Thursday, April 29, 2010

New Article on the GYR Online Journal

This week in our Tech T.I.P. column Denise shows us how to build a cemetery photo archive online.

Graveyard Rabbits have been documenting their graveyards with stories and photos. If you are like me, you’ve got a growing collection of cemetery photos. Besides using them in your blog articles, what are you doing with them? Have you considered an online archive to share your photos with others?

Hop on over and read the rest of the article on the GYR Online Journal.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New Article Available in the GYR Online Journal

“History Hidden In Plain Sight”

by footnoteMaven

“I have considered it a duty devolving upon me to erect a plain and modest monument to his memory. . ."

~ John Quincy Adams ~

It pays to go through those boxes. Those in which we store our family memorabilia. Who knows what we might have forgotten. Yes, it seems it would have behooved Quincy, Massachusetts, to have gone through the boxes of its most famous family as well, the Adams family. You’d think all the family letters would have been careful stored for posterity; but one languished in a box in the basement, forgotten. One from a president, discovered by accident.

You'll find the rest of this article from the History Hare in
the Graveyard Rabbit Online Journal.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Meet Sandy Vincent Peavey and Linda Hagen, "The Newaygo County Cemetery Ladies"

The sixty third in a series

featuring a member of

The Graveyard Rabbit Association



I am Sandy Vincent Peavey and am the Local History Room Supervisor at the Fremont Area District Library. When it came time to hire some one else to work in here I called in my trusted friend Linda Hagen who also has a love of genealogy and cemeteries. Together we some how manage to keep the Local History Room going while still finding time to pursuit our love of cemeteries. We make a good balance I am a little more outspoken and unorganized, Linda is a little shy and organized. Together we balance each other out.

I was raised going to cemeteries with my Grandmother hearing stories about the people buried there. My Grandmother was my best friend, mentor and teacher so the experience of those afternoons left me with a love of history and genealogy. The peacefulness and beauty of the cemetery is something that both Linda and I enjoy. As Linda says it is where she met her Great Great Grandparents.

Preservation of cemeteries is very important to both of us as we see so many stones being destroyed by vandals, weather and just plain old age. We are both dedicated to preserving all the information that we can before we loose it. We are trying to photograph as well as record the written information on the stones when ever we can. In our Cemetery Walks that we put together yearly (we skipped last year due to my foot) we talk about "reading a cemetery" teaching people about the beauty of the cemetery, why we do the customs we do and where they stem from. We also do a impersonation of people who have been buried there from all walks of life. Linda does Calico Jane, a lumber cook, and I do myths and lore of death and dying. It has become very popular in the area. We are now helping others in the area do their own walks. Visiting a cemetery is a walk through history of the area. There is so much you can learn by reading the stones. Then there is genealogy, which is where Linda and I both started this passion. You have to visit a few cemeteries to do genealogy but what you don't realize when you start is it is just the beginning. One stone leads to another and before you know it your hooked!

Linda's favorite headstones are the handmade ones as she has featured regularly on our other blog Cemetery Divas . She enjoys the ingenuity that people have used over the years to make these stones. I also enjoy these stones but I love the ones that have carvings and are more of a piece of art. The stones out in the eastern part of the United States where my ancestors come from have such fascinating stones. To my step children's horror I can spend days just walking through the cemeteries. Apparently they felt this was slightly weird. My husband has gone along with me reading the stones and he even enjoys himself as long as it doesn't last to long.

Linda's Crazy Aunts go along with her cemetery hopping but her farm boys (Husband and two sons) just put up with her. To the two of us we find it the most natural thing to do is to slow down when you see a cemetery and if you have time a quick drive or walk through. Seems like the only natural thing to do to us.

