each one, it's money well spent.

I was born and raised in Hawaii and Guam, as many already know, and my parents finally brought us “Stateside” when I was in the 8th grade. We settled in Riverside, California where I lived off and on until the mid 80’s when my husband received a promotion to Tehachapi, ever heard of it?, California. My husband took an early retirement and it was off to Pennsylvania! We have looked back only because our entire family still lives there! I go back several times a year for my "grandkid fix!" In fact when you read this, I will be in California helping my mother (age 89) pack up for her move into a retirement community.

. . . and I'm sure you want to know about my grandkids! Jim and I had 4 children between us. Jim's sons Scott and Tim were raised by his previous wife in Seattle and Jim and I raised my two, Blaine and Paige, in the Riverside area. Scott has three children, Donald, 22, Lauren, 18 and Stephen 18. Tim who died in the service, had a daughter Jacqualyn who is now 24 and she has a brother by her mother's second marriage, Zachary who is 18. We consider Zachary a grandson, too! Blaine is my oldest child and an Air Traffic Controller in Ontario, CA. He has our youngest grandson (a real surprise to them!) and Ellis is almost 4 years old. Paige is an Office Manager for an Optometrist and has two, Michael, almost 21 and serving in the USCG in Alameda and Hallie, 18, studying to be a nurse. We love our families and are proud of each and every one of them!

4 generations - Linda, her mother, her daughter Paige and granddaughter Hallie

My genealogy passion started in 1980 when my father died. I inherited a box of family photos, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, family papers and artifacts. Among them was "Susannah's Bible" and you can read about it on my blog. This piqued my curiosity and I was off and running with my new interest. My interest has turned into my passion and as of this year I have over 9K documented people in my database. This, of course, includes allied lines, because, after all, they provide clues!

I volunteer for RAOGK and have for years! I also volunteer for Find-A-Grave and the local Historical Society. I am a life member of one Historical Society, and a member of four others. I could belong to the DAR on four different lines, but haven’t taken the time to do so. I love researching, reading and exploring cemeteries. There is not enough time in the day to do everything I want to do!

Linda and her 3rd cousin Kathy at the headstone of their common ancestors
Ephraim and Catherine Auxer Niess
Harrisburg Cemetery, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

We are a team, Jim and I, in my Graveyard pursuits. What annoys me the most is he usually finds the headstone I am looking for! He helps find them, clean them up, set them up in their right place and photograph them. He swears there is not a Cemetery in mid-state Pennsylvania that we have not stopped in or I have not commented that “I have people there!” We have been known to take road trips just to see another cemetery. We both love the tranquility, history and beautiful crypts, headstones and monuments that are in Pennsylvania’s Cemeteries.

Our latest road trip took us an hour away to see the old Klopps Cemetery on the border of Lebanon and Berks County. It was well worth the drive to see the fascinating and beautiful old headstones, many of which you will be seeing as I get a chance to blog about them. Even though it was close to freezing, I could not get back into the car! I had to see the next headstone!

My blogs could be termed B*O*R*I*N*G by some, and fascinating by others. I try to include the history and/or references when they are available. I hesitate to leave anything out, and I’m a stickler for detail. I enjoy writing and feel that it is my way of letting future generations know who I was and what I thought and felt. To that end, I have several blogs. My other blogs are:

My genealogy blog

Our Travels and Experiences here and there

As I come across interesting obituaries, I try to add them and tell the story of the person. I’ve been rather lax in this effort recently.

I am transcribing journals from my family. I have started with my father’s memoirs and will add my grandmother’s, and great-grandfather’s, and great-great-grandmother’s. These are my gift to my family.

I have worked on my webpage for 10 or so years and it is full of headstones, obituaries and stories. Check it out at:

You now know, aging but ageless, Linda in a nutshell.

Friday, March 6, 2009

In Need of a Few Good Rabbits

Yesterday we announced the debut of the Graveyard Rabbits Online Journal, which will feature weekly columns.

One of those columns, A Rabbit's Tale, offers the chance for any member to write an article about anything related to graveyards and the like. There are five dates up for grabs for 2009.
  • May 14
  • July 9
  • September 3
  • October 29
  • December 24
If you are interested in writing an article for this column, please email Julie with your article idea and your first and second choice of dates.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

This just in...

The new Graveyard Rabbits Online Journal is now a reality!

About a month ago we announced that instead of producing a quarterly journal we would create an online journal blog for our members. At that time, we also decided it would be secured to members only. After receiving some much-welcomed feedback from our rabbits, we decided the journal would be open to anyone.

The online journal will feature a column each week, available on Thursdays. To kick things off, our first column, The History Hare, written by our very own footnoteMaven, is now available. Next week, Denise Olson will debut Tech T.I.P., available on March 12.

So hop on over and visit our new online journal!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Meet "The Graveyard Rabbit of Eastern Tennessee"


The Graveyard Rabbit of Eastern Tennessee

The sixteenth in a series

featuring a member of

The Graveyard Rabbit Association

presented in order of their membership

Hi Everyone! My name is Elyse Doerflinger and I am a 19 year old genealogist. I currently live in Southern California and I am a full time student. Unfortunately, now that school has started, I have a lot less time for genealogy than I would like.

I currently write two blogs: My general genealogy blog, Elyse's Genealogy Blog (http://elysesgenes.blogspot.com/) and my Graveyard Rabbit of Eastern Tennessee (http://elysesgyrb.blogspot.com/). I try to post to these blogs as often as I can, but school takes up most of my time.

