Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Article In The GYRabbit Online Journal


Often when researching, I am taken completely by surprise when a simple "nothing extraordinary" photograph or piece of ephemera, turns out to be anything but simple. When research starts it often takes on a life of its own and literally explodes.

So it was with a group of visiting cards I purchased. The group was of fifty plain, name only, no decoration, visiting cards, early 1900s. I purchased them because the lot description said there were two cards with black borders. I hoped these were mourning cards, but the seller didn't know and was just getting rid of some paper ephemera he had purchased at an estate sale. I purchased them, hoping they'd be what I was looking for.

The History Hare takes a look at Mourning Visiting Cards
You'll find the rest of this article in
the Graveyard Rabbit Online Journal.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Spread the Word – Part 6: The Real World

Up to this point, this article series discussed many “spread the word” opportunities in the digital world.  This final article will give you ideas for sharing information about your blog and the Association in the real word.

Many opportunities abound in our own communities, especially if our blog focuses on a particular geographic area.  Everyone has different strengths, so I will provide a variety of things you can do to “spread the word” in your community (or that of your blog’s focus).

View of Old Parish Cemetery (Bridgewater, MA), courtesy of Midge Frazel, used with permission.

Write an Article

Certainly we can all write a good article—just look at our blogs.  So take a moment to think of the outlets that would be interested in an article about the Association and/or your blog.  You could write an article for a local or state genealogical or historical society journal or newsletter.  You could contact a local newspaper to see if you could write an article for them (or be interviewed for an article written by their staff).  Even consider a local cemetery preservation group that has a newsletter.  Have a local Daughters or Sons of the American Revolution chapter, or other relevant association chapters?  See if they would be interested in running an article in their newsletter.

Give a Presentation

Again, think about the outlets that would be interested in a presentation about the Association and/or your blog.  These would likely be the same as those mentioned above, with the exception of the newspaper.  Contact these groups to see if they’d like to have you give a presentation.  If you do give a presentation, consider having a short handout that gives them information about the Association, including what we’re about, a link to the anchor blog, and how they can join.  And be sure to include a link to your blog.

Get Involved

Contact local cemeteries and let them know what you are doing.  Some of them may be so interested that they might provide you with lots of great information to share on your blog.  Others may want to involve you in projects they have (or would like to have) such as transcribing records, preservation projects, or photographing tombstones.  Likewise, local genealogical and historical societies may be working on projects that you could get involved with.

Contact a Library

Many libraries, especially genealogical, historical, and public libraries with a genealogy and/or history section, love to put out information relevant to the patrons.  Contact the librarian and see if they’d be willing to put out an information sheet about the Association.  If they are, then create a short piece, similar to the handout mentioned in “Give a Presentation” above.

Recruit a Rabbit

Consider getting other cemetery enthusiasts in your area involved.  Maybe they’d like to become a member.  Perhaps they don’t have the time to maintain a blog, but maybe they’d be willing to write an occasional article for your blog.

Are there other ways the you’ve been “spreading the word” about the Association or your blog?  We’d love to hear about them!  Please leave a comment and let us know what you’ve been up to.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Reminder: GYR Carnival Submissions Due 6/25

Don’t forget, submissions for the July 2009 edition of the GYR carnival are due on June 25th.

The “challenge” for the July 2009 edition of the GYR Carnival is obituaries.  That’s right!  This one is going to be a challenge of sorts.  The “rules” are quite simple:  Find a grave, then find the obituary, or vice versa.  Post your finds to your blog and submit it to the carnival.

Submissions for this edition are due June 25th.  Please submit your article using the blog carnival submission form, and be sure to include a brief description in the remarks field.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New Article Available in the GYR Online Journal

This week, Stephanie Lincecum tells us how to survey a cemetery in her Graveyard Guru column.

I’ve been asked this question more than once, so I decided to tackle it in this edition of the Graveyard Guru. The expert I turned to when I first starting surveying cemeteries is the same one I look to with such matters to this day, Sharon DeBartolo Carmack (

Be sure to read How Do I Survey a Cemetery? to learn more.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Spread the Word – Part 5: Other Online Opportunities

So far we have covered many ways in which to “spread the word” about your blog and the AGYR. We’ve looked at blog and other online directories, social bookmarking sites, and photo-sharing sites. This post will look at a myriad of other opportunities for us to contribute our thoughts and ideas as well as “spread the word.”


Profiles are a great way to communicate who you are and your interests to others. This is a great place to include your AGYR membership. You could put a line in stating “Association of Graveyard Rabbits member” and in some cases, you can even include a link to your blog.