We became Cemetery Rabbits one day at work when another site came up telling about it. I was fascinated with the idea and signed up right away. Linda was told about it the next day but knowing Linda I was certain she would jump on board right away. We love reading other Cemetery Rabbits sites and learning as we go. My biggest problem was I started getting over whelmed feeling I had to keep up with a schedule of postings. I now have learned to relax and post as often as I can but not pushing myself. If I push myself I loose the enjoyment I get from blogging. Linda does most of the blogging on Cemetery Divas blog and puts me to shame but as I said before she is more organized. We just have fun with it and hopefully others enjoy what we have to say. We love getting comments so we know people are reading our blogs and their feedback is wonderful. We started just because it was another format to share our love of genealogy and cemetery preservation and education.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Gloom & Gleam Newsletter: April 2010

From your Editors

Spring has sprung. It’s time for us rabbits to get out and get busy. Blogger has introduced some new templates and features, like pages and photo captions, so this may be a good time to dust off your rabbit hole and redecorate the place with a fresh look and new posts. Stop by and check it out. [read the 3/11 post].

We hope that you like the newsletter now appearing as a post instead of an attachment in email.

Seen something you’d like to share with the other GYR? Send a note to us at

Is there something you would like to see featured in an Online Journal article? We have the following regular columns:

  • The Educated Rabbit: Publications & websites reviewed
  • Digging for Answers: Your questions answered
  • Graveyard Guru: Interview with an expert
  • The History Hare: The hare of the history that bit you
  • Tech T.I.P: Technology you can use
  • Photo Monument: A grave photo essay
And, if you would like to contribute an article we have the following columns available:

  • The Rabbit’s Tale: A little of this, a little of that
  • The International Rabbit
Gale & Diane

News, Resources & Tips
As seen on Family History Expo’s Blog: Finding Death Records

Featured GYR Blog
Escape to the Silent Cities
Hop in and visit a while.

Featured GYR Photo
Red Cross
Hop over to Cemetery Explorers to see this photo.

Please let us know if we missed anyone.
We’ve added to the GYR family:
GYR Carnival 2010
  • June – The Interesting, The Odd, The Beautiful - (idea submitted by Gale Wall)
  • July – Scavenger Hunt - (idea submitted by Julie Cahill Tarr)
  • August – Favorite Season - (idea submitted by Henk van Kampen)
It’s not too early to submit ideas for 2011.

We encourage your ideas, tips and feedback. You can reach us at

Now, let’s get hopping. Happy Spring!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Meet Joe Whitfield, Author of "Hoosiergrave"

The sixty second in a series
featuring a member of
The Graveyard Rabbit Association


I started visiting cemeteries a few years back while working on some genealogy, Any time I would find a relatives grave, I would take a picture. With both sides of the family being scattered over Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois, I've done a bit of traveling. I also am a member of Genealogical Act of Kindness group and take pictures in my area of tombstones for people who cannot travel here. While doing this I began to notice the various carvings on the stones. I was curious what the meanings of the various carvings were so it just rather evolved from that. I have also found cemeteries to be very peaceful for the most part and very interesting historically. I was also influenced many years ago by a couple of books from the Indiana Historical Society about tombstones and their carvers in southern Indiana. I have found only one or two cemeteries that there seems to be something not quite right, (I also do paranormal research) even at night most are nice places to be.
The kids, now that they are grown and gone just shake their heads, as if to say "Dads losing it". My wife joins in sometimes. Since we like to travel back roads when we go places, she will spot a small cemetery and we stop and see what is there, and I hope that we have remembered the camera. She really likes it when the spring wild flowers are in bloom and spends her time looking at those while I roam the cemetery.
I ran across the group while looking for information on tombstones. A friend and I are working on a book of tombstone carvings in Ohio County (Indiana) for the historical society. When I saw the group and started reading, my thoughts ran to “Gee, I guess I’m not the only one”. I enjoyed the site and enjoy what I have learned.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Meet Tammi Thiele, Author of "Escape To The Silent Cities"

The sixty first in a series
featuring a member of
The Graveyard Rabbit Association


I've been interested in cemeteries for as long as I can remember. As a child my dad would take my brother and I to the cemetery where my grandparents were buried. We would spend hours trying to find the oldest stones. It was like a game for us, so I learned at an early age that cemeteries were not the scary places that many people believe them to be.

