Friday, November 20, 2009

Reminder – GYR Carnival Submissions Due 11/25

Just a friendly reminder that submissions for the December 2009 edition of the Graveyard Rabbit Carnival are due on November 25th.

The theme for this edition is:  In the News.  Write a blog post about something you read or heard in the news (recent or past) that pertains to a cemetery.  It could be news of a relocation, vandalism, a famous burial—anything goes.

Submissions are due November 25.  Please submit your article using the blog carnival submission form.  Be sure to include a short description of your post in the “remarks” section of the submission form.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Article Available in the GYR Online Journal

This week, in the Digging For Answers column, Randy Seaver answers the question:  My ancestors aren't in online databases, how can I find where they are buried?

This question was in response to the previous article in this column, The Best Online Databases for Cemeteries.

The research process for finding where persons are buried includes:

  1. Where did they die?
  2. What burial provisions were made?
  3. Are there any records?

Be sure to read the entire answer at the Graveyard Rabbits Online Journal.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The 50th Rabbit - Meet Ruth Coker Burks - A Graveyard Rabbit Who Is On A Mission

The fiftieth in a series
featuring a member of the
Graveyard Rabbit Association


Ruth's Graveyard Rabbit Blog

I learned early in life the true value of a cemetery..and "EVERYTHING" that is buried there. At ten years of age, my grandmother died in an automobile accident. The trauma of the accident dulled compared to the family fight that ensued. My eccentric mother bought 262 grave spaces in the family cemetery. ALL of the remaining spaces so that her mother's brother, Uncle Fred, and his family could not be buried with the rest of the family. My mother then put up her marker that read in part, "Woe be onto you hypocrites, Pharisees and scribes" paraphrased from Matthew suit her needs..through out the next decade all I heard from both my mother, and the family was about the cemetery and "that marker" I have since donated the cemetery as a final resting place for over forty AIDS patients. I have worked as a Family Service Provider for Funeral homes and cemeteries for over 20 years. My then young daughter, Allison, and I hand dug over 40 graves..(holes ) for the urns of AIDS patients who died after their families abandoned them in their greatest hour of need and had do it yourself funerals for the ashes of those who needed us. Their families wouldn't even take their ashes when they died! So, they are buried in my family cemetery.

I made a pilgrimage today….Two and a half hours east of my hometown of Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, to a tiny spot down a narrow, tree lined road in the middle of vast soybean and rice fields. I found the somewhat abandoned Catholic Church that I was looking for. Saint Martha’s and her tiny cemetery around back, the only witnesses of the day were the bees that lived in the church.
My pilgrimage was to plant red roses at the grave of a nun, Mother Agnes Hart, who was born in Kentucky in 1797 and moved to Arkansas in 1838. She served with the Sisters of Loretto and came to the area with three other nuns to start the first Catholic school in Arkansas. Mother Agnes wrote desperate letters home in hope that help was on its way. She and the children were starving and getting sick. Sadly, help didn’t arrive in time and Mother Agnes Hart died of malaria a little over a year later in 1839, surrounded by the other nuns and the children whom she taught and loved. Mother Agnes was first buried in a cemetery along the river, then thirty years later, as the river flooded and tried to change its course, Mother Agnes’ friends and students disinterred her body to move it to higher ground. When they finally reached her body they found that it had miraculously been perfectly preserved and looked as if she had just died that very day! Remember, this is thirty years after her death and embalming was never done. Bodies which have not decomposed are a sign of miraculous intervention, according to the Roman Catholic Church.
Why would I, a stranger, make a pilgrimage to a grave of a woman who died some one hundred and twenty years before my birth? Because I wanted to pay homage to a soon to be Saint. Yes, a Saint in the Holy Catholic Church. This little know nun, in a grave in a tiny cemetery hidden within the vast grain fields of South West Arkansas. A full blown saint, as in the likes of St Francis of Assisi, Saint Andrew and Saint Jude. Yesterday, all of the television stations in the state were abuzz with the news that the Catholic Diocese of Arkansas was petitioning the Vatican to make Mother Agnes Hart a Saint. I just had to find her; I wanted to plant the roses, rub the stone that her students and friends so lovingly erected for her in 1885, offer a prayer for her sainthood and request an intervention for myself. Word has it that there is also a member of the church who was healed of cancer after asking for Mother Agnes to intervene. In order for the Vatican to canonize an individual as a saint, two miracles would need to be confirmed. One already has and I hope that the other will soon.