Here are some sites where you can create/update your profile:

Special Interest Groups

There are many groups and forums online related to cemeteries that you can join. This is a great way to share your knowledge and converse with like-minded people. It’s also a great way to drive traffic to your blog.

Here are some groups and forums of interest to GYRs:

Other Ideas

Email Signature – Be sure to include a link to your blog(s) in your email signature to help drive traffic to your blog.

Comment on Other Blogs – This is another great way to drive traffic to your blog, as well as share your thoughts and knowledge. Be sure to include a link to your blog(s) when you leave a comment.

Guest Columns – Consider running a guest column every once in awhile to give others exposure. For example, you might consider asking an undertaker, a cemetery staffer, or another expert to write an article for your blog. You might also consider asking other GYRs if you could contribute to their blogs. Many of us have a GYR blog for a specific area, likely located where we live. But in our genealogy research, we find information from all over; you may consider writing something about your find or the cemetery for a blog that covers that area. Contact the blog owner to see if they are interested in featuring you and an article.

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK) – Sign up to be a RAOGK volunteer and offer to take photographs for cemeteries in your area. If you have set up an email signature to include your GYR blog, this is one way to spread it around when you respond to these requests. Second, it’s a great way to obtain more photographs and cemetery information to be included on your blog. Lastly, RAOGK has started to accept links to members’ website to be included in the monthly newsletter, so this is another great way to share your blog.

Can you think of any other online opportunities that have not yet been covered? If so, please share them in the comments of this post.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Hello Graveyard Rabbits. The Association has been receiving many questions regarding the meaning of symbols on headstones discovered by our members. Graveyard Rabbits are the most knowledgeable and generous group of people around. So, knowing that, we will be posing those questions to you, our members. Can you help solve the mystery? Robin Inge, The Graveyard Rabbit of Wichita County, Texas, brings us our first Mystery! If you have the answer please leave a comment below. GYRabbits, we're counting on you.

What is in the Meaning of a Headstone?

Have you ever thought about what is in the meaning of a headstone? I had not until recently. When I looked at it, I saw a marker telling me the date of birth and date of death and sometimes even date of marriage and the name of the individual(s). I never paid attention to the pictures of carvings on the stones. Recently a question was asked about two headstones found during a search. I found the stones interesting and inquired more about them. No one knew anything about the stones, and only a little information about the individuals and non of it matched the headstones.

W.R.B. W. R. Brown Aug. 7, 1854 April 15, 1925 Brown

Information was provided stating that all census showed Mr. Brown was a farmer. He was born 7 Aug 1854 and died 15 April 1925 in Upshur County, Texas and buried at Simpsonville Cemetery. The cemetery is located about 11 miles Southwest of Pittsburg, Texas in a small town called Simpsonville, also known as, Thomas, Texas.

Now the photo shows the marker to be in the shape of an ANVIL, which is a tool usually used for forging metal. The first Anvils were made from stone and the changed to bronze and then later to iron. The Anvil has evolved over time and the most primitive were made of simple block form. The first Anvil's were used by blacksmiths.

In the photo of W. R. Browns Headstone, you will see another small block laying on top of it. I believe that this piece may be the foot stone, but for some reason it has been placed on top of the actual headstone.

Headstone: Charlie Couch

Now this stone is a little more interesting in that there are no dates placed on this one. And it is actually separated from the actual headstone on Mr. Couch.

Charlies was born to J. Frank Couch of Georgia and Alice Elizabeth Wright of Texas. Charlie was born in Simpsonville, Texas on 3 September 1886 and died of heart failure on 11 January 1958 and worked as a grocer in the little town of Simpsonville. Now the death certificate shows that Charlie was cremated when he died. The strange thing about this stone is there is another stone located next to the Headstone with the carving of a leg, which to me looks like it is running maybe. Charlie is buried with his son Billy who died on July 1944. Charlies son Billy, served in the Air Force and and is listed as one of the men and women who are considered as MIA's from World War II. You can view information about Billy on the Upshur County website on TexGenWeb and it will give information regarding his service. After Charlie's son Billy died a headstone was erected and both of them now lay together.

COUCH Charlie C.
Sept. 3, 1886

Jan. 18, 1958

Billy L.

Apr. 21, 1925
June - 1944


What is the mystery about these headstones? What is the meaning of them? I am hoping that someone can explain to me what the meaning of these particular stones are. For now Happy Hunting and see ya around next time.

(Disclaimer: Photos and Permission to use given by Elain Marting, County Coordinator for Upshur County Texas on TexGenWeb)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Spread the Word – Part 4: Photo Sites

In this part of the Spread the Word series, we’ll take a look at what you can do with photo-sharing sites.