As a teenager I would spend hours wandering around trying to imagine what the people were like that belonged with the stones I would photograph. I have always been drawn to the older sections with the elegantly carved stones and individuality that can be found in almost every cemetery. As I would wander amongst the stones grand images of Victorian women in long elegant dresses and gentlemen in the finest of attire would fill my mind. These imaginary people would wander thru the cemeteries right along with me paying their respects to the long deceased family members.

As I grew older the whole concept of death and what happens afterward became a fascinating subject to me. So I decided to go to college to obtain a degree in Forensic Anthropology. Sadly I choose not to work in the field but it has opened my eyes to so many different aspects about death that I would never have thought about before.

Now as an adult, I still enjoy roaming around cemeteries photographing the unique stones. I love the angels most. But I am always excited to find a mystery that makes me want to know more about that particular person. Thankfully, the internet has made it much easier to discover the information that sheds light on the peoples lives.

My family and friends have always thought my obsession with cemeteries is odd and a bit morbid. But I am okay with that. I just say they haven't figured out how interesting they can be. They really began to think I was odd when I proposed the idea of having my wedding in a cemetery on Halloween, of all days. I had found the perfect one, it had a beautiful gazebo in the middle of the beautiful Fall foliage. Luckily my husband was all to happy to have our wedding there. Although he doesn't enjoy wandering the cemeteries like I do, he does put up with my constantly making him stop at new ones. He sits in the car and says, “Just tell me when to stop,” or, “You go, and I'll follow in the car”. Now tell me that isn't love. My nine-year-old daughter has her own camera she likes to use. Hopefully she is a Graveyard Rabbit in the making.

I enjoy this hobby so much that I have recently founded a small group of like minded individuals called Grave Addicts of Arkansas. That way there is never a shortage of people to wander the cemeteries with me or someone to chat about my new finds with. We venture out almost every week looking for new places to go and new mysteries to find.

I joined the Graveyard Rabbits Association to broaden my network of like minded friends. And so far I have learned much from the group and I look forward to learning more. And the best way to learn about neat cemeteries are from the ones who love them.

I believe this will be a hobby that will stay with me for the full duration of my life. Then, hopefully, someone will enjoy my headstone as much as I have enjoyed others.

Happy graving to each of my fellow Grave Addicts and Grave Rabbits!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Article in the GYR Online Journal

This week in our Graveyard Guru column Stepanie Lincecum brings us information on the Woodmen of the World tree stump headstones.

Most of us that have spent any time in a cemetery have probably seen them. Tree stumps made of stone dotting the landscape. This type of stone without any fraternal affiliation attached often represents a life cut short. Since 1890, this type of tree stone upon closer investigation might also mean the deceased was a member of the Woodmen of the World.

Hop on over to the GYR Online Journal and read the article.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Funeral Parlours & Burial Grounds: Death and Life in the City

Toronto Area Walks:

Funeral Parlours & Burial Grounds: Death and Life in the City

Guided by Kory McGrath, Funeral Director

Date: Sunday, May 2, 2010
Start Time: 3:00 pm
Est. Duration: 2 hours
Funeral  Parlours & Burial Grounds: Death and Life in the City

In her book, The Death & Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs wrote “the strange idea that death should be an unnoticeable or unmentionable part of city life” is a myth about diversity. “The reminder of death is not the pall it may be on waning suburban streets” … “in low-income neighborhoods of big cities, funeral parlors can, and often do, operate as positive and constructive forces….Undertakers, like druggists, lawyers, dentists, and clergymen, are representatives, in these neighborhoods, of such qualities as dignity, ambition, and knowledgeability. They are typically well-known public characters, active in local civic life.”

Read The Entire Article

Thursday, April 8, 2010

New Article on the GYR Online Journal

Welcome to the Digging for Answers column on the Graveyard Rabbit Online Journal.

