Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rural Cemeteries

If you've ever been in the rural areas of eastern Tennessee, particularly near Carter or Johnson Counties, then you'll know what I mean by rural cemetery.

These are the cemeteries that have predominately one group of people, generally with the same surname, in the cemetery. A church is sometimes nearby, but other times the cemetery is hidden by the local terrain.

In Carter and Johnson counties, where my many of my ancestors are from, there are cemeteries that contain only 6-8 people in them. Often times they are located in the mountains, hidden by overgrowth of trees and plants, with only a select few people knowing they even exist. My great grandfather is buried in such a cemetery.

When my great aunt took me to his grave, there was no sign up naming the cemetery. The only road that led to it was a dirt road. There was a small house behind it, but it looked as if it was falling down. Infact, the GPS system we had in the rented car had no idea where we were.

But, apparently this is not uncommon. There are tons of websites devoted just to Carter and Johnson counties and they document these cemeteries. The local people go out voluntarily and map these cemeteries. They transcribe the headstones that they can, and they make sure the cemetery is given some sort of upkeep. These kind locals often do it because their ancestors are buried in those cemeteries.

So now the question becomes - how do you find the cemetery that your ancestor was buried in? Well - you start with the locals. Often times, there are people who still live in the area and know of the cemeteries around. Search through websites created by people with ancestors in the same rural area and start asking questions.

Then - start searching the cemeteries to see if you can find that person you are looking for. If you can't afford the expense, try looking on some of those volunteer sites where a volunteer will go search the cemetery for you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Introduction

Hello Everyone!

I am so excited to start a brand new blog that is connected with the brand new Association of Graveyard Rabbits.

I am honored to be a member of this brand new association founded by Terry Thornton. In general terms, this association is meant to promote the preservation of cemeteries, burial grounds, and grave markers. In this blog, I will also be trying to promote learning about the burial customs of your ancestors - especially those from the area of Eastern Tennessee.

So you're probably asking why I picked Eastern Tennessee. I mean, it is in the middle of the Appalacian Mountains (some of it is) and it isn't like the area is extensively famous for their cemeteries, right? Well - yes...but I picked this area because I have a lot of ancestors from this area. Plus, this area is where I fell deeply in love with genealogy... It is where the monster was born.

So I offer many thanks to Terry Thornton for starting this group and to footnoteMaven for designing the wonderful badge for this group.

You can visit Terry Thornton's Graveyard Rabbit blog over at

You can visit footnoteMaven's Graveyard Rabbit blog (all about Western Washington) over at

And if you would like to see the Association of Graveyard Rabbit website - you can view it at

Thank you for reading,