There are many photo-sharing sites out there and it really boils down to personal preference.  Instead of covering the many aspects of each site, this article will give you ideas on what you can do to “spread the word” at the site of your choosing.

First, in case you do not currently use a photo-sharing site, or if you want to explore other options, here is a list of the most popular:

  • Flickr – This Yahoo! service allows you to upload and share 100MB of photos and videos for free.  Unlimited uploads available with a paid subscription.
  • Picasa – This Google service allows you to upload and share 1024MB of photos for free.  Paid subscription options allow additional storage space.
  • Photobucket – This site allows you to upload 1GB of photos and videos for free.  Paid subscription option allows for 10GB of content.

So what can you do with photo-sharing sites to help spread the GYR word?  Quite a bit, actually.

Profile – Some photo-sharing sites allow you to create a profile.  Here, you could include that you are a member of the Association of Graveyard Rabbits.  I would highly recommend this especially if the site you are using is solely dedicated to graveyard and/or genealogy-related photos.

Albums – For site where you can create multiple albums, I highly recommend creating an album either specifically for cemeteries, or break albums down by the cemetery itself.  Also, consider adding that you are a member of the Association of Graveyard Rabbits to the description of any album related to cemeteries.

Tags & Photo Descriptions – Be sure to include a brief description of the photo.  Also be sure to include tags (if the option is available), such as cemetery, graveyard, and gravestone.

Groups & Galleries – A few photo-sharing sites have groups or galleries that are collections submitted by multiple users for a particular category or topic.  Following are a two to explore:


Are you currently using a photo-sharing site to store your graveyard photos?  Feel free to post a link to your profile or album(s) in the comments so others can find you and take a peek.

Do you have a favorite photo-sharing site?  What is it and why?  Post your answer in the comments.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

New Article Available in the GYR Online Journal

This week, Randy Seaver is up with his Digging for Answers column.

Making Contact With Cemeteries

Our question this month came from Russ, who asked:  “What is the best approach at making contact with ‘the office?’”

How did Randy answer?  Click here to find out!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Spread The Word – Part 3: Other Directories

So far in this series, we’ve covered blog directories and social bookmarking sites.  In this article, we will look at a four other directories available to us.  Some of these will require approval in order to be listed.  An explanation of each, along with instructions on how to submit your blog, follows.

Networked Blogs

Networked Blogs is actually a blog directory of sorts, but I didn’t include it in Part 1, partly because I forgot.  Evidentially my intuition got to me, making me forget, as this is not a traditional blog directory.  Instead, it’s an application inside Facebook, so in order to use it, you will need a Facebook account.

This link will take you to the Facebook Fan Page for Networked Blogs, where you can also access the application.  Once you have installed the application you can add your blog(s).

  1. Click on the Add a New Blog button.
  2. Fill in the information and click Next.
  3. Follow the instructions to verify that you are the author.

Now you are listed in the Networked Blogs directory.  Start by inviting friends to follow your blog.  Once you have seven followers, Networked Blogs will pull in your blog’s feed, which you can then publish to your Facebook wall/profile.  It’s a powerful application and has many other features, which I encourage you to explore.

Cyndi’s List

Most genealogists are aware of Cyndi’s List, which is a listing of online genealogy resources.  This is a great place to add your GYR blog(s).

To submit your blog, head over to this link, read the guidelines, then fill out the form.  Your blog will be stored on the site as “uncategorized” until Cyndi is able to place a permanent link under a category.  But know that it is still searchable while uncategorized.


Linkpendium is similar to Cyndi’s List.  It’s a huge directory of genealogy links, broken down by location (USA) and Surname.  Many of our GYR blogs are locality-specific, so this is a great place to submit them.

To submit your blog:

  1. Visit Linkpendium’s home page.
  2. Navigate to the appropriate state and county.
  3. Navigate to the “Cemetery” category within the county.
  4. Click on the Add your favorite Websites to this page link.
  5. Enter the URL and a description of your blog.
  6. Click the Submit button.

If your blog covers multiple counties, submit it to each county.


Many genealogists are familiar with the GenWeb projects.  The highest level is WorldGenWeb, which is then broken down by continents, countries, states, and counties.  The project is dedicated to providing genealogical and historical resources for genealogists.  This is a great place to submit your blogs.

You’ll want to start at WorldGenWeb and navigate to the lowest level, in many cases, a county.  Find the site owner’s email link and send an email asking them to include your blog on their site.  Provide a brief description so they can include it with the link.

Again, if your blog covers multiple places, submit it to each one.


Do you know of other directory-type places we can submit our GYR blogs to for inclusion?  If so, please share them with us by leaving a comment.