This column will depend on your submission of questions about cemeteries, gravestones, burial practices, and other topics that concern a Graveyard Rabbit (other than where his next carrot is coming from!). So please send some questions to the editor, who will pass them along and keep the columnist hopping.
This week Randy tackles this question:
"I know in that in Europe they have an entirely different approach to burying the dead in cemeteries. Essentially, they "rent" out burial plots rather than allowing families to actually buy and own one. So how long does a typical rental period last? What are typical rental fees for a grave? If the rental fee goes unpaid, what happens to the remains of the person buried in the grave? Is there another re-burying ceremony or some such thing? They have much more elaborate gravestones in Europe. So what happens to the gravestone if the grave rental fee goes unpaid and the persons remains are removed to somewhere else?"
Hop on over to the GYR Online Journal to read his answer.

Friday, April 2, 2010

New Article on the GYR Online Journal

This week Sheri Fenley brings us The Educated Rabbit column.
Hop on over to the GYR Online Journal to read her article "Symbolism in Cemeteries: Website Recommendations".

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Meet Karen Cooper-Ray, Author of "Taphophilic Musings"

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


What sparked your interest in cemeteries?
I think my interest in cemeteries grew more like a slow burning ember rather than a sudden spark. My entire life I've loved history and hearing my family's stories and lore. I'm very curious and love to ask questions. I also have a vivid imagination and cemeteries feed heartily my imagination and desire to question. Mostly, I love stories, and cemeteries are redolent with narratives that beg to be remembered and told.
Do you have a favorite cemetery or headstone and why is it your favorite?
That is difficult to answer because I find that each cemetery I go into has something unique and special about it. One of my favorites is the Cox Cemetery south of Salem, Oregon. It is an old pioneer cemetery on land that once belonged to Thomas Cox, an early settler in the area. It the cemetery is on a high hill that overlooks a winery and some of the beautiful vineyards here in the Willamette Valley. I love it because it is small and surrounded by old oak trees, and because I respect and appreciate the hardships that the early settlers who are buried on this hill endured. Often one of the vineyard dogs will accompany me on my hike up the hill. The Masonic cemetery in Eugene, Oregon is also dear to me because I took my husband there on our second date.
How does your family feel about your interest in cemeteries?
My entire family loves cemeteries as much as I do. They just haven't parlayed it into a full-blown hobby as I have. They'll be excited that I've become a Graveyard Rabbit.
Why did you become a Graveyard Rabbit?
For a long time I kept my love of cemeteries mostly to myself thinking that people would think me peculiar or morbid for enjoying lingering in cemeteries and reading headstones. Then I stopped caring what anybody thought, (one of the great things about getting older). When I got the idea to write a blog about my local cemetery travels I knew I probably wasn't the first to have this idea so I did a search on-line to find other blogs and websites about cemeteries. I found the Graveyard Rabbit on-line journal and was thrilled to find that there were others out there who get it, who appreciate the sacredness and mystery of cemeteries. I am inspired by the other GYR member blogs and wanted to get to know my fellow brothers and sisters in taphophilia.
For all the would-be rabbits - how about some words of encouragement to become a rabbit.
If you are drawn to any aspect having to do with the subject of cemeteries, go with it! See where it takes you! It is not only a great source of personal enrichment, but also valuable for our communities.

Meet Cyndi Beane Henry, Author of "Greenbrier Valley Graveyards"

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


Greenbrier Valley Graveyards

What sparked your interest in cemeteries?

I first became interested in cemeteries when I was about 8 or 10 years old. As far back as I can remember, my Mother used to visit them. Some of my earliest recollections are of walking the cemeteries and holding onto her hand. However, it wasn’t until I was at that age when I finally asked “Why do we have to come here?” [in a pre-teen’s whiny voice] that she also sparked my interest! “We come here to learn about our past,” is what she told me. I didn’t understand at first. But then she explained it was our ancestors that lay in the graves. And that each and every grave, be it one of our ancestors or not, told a story. The story of the life behind the stone. And that’s what became my passion. The story behind the stone.

Do you have a favorite cemetery or headstone and why is it your favorite.