There was a short clip about Mother Agnes on 2 local TV news shows..I called both stations and the church and no one would tell me where she i used google earth and scanned the rice paddies and soybean fields of Jefferson County, AR...all i knew was that she was 10 miles NE of Pine Bluff..took an hour but, I found her!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Article Available in the GYR Online Journal

This week, The Educated Rabbit columnist, Sheri Fenley, takes us on a journey to four educational websites.

This month I traveled to many different websites and blogs that had anything to do with cemeteries, headstones, etc.  There were so many fantastic and informative sites, I found it hard to choose just one to review.  So I didn't.

I am instead, presenting a handful of ones that stood out (in my mind) as being educational and interesting.  Enjoy!

Read the entire article at the Graveyard Rabbit Online Journal.

Monday, November 9, 2009

African American Funeral Programs from the East Central Georgia Regional Library

Fouch, Robert Lloyd, 1905-1992

Services held at Maple Spring Baptist Church
(Dewy Rose, Ga.) on November 7, 1992

Homegoing Services
Robert Lloyd Fouch
Saturday, November 7, 1992
2:30 p.m.
Maple Spring Baptist Church
Elbert County, Georgia
Rev. Alvin Scott, Officiating
Maple Spring Church Cemetery
Mack's Funeral Home
Hartwell, Georgia

The Digital Library of Georgia has announce the availability of a new online resource: African American Funeral Programs from the East Central Georgia Regional Library.

The African American Funeral Programs from the East Central Georgia Regional Library online collection consists of over one thousand funeral programs ranging from 1933 to 2008 (with the bulk of the collection beginning in the 1960s) from the Eula M. Ramsey Johnson Memorial Funeral Program Collection. A majority of the programs are from churches in Augusta, Georgia, and the surrounding area, with a few outliers in other states such as New York and Florida.

The programs typically contain a photograph of the deceased, an obituary, a list of surviving relatives, and the order of service. The collection provides extensive genealogical information about the deceased, including birth and death dates, maiden names, names of relatives, past residences, and place of burial. Alongside this genealogical information, the obituaries provide a rich source of local history about African Americans. Many of the people included in this collection were prominent in their communities, and many were involved locally in the struggle for civil rights.

Additional digitization projects are currently underway and will be announced as they become available online at the Digital Library of Georgia. Based at the University of Georgia Libraries, the Digital Library of Georgia is an initiative of GALILEO, the state's virtual library.

The African American Funeral Programs from the East Central Georgia Regional Library is a project of the Digital Library of Georgia in association with the East Central Georgia Regional Library as part of Georgia HomePLACE. The project is supported with federal LSTA funds administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Georgia Public Library Service, a unit of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.


Eula M. Ramsey Johnson Memorial Funeral Program Collection. East Central Georgia Regional Library. Presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.

This is the citation required by the library for permission to post.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Meet Marilisa, Author of "Mopsie Rabbit's Cemetery Memoirs"

The forty ninth in a series
featuring a member of
The Graveyard Rabbit Association

Mopsie Rabbit's Cemetery Memoirs

After a one of my grandmother’s famous southern dinners of either chicken and dumplings or hot, delicious fried chicken, mashed potatoes and super-secret recipe biscuits- Jess would quietly disappear to an ambiguous place in his bedroom known only to him, and come back carrying a non assuming, brown cardboard tattered shoe box, most likely once housing some tres chic 1950’s penny loafers.

My grandfather, Jess, was very matter of fact about the whole clandestine viewing. Didn’t every granddaughter look at graphic pictures of dead folks?

The images in that box, I will never forget.

Most were original photographs from the 1880s. One in particular told the sad story of some unscrupulous horse thieves, who had the misfortune of their deeds catching up with them and suffering the swift punishment that was routinely meted out in those days.

In a rather large barn, swung eight men’s lifeless bodies which starkly hung from their sturdily roped nooses, boots on and all- while oblivious horses continued swishing their tails and eating hay- as if nothing out of the ordinary had ever happened.