Call For Submissions – GYR Carnival July 2009 Edition


The “challenge” for the July 2009 edition of the GYR Carnival is obituaries.  That’s right!  This one is going to be a challenge of sorts.  The “rules” are quite simple:  Find a grave, then find the obituary, or vice versa.  Post your finds to your blog and submit it to the carnival.

Submissions for this edition are due June 25th.  Please submit your article using the blog carnival submission form, and be sure to include a brief description in the remarks field.

Upcoming Topics

  • August - Favorite Photo
  • September – Carousel
  • October – Funeral Cards
  • November – Write Your Own Epitaph
  • December – In The News

Graveyard Rabbits Carnival – June 2009

Welcome to the June 2009 edition of Graveyard Rabbits Carnival.  The topic for this edition is Veterans’ Memorials.  There are 15 great tributes to veterans, so sit back, and salute our heroes!

Elyse presents Honoring Their Service and Their Lives posted at The Graveyard Rabbit Student!, saying, "The story of the life of my uncle, Eugene Doerflinger - his life was taken way too soon."

Jennifer Dyer presents Becoming a Part of History: How a Civil War Veteran Helped posted at New Orleans Ancestry Blogspot, saying, "How a civil War Veteran in my family's ancestry connected me with the great historical events in this country and helped me appreciate my family's involvement in them."

Dorene Paul presents Ohio Veterans Home Cemetery posted at Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay, saying: "The Ohio Veterans Home in Sandusky, Ohio is the final resting place of hundreds of Ohio's veterans. A museum in found on the grounds of the Home, where many veterans still reside today. Thank you Veterans for your years of service to our county!"

Henk van Kampen presents War Graves posted at The Graveyard Rabbit of Utrecht and Het Gooi, saying, "An impression of war graves and monuments in Utrecht cemeteries."

Midge Frazel presents Civil War Monument posted at Granite in My Blood, saying: "Communities cared about their Civil War dead so much that they often put up memorials in memory of all vets who gave their lives. Here's a lovely memorial in my hometown."

DM Smith presents Pine Hill Cemetery Auburn, Alabama posted at History from a Southern Belle.

Linda Hughes Hiser presents Grave Yard Rabbit Carnival--Memorial Day posted at Flipside, saying, "My Roster of Veterans"

Denise Olson presents Savannah's Vietnam Memorial posted at Graveyard Rabbit of Moultrie Creek, saying, "A visit to a Savannah memorial created by family members includes an unexpected surprise."

Randy Seaver presents The La Vista GAR Memorial and Civil War soldiers posted at South San Diego County Graveyard Rabbit, saying: "La Vista Memorial Park in National City (South San Diego County, California) has a GAR memorial and six stones identifying Civil War soldiers near the memorial. There are other Civil War soldiers out in the unendowed section of the cemetery."

Kimberly J. Sawtelle presents Frock Coat and Flag: Union Soldier Markers in Central Maine posted at On a Grave Subject.

Janet Iles presents Veterans - We Will Remember Them posted at Graveyard Rabbit of Grey County, Ontario, saying, "During a walk through Greenwood Cemetery, I found graveyard markers showing that the person had been a veteran."

David Weller presents Pvt. Lee George Bobb | May 19, 1925 - March 13, 1945 posted at StandingStones.

Stephanie Lincecum presents Great Great Grandpa Peavy's Application for an Artificial Arm | Southern Graves posted at Southern Graves, saying, "My great-great-grandfather Michael Peavy was a veteran of the Civil War. His tombstone tells of the unit in which he served, but it doesn't tell you that he lost his arm during a major battle."

Judith Richards Shubert presents Major John Alexander Formwalt Honored Pioneer posted at Cemeteries with Texas Ties, saying, this is a "biographical sketch of Major John A. Formwalt, Texas Civil War Veteran, wounded in Battle of Franklin.”  Judith shares “his final resting place, along with his wife, in Granbury Cemetery, Hood County, Texas."

Julie Cahill Tarr present A Little Corner of Evergreen Cemetery posted at The Graveyard Rabbit of Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, saying: “Back in the far northeast corner, in the Old City Section, is a small lot where approximately 70 U.S. military veterans are buried.  Many of these veterans served prior to the Civil War; a handful served after.”

That concludes this edition. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.  Be sure to join us for our next edition, where the topic will be Obituaries.

It's Intermission Time!

The "Meet A Rabbit" column will have a month long intermission while this Rabbit (yours truly) takes a much needed break.
I'll be back to introduce you to more Graveyard Rabbits beginning July 4th.
If you haven't had your turn in the spotlight and would like to see you and your blog profiled, please leave a comment here and I'll see to it that your name goes up in lights!