My favorite cemetery is probably The Bean Family Cemetery near Waiteville in Monroe County. It is where my great-great-grandparents are buried. Most of the graves were marked with limestone markers [which have disintegrated] or with unmarked rocks. We know there are over 30 graves there, but not a single one can tell us who lays where. A few years back, we put up a granite stone commemorating my great-grandparents burial there. We had to place it in the middle of all the graves, as no one knows where they are actually buried. The cemetery itself, once lying on the edge of a field, is now in the forest, with trees actually growing through the graves. It’s a sad, neglected place. And yet, I feel it holds so many answers to the mysteries of our family, that I can’t seem to unlock!

How does your family feel about your interest in cemeteries?

Most of my family understands my interest in cemeteries. And some even share it! Especially my hubby! He’s the one who gets dragged along when I go “rabbitting” and snapping up photos of the stones! Some of my children [who are all grown] think I’m a bit odd because I do this, but then, I’ve been doing it their whole lives!

Why did you become a GYR?

I chose to become a Graveyard Rabbit because I have so enjoyed reading other GYR blogs over the past couple of years! It’s almost as good as being there! Feeling the soft loam beneath your shoes, and the scent of a spring rain, is all that is lacking!

For all the would be rabbits - how about some words of encouragement to become a rabbit.

I think the best advice I could give someone who would like to become a GYR is just to get out there! Start walking those cemeteries. And to go prepared. I take along a notebook and pen, my camera with extra SDI cards and batteries, a cell phone, bottled water and a power bar, and wear good sturdy walking shoes. In summer, be sure to wear sun-screen and take along a hat or umbrella. You can print off free cemetery logs from the internet, and these will help you to understand what information you need to record to be able to find the same stone again at a later visit. Be sure to transcribe the stone while you are in front of it! Don’t count on being able to read it from your photographs! And last, be ready to share!!! The genealogy community at large will be so thankful that you did!

Call For Submissions - Graveyard Rabbits Carnival May 2010 Edition


The topic for the May 2010 edition of the Graveyard Rabbits Carnival is: Cause of Death.

This topic was submitted by Matt Hucke, who authors the blog, Graveyards of Illinois, and I think it's going to be a great carnival. How did they die? Come on Rabbits, let's count the ways.

Submit your post to the carnival using the submission form. Submissions for this edition are due by April 25. Be sure to include a short description of your post in the “remarks” section of the submission form.

Upcoming Topics

  • June 2010 – The Interesting, The Odd, The Beautiful
    (idea submitted by Gale Wall)
  • July 2010 – Scavenger Hunt
    (idea submitted by Julie Cahill Tarr)
  • August 2010 – Favorite Season
    (idea submitted by Henk van Kampen)

Graveyard Rabbit Carnival - April 2010 Edition


The topic for the April 2010 edition of the Graveyard Rabbits Carnival is: Anonymous Graves, submitted by Henk van Kampen, author of The Graveyard Rabbit of Utrecht and Het Gooi.

This edition of the GYRabbit Carnival shares those anonymous graves you've stumbled upon in your cemetery travels. Let's begin our virtual cemetery walk to see what you've found!

Dorene Paul presents Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay: Unknown Sailor Buried at Oak Bluff Cemetery posted at Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay, saying, "An unknown soldier from the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812 is buried at Oak Bluff Cemetery along the shores of Lake Erie ."

Tim Abbott presents Walking the Berkshires: Unknown: A Local History Civil War Mystery posted at Walking the Berkshires.

Gale Wall presents GYR Carnival - Anonymous Graves posted at Digital Cemetery Walk, saying, "There are many anonymous graves that pull at my heartstrings. This is one from my family cemetery in Alabama and one here in Kansas that I blogged about last summer."

Ben Gross presents Unknown posted at Pics by Ben, saying, "This is a photo I entered in the Maine Photography Show 2009."

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of the Graveyard Rabbit Carnival using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

And while you're here, take a look at past carnivals, there's so much interesting information to be found when you explore cemeteries with a Graveyard Rabbit: