Thursday, March 31, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Most of us, cemetery bloggers, know of him for his cemetery books: Going Out In Style, Stories in Stone, Forever Dixie and Forever L. A. His 5th cemetery book, Forever New York, will be published in the Fall. I hope he will continue to author cemetery books because they fill a void for those of us that love the beauty and historical aspect of a cemetery.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Don't miss today's Famous File article at the Graveyard Rabbit Online Journal! This week Kim Sawtelle honors one of America's heroes, a Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient from Maine whose bravery and valor we still admire today.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Hello, my name is Jacquie Demsky Wilson and my blog is Stone Gardens.
My blog is basically a photo blog of all the cemeteries I have visited with local history and genealogy mixed in. Although most of my blog entries concern Texas (near 100 cemeteries visited), I have photographed over 100 cemeteries in 15 other states and three foreign countries. I want to show viewers that cemeteries are great places full of history and architecture.
I try to visit cemeteries on a regular basis. Even when I go out-of-state, I try to find cemeteries along my route. Several times, I have turned around in the middle of the road if I passed by a cemetery. A fun, yet at times, dangerous obsession!
I have not always been drawn to cemeteries. As a child, I went to cemeteries for the occasional family funeral but never gave a thought about the surroundings. At the age of seven, my family moved to Wells, Vermont, where our house was directly across from the town cemetery. It was a small town with not much for kids to do, and so my siblings and I would play in the cemetery. We enjoyed tracing the headstones (that dated back to the 1700s) and playing hide-and-seek at night.
In 2007, I went out with a photographer friend to do some Texas landscape photography. We stopped at one cemetery and that is when and where my fascination with cemeteries truly began!
Since I am the unofficial family historian; I see it as one of my responsibilities to visit cemeteries. I have been interested in my family’s history since I was a young child. I remember badgering my grandmother with “who was who” and “how are they related” questions. I take great pleasure in looking at photos, especially old family photos. Searching for and discovering my ancestors and learning about their lives is another thrill for me. Over the past 35 years, I have researched, compiled, printed and distributed over four volumes of information on the Cooke and Demsky families.
I work as a redactor and archives technician at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, in Austin, Texas. I have a B.A. degree in Historical Studies, and three months ago, I received a M.L.S. degree in Library & Information Studies. My dream is to become a genealogy and local history librarian. At this time, library jobs, especially those pertaining to genealogy, are extremely difficult to find. So, I have been joining local, county, state and national historical and genealogical societies as a way to network, volunteer and learn. When I do experience any free time, I enjoy traveling, scrapbooking, the metaphysical and reading.
I am a member of the Association for Graveyard Studies, Save Austin's Cemeteries, GenealogyWise, Austin Genealogical Society, Texas State Genealogical Society and the Williamson County Genealogical Society.
I am also a Find a Grave photo volunteer, Family Search indexer, Flickr photo contributor and Ancestry.com subscriber.
The older cemeteries, especially those from the Victorian era, are of great interest to me. I enjoy photographing the unique gravestones, especially the angels. The newer memorial parks, with the flat markers, are not so appealing. In Texas, there are many ethnic cemeteries to explore, from Scandinavian to German (the sense of order and no wasted space) to Hispanic (the most colorful and, if I can say, liveliest).
With my blog, I feature gravestone symbolism on Mondays; Wednesdays deal with historical gravestones; cemetery crime stories on Thursdays, Fridays show the unusual stones I have come across in my travels; and, Sundays are “silent” with only photos of especially moving gravestones. I weave in blog entries regarding genealogy, when I can.
My family accepts my cemetery obsession but friends think it’s a bit odd. I have always been strange in one way or another, so I just say, "to each their own". What interests one doesn't always interest the other. I’m not ashamed to admit that I have bribed my 11-year-old son to come exploring with me!
My husband has told me that I enjoy dead people more than those still living! As a mother of two children and with the craziness of everyday life, I have found that cemeteries have a calming effect on me. And in a cemetery, no one talks back to me! Sometimes, I stop by a cemetery on my way to work just to relish the peace and quiet for a few minutes (which can turn into an hour or more, if I’m not careful). I like to visit the graves of those long gone and forgotten, as a way of telling them someone is thinking of them.
Speaking of family, I have a great story to share. Last summer, the Save Austin’s Cemeteries group decided to come up with a 2011 calendar, in order to gain awareness of the five city-owned cemeteries. The group asked for photo submissions, which would be voted on by viewers of their website. One of the five cemeteries is my local favorite - Oakwood Cemetery, one of the largest cemeteries in Austin, with gravestones dating back to the 1800s. I went through my photos of Oakwood and decided to visit once more. This time, however, my 16-year-old daughter came along. You can imagine how she felt, stuck in a cemetery with Mom! She did not want to get out of the car but after a bit of nudging, she got out and I remember telling her, “Just think, you may submit the winning photo.” Well, guess what? One of her photo submissions garnered the most votes in the contest (photo on right) and was put on the inaugural calendar’s cover! She was absolutely thrilled, as was I. The photos we submitted (I even persuaded my husband to take a few) grace five pages of the calendar!