Feel free to email me at GenealogistElyse@gmail.com or find me on Facebook and Twitter. I love talking to other genealogists because they really are friendly people - and they are so willing to share what they've learned. I strive to be the best genealogist that I can be - and networking with genealogists helps me do that. Plus, I love meeting the people behind the columns I've been reading for years.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Graveyard Rabbits Carnival - March 2009

Welcome to the March 2009 edition of graveyard rabbits carnival. We had an impressive turn out for our debut issue; 23 entries by 22 authors. Many thanks to everyone who submitted an article to make this a great premier carnival!

Our first edition is dedicated to "exceptional finds." We've got unique and unusual gravestones, interesting cemetery stories related to war, forgotten cemeteries, and even unique ways to remember your loved one.

So, come on in and tour our exceptional finds!

Cheryl Palmer presents Skull and Crossbones posted at Graveyard Rabbit of South Alameda County. Cheryl explores the possible meanings of the skull and crossbones symbol.

Cherie presents The Graveyard Rabbit: New Carnival on the Block posted at Still Digging for Roots. Cherie says, "This was a surprising find for me, a local historical figure."

Randy Seaver presents Mormon Battalion Memorial at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery posted at South San Diego County Graveyard Rabbit. Randy shares with us a unique monument in a San Diego cemetery located on the Point Loma peninsula.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze presents Graveyard Rabbits - Sisters killed on board Galway Castle in WW1 posted at Olive Tree Genealogy Blog. Lorine shows us a memorial card for sisters killed on the same day in 1918.

Richard O. Cheek presents In Flanders Fields . . . posted at I'd Sooner Be A Graveyard Rabbit. Richard writes an interesting story related to World War I.

Midge Frazel presents Jane SMITH posted at Granite in My Blood. Midge says, "Jane Smith died at 98 and when she did she left more that 350 descendants alive. What was her most ardent wish? Is this gravestone all that unusual?"

Jayne presents Lost Train Lines #4 Spring Vale Cemetery Railway line posted at Lost & Found. Jayne shares an interesting story about a railway used to transport coffins and visitors in Melbourne, Australia.

Henk van Kampen presents The gypsy graves of St. Barbara posted at The graveyard rabbit of Utrecht and Het Gooi. Henk shows us some "striking" graves at the St. Barbara Catholic Cemetery in Utrecht.

Donna presents An Exceptional Cemetery Find posted at What's Past is Prologue. Donna explored Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France while vacationing in 2007 and shares with us some wonderful photos.

Janet Iles presents Graveyard Rabbit of Grey County, Ontario: Is it a tree trunk used as a gravemarker? posted at Graveyard Rabbit of Grey County, Ontario. Janet shares an "unusual grave marker" found in Greenwood Cemetery (Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada).

Brian presents Graveyard Rabbits Carnival, Manly Family Coffin Plates posted at Ancestors At Rest. Brian discusses coffin plates and shares some from his collection of hundreds.

Becky Wiseman presents Tombstone Tuesday :: Malcomson Family posted at kinexxions. Becky says, "The Malcomson Family is not related to me but their monument was one that just begged to be photographed."

Jonathan Smith presents Folk Markers and African-American Cemeteries posted at Cemetery Space. Jonathan says, "This is an early article from my blog, but it has a couple of my favorite markers."

Sheri Fenley presents My Exceptional Find posted at The Educated Graveyard Rabbit. Sheri found an interesting way to preserve a loved one's memory.

Linda Hughes Hiser presents The Graveyard Rabbit--A New Carnival on the Block posted at Flipside. Linda shares a "fascinating old pioneer tombstones embedded into the back wall of the church."

GrrlScientist presents two articles posted at Living the Scientific Life. The first, Hietaniemi Hautausmaa "is a picture from the Orthodox portion of Hietaniemi Hautausmaa (Hietaniemi Cemetery), Helsinki, Finland." The second article, "is a photo essay of Helsinki's famous cemetery, Hietaniemi hautausmaa."

Brian Zalewski presents Mrs. Elizabeth Armstrong posted at Graveyard Rabbit of Southeastern Wisconsin. Brian found an interesting marker and story related to the Black Hawk War.

Smallest Leaf presents A forgotten corner of New York City: Green-Wood Cemetery posted at 100 Years in America. Smallest Leaf found an interesting short informational video showcasing Green-Wood Cemetery.

Amanda presents An exceptional way to find a cemetery posted at A Tale of Two Ancestors. Amanda says this is "the most rare and unique way I have ever found a cemetery."

footnoteMaven presents Even Unto Death - Behind The Freezer posted at The History Hare. footnoteMaven shares a personal story and an exceptional find behind the freezer.

Julie Cahill Tarr presents No Names, Just Numbers posted at The Graveyard Rabbit of Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. Julie shows us the county farm cemetery located in Bloomington, Illinois.

M. Diane Rogers presents Boal Chapel Memorial Gardens in North Vancouver, BC, Canada - Winter 2009 posted at The Graveyard Rabbit of British Columbia, Canada. Diane shares with us a "cremation cemetery" in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

That concludes the premier edition of our carnival. Be sure to join us for our next edition!

The topic for the April 2009 edition will be burial customs.

Articles could discuss the evolution of customs, unusual customs, customs for the armed services, or customs for a specific religion. Basically anything related to burial customs is fair game.

Submit your blog article using our carnival submission form or email Julie. Please be sure to include a quick blurb about your article in the "Remarks" field.

Submissions are due by March 25th.