Another activity Jess enjoyed a great deal was writing down, in his shaky and distinctive penmanship, every known living and dead relative he had ever had. He’d go over the list with me often;

“Now, this- this Foster, Amanda. Amanda Foster. Amanda Foster was my mother.”

Yeah, yeah, Granddaddy. Like I really care about that.

Nonetheless, as the years went by, to my surprise, I in fact, DID start caring about that!

Genealogy. Family history. Who were they? Where’d they come from? I began to become completely and unabashedly enthralled.

“I’m calling because my great grandfather pastored your church in the 1800s. I was wondering if you’d have any of his sermons on file?”

When the First Presbyterian Church of Lewisville, TX called back as quick as the next day, they excitedly asked, “We didn’t find his sermons, but we did find something we think you’ll be very interested in- can you come over and take a look?”

Rev. J. J. Moore and his wife Mary Agnes Donnell

As I read the church minutes all the way back from the late 1800’s to 1924- moderated and signed by my great grandfather; I was hooked. When I stood in front of their graves for the first time- Rev. J.J. Moore and his wife Mary Agnes Donnell Moore, playfully listed as“Aggie” on her wedding certificate and rumored to be the illegitimate daughter of President James Buchannan, no less, I was REALLY hooked!

Furthermore, to discover that my people came to Lewisville, Texas in a covered wagon and were not only listed as one of the first families of Tennessee, but also the original pioneers of the town in which I now live, was nothing less than enchanting.

Interestingly enough, my great uncle, Urban, sister to my maternal grandmother, Maude, (could they name kids back then or what?) was the first person in town to have air-conditioning! Urban owned the downtown pharmacy from 1911 to 1961. That’s a pretty slick business move to spring for this new-fangled AIR CONDITIONING, further compelling his customers to come in on a hot day and enjoy banana splits served from the little soda fountain, complete with white railed ice cream parlor chairs.

Urban's Pharmacy (c) 1911

I also, am a business owner (three companies) and entrepreneur. I can’t help but wonder if this propensity for business started back several generations way before I was born? I believe that Uncle Urban would think so.

Even though my family came to this area over 128 years ago, yet, I have a little bit of them with me even now.

Old Hall Cemetery

For I know the man who owns the local Feed Mill in Historic Old Towne, James Polser., Mr. Polser’s family and my family- have known each other well over one hundred years! Talk about being connected to the past. Also, James and I carry on the tradition of meeting the first Sunday in May at Old Hall Cemetery, for Cemetery Decoration Day, just the same as they did all those long years ago.

Feed Mill in the 1950's

Should you stop by and visit my family’s grave, the Moore’s, feel free to leave a rock. I always do.

A natural progression of events was for me to become a Grave Yard Rabbit- as I apparently have been one for quite some time. I just didn’t know it.

My name is Marilisa. My blog is called, “Mopsie Rabbit’s Cemetery Memoirs” and I’d be glad to have you visit anytime.

"Everyone rides these in Texas!"

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Who Will Be The 50th Rabbit?

To date I have brought 48 Rabbits into the spotlight for all of you to meet. I have the 49th scheduled and ready to go. There isn't anyone in line after that.

Who wants to be the 50th Rabbit ?

Who wants to showcase their Graveyard Rabbit site and have their turn in the spotlight?

Is it you?

If it is you, please email me at: and put "I am the next GYR Star" in the subject box.

Well OK, you don't have to put that in the subject box if you don't want to, but come on people . . . . er, I mean Rabbits - let's have a little enthusiasm out there!

Don't make me have to pull you out of a hat!

New Article Available in the GYR Online Journal


For this edition of Photo Monument, columnist Julie Tarr shares her favorite type of marker, the treestone.

With fall finally here, I thought I’d share a few photos of my favorite type of grave markers, treestones.  According to Douglas Keister in his book Stories in Stone, treestones were popular in the late 1800s, particularly in the Midwest.  Oftentimes, the detail is so incredible, it’s hard to tell it’s made of stone.  I think the intricacy of the design and texture is what makes treestones my favorite marker.  I’ve also included a few photos of a treestone variation, where they are included as part of a bench.

Be sure to read the entire article and view some cemetery photos at the Graveyard Rabbit Online Journal.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Meet Grace, Author of The Wandering Graveyard Rabbit

The forty eighth in a series
featuring a member of
The Graveyard Rabbit Association


My name is Grace and I am 61 years old. I grew up in northern Minnesota on the shores of Lake Superior. My husband worked for the State of Minnesota and we owned a small used book store for 15 years in the St. Paul area before retiring. After retiring we moved to the San Diego California area for three years. Now we are in the Houston area for about three years and then hope to go to East coast for a few years before returning to Minnesota. We love to travel, visit thrift stores , estate sales and have sold on eBay since 1998.

My Aunt Alice was in family research for years. She would travel the US with her husband and search for our ancestor's records. When she would stop to visit us in Minnesota she would share what she had found.I have been doing family research for the last 10 years. Part of that research was hunting for the cemeteries of ancestors and then going on day trips to take pictures. I have always loved looking at all the beautiful gravestones whether of my family or others. I would get so excited when I came across an ancestors gravestone somewhere across the country on the Internet. I knew this may be the only way I would ever get to see this grave stone.

One night I came across a graveyardrabbit post and thought what a fun idea. I can spend some time wandering around these old cemeteries, take pictures, post on a blog and also post on I know that some of my family think I am a little strange. I get so excited about finding a new cemetery full of beautiful old stones. "So many gravestones so little time."

My hope is that while I do what makes me happy someone, somewhere will find the final resting place of a family member and say " Oh My !" Thank you for the opportunity to tell you a little about myself

Call for Submissions – GYR Carnival December 2009 Edition

The theme for the December 2009 edition of the Graveyard Rabbits Carnival is:  In the News.  Write a blog post about something you read or heard in the news (recent or past) that pertains to a cemetery.  It could be news of a relocation, vandalism, a famous burial—anything goes.

Submissions are due November 25.  Please submit your article using the blog carnival submission form.  Be sure to include a short description of your post in the “remarks” section of the submission form.

Upcoming Topics

  • January 2010 – The Final Resting Place (idea submitted by Colleen McHugh)
  • February 2010 – Cemetery Critters (idea submitted by Diane Wright)
  • March 2010 – Forgotten Cemeteries (idea submitted by Tina Micheal Ruse)
  • April 2010 – Anonymous Graves (idea submitted by Henk van Kampen)
  • May 2010 – Cause of Death (idea submitted by Matt Hucke)
  • June 2010 – The Interesting, The Odd, The Beautiful (idea submitted by Gale Wall)
  • July 2010 – Scavenger Hunt

Graveyard Rabbits Carnival – November 2009 Edition

Welcome to the November 2009 edition of graveyard rabbits carnival. 

November 2nd is “Plan Your Epitaph Day,” an international observance created by Lance Hardie, to coincide with All Saint’s Day (a.k.a. Day of the Dead).  So, the challenge for this edition was to write your own epitaph.  What would you like to see on your gravestone?  How would you like people to remember you?

Six bloggers accepted the challenge and came up with interesting and unique epitaphs.  Be sure to check out each of them and learn a little bit more about the bloggers through their epitaphs.

Cyndi Beane Henry presents My Epitaph posted at Mountain Genealogists, saying, "Here lies The Texicanwife! An epitaph you'll want to share!"

Midge Frazel presents Epitaphs posted at Granite in My Blood, saying, "Is the epitaph on a gravestone more important than the name and the dates? Check out the Tombstone Generator application to create your own."

Kastie presents Graveyard Rabbits Carnival Epitaph Submission posted at Katzie's Blog, saying, "I've always planned on being cremated, but have envisioned being buried beneath a stone angel with beautiful wings spread out behind her as she kneels over my grave bearing a mournful smile and holding a large cross over her shoulder."

Carly Blundell presents My Epitaph posted at Not Another Family History Blog.

Janet Iles presents Carnival of Graveyard Rabbits - Epitaph posted at Graveyard Rabbit of Grey County, Ontario, saying, "The marker at Janet's final resting place does not have room for an epitaph but if it did, she shares what words might be written there."

Angela B Deller presents Graveyard Rabbits Carnival - Plan Your Epitaph Day posted at What Was Their Story, saying, "My epitaph - simple and succinct."

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