What advice do I have for would-be cemetery rabbits? Connect to other blogs (there are many!), learn from the others, and blog what feels best to you. I enjoy reading the blogs of other GYR members who have the same interests as me. I never thought there would be so many others in the blogosphere that enjoy cemeteries. Some days, all I want to post are photos, but then I feel guilty if I don’t post information of specific individuals buried in the cemetery. If you’re not into posting obituaries, death certificates, etc., then don’t do it. Another suggestion: If you desire constant feedback on your blog, you may rethink blogging. There are times my blog goes for weeks without viewer comments. It’s great to know someone is looking at your blog when they comment, but don’t worry about the number of comments. You must enjoy what you’re doing!
I was thrilled when I found the Association of Graveyard Rabbits and I’m honored to be a part of this group, all of us are doing unique and important work in our own areas. I appreciate having this opportunity to share a little about myself and I hope to hear from you. I hope y’all will stop by my Stone Gardens and say hello!
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Spring is in the air! Be quick like a bunny and hop on over to the Graveyard Rabbit Online Journal for today's fascinating Mausoleums or Columbariums: Looking Inside and Out article about the Society Tombs of New Orleans. Our very own (and bride to be) Tess Conrad shares with us a story for the ages, as these monuments stand testament to a legacy long past. The GY Rabbit Online Journal extends our heartfelt congratulations to Tess!
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
The Association of Graveyard Rabbits has again been selected as one of the 2011 Best Genealogy Blogs by Family Tree Magazine in the cemetery category. Bless them! The category is described as: "Graveyard blogs bring cemeteries alive (figuratively, of course). Learn from cemetery lovers how to appreciate and understand the final resting places of your ancestors."
This is how Family Tree Magazine described the Reason for the Rabbit award:
"This unique blog and online journal represents the efforts of several 'graveyard rabbit' cemetery enthusiasts. Weekly posts introduce fellow members and link to all their articles. The journal promotes graveyard research and preservation. You'll see names of other top 40 bloggers here: Gale Wall of Digital Cemetery Walk (see below is the managing editor and footnoteMaven is the creative director.)"Special shout-outs to Sheri Fenley (The Educated Graveyard Rabbit) for her weekly "Meet A Rabbit Column." To Gale Wall for her deft hand at editing the Journal this past year and to Robin Simonton (Graveyard Rabbit of the Triangle, N.C.) for her hit the ground running start as our new Journal Editor. And to Henk Van Kempen ( Graveyard Rabbit of Utrecht and Het Gooi) for presenting such a good rabbit face on Facebook.
And to the Journal staff of writers - you are the best group online.
Digging For Answers
A Rabbit's Review
Thank you! We are so very honored that you our readers, our members, Family Tree Magazine, and its expert panel felt us worthy. Somewhere, Terry Thornton is smiling down on us.
And if that weren't polish enough on the old granite, the following Graveyard Rabbits and their individual blogs also won in this category. Please stop by their blogs and congratulate them.
- Digital Cemetery Walk: "Every stone has a story. And they are waiting to be told." This is Gale Wall's motto for a blog that shares images of gravestones and cemetery plots, the stories behind them, and thoughts inspired by traipsing through cemeteries. Her posts are informative, inspiring and often poignant. See her Cemetery Bookshelf page for a great list of resources.
- Escape to Silent Cities: Tammi Thiele's lifelong passion for cemeteries shows in her writing and photography. Her young but prolific blog boasts near-daily entries with beautiful images and plenty of cemetery lore (such as tombstone trivia) and biographies of the deceased. If you aren't already a fan of cemeteries, Thiele will make you one. As she states on her site, "The best way to learn about neat cemeteries are from the [people] who love them."
- Granite in My Blood: "Graveyard Rabbit" Midge Frazel blogs about family gravesites and her ancestors' stories, but her posts often have wider appeal. She freely shares lessons learned (do your research before cemetery visits) and opinions on genealogy products. One fan writes, "The blog contains beautiful photos and interesting tips and info on cemeteries, genealogy and family."
- Gravestoned: This anonymous blogger is fairly new to the scene, but gives expert commentary on gravestone iconography and epitaphs. Gravestoned takes beautiful photos of markers, researches the origin of poetic inscriptions, and offers examples of similarly themed stones. The author participates regularly in the GeneaBlogger daily theme "Wednesday's Child," with posts on infant and child graves.
Lisa Louise Cooke is the voice of the Genealogy Gems Podcast and the Family Tree Magazine Podcast. Cooke writes for several blogs, including her own Genealogy Gems News Blog, My Salt Lake Blog and the Family History: Genealogy Made Easy Podcast.
Thomas MacEntee is a social media expert on the genealogy community who speaks around the country about the role technologies such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs play in family history. He runs three , including the GeneaBloggers network. He's been doing genealogy research for 18 years and blogging since 2006 at destinationaustinfamily.blogspot.com.
DearMYRTLE is the nom de plume of Pat Richley-Erickson, a popular blogger and lecturer at genealogy conferences. Her life started in 1984, working with AOL's Genealogy Forum, and she was genealogy's first internet radio broadcaster. Today she hosts the Just Genealogy area in Second Life and is a force behind BetterGEDCOM.
Randy Seaver is a prolific blogger whose projects include Genea-Musings, The Geneaholic, South San Diego County Graveyard Rabbit and the Chula Vista Genealogical Society's Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe. A 22-year family history veteran, he belongs to several genealogical societies and teaches a beginning computer genealogy class in San Diego."Sources:
Descriptions of Panel Experts and Winning Blogs courtesy of Family Tree Magazine.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
WILLIAM R. VAN SICKLE