Tag Archives: cemetery club

Facebook Groups: The Cemetery Club

The Cemetery Club
Administrator: Minda Douglas-Powers
1706 members

Grave of Mary C. Forbes, with her footstone in place at the Marshall State Historic Park. Photo by Loren Rhoads.

Grave of Mary C. Forbes, with her footstone in place at the Marshall State Historic Park. Photo by Loren Rhoads.

Q: There are a lot of cemetery aficionado groups on Facebook. What sets yours apart?

A: From my experience, many of the cemetery groups on Facebook are all about the photos. So is The Cemetery Club’s group — it only makes sense — but the most important aspect of our group is the community.

When I started the group years ago, it was to network with fellow taphophiles. I was working on my book Cemetery Walk and wanted a way to connect with a variety of people who all had some sort of interest in cemeteries. Eventually the group, which I consider a partner to my website www.TheCemeteryClub.com, took on a life of its own. We now have more than 1700 members from all around the world who share photos, ask each other questions, give advice, and promote a general sense of camaraderie. It’s a really great community and I certainly can take very little credit for that.

I would like to thank everyone who has been with me since the very beginning: TC, Iris, John, Tracy, Matt, Jason, Amy, Doug, and so many more (you know who you are!). On the days when I get overwhelmed by life, work, my many projects, and wonder if all the effort is worth it… I see a post in the group that reminds how passionate my friends are about gravestones and history. It reminds me that I’m not the only one who loves gravestones and everything they (literally) stand for. It may still seem an odd hobby or passion to some — though not nearly as many think it’s as weird as they used to — but it means a whole lot to us.

Q: Do you have a policy about what is appropriate to post?

A: My policy is pretty basic: Be kind, considerate of others, and don’t be a blatant salesperson. I have no problem with people promoting the work they do, a book they’ve written, etc., but anything spammy won’t last long. Obviously the phony FB profiles who are trying to sell shoes get the boot really fast. Others who over-promote themselves, yet don’t contribute to the group in any other way, don’t last very long either.

Q: How old is your group?

A: I think it dates back to 2005 or 2004. I wasn’t able to find a start date on Facebook.

Q: Is your group open to new members?

A: Yes! The group is always open to new members. We’ve been growing in leaps and bounds. It seemed like it took forever for us to hit 1,000. That was okay, since we had quality posts. In the last nine months or so, it’s really taken off. As far as criteria, you just have to be a real person and not just a fake spam profile. All are welcome. The more people we can get interested in our cemeteries and history, the better.

Q: Are you a member of any other cemetery groups?

A: I am a member of a number of cemetery groups. Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time to contribute to any of them. It’s tough enough to keep up with my own! Besides, you’ll find the same taphophiles are members of a bunch of these groups. I do my best to keep my social media life simplified. I do social media during my day job, too, so while I may not always be out there on my own channels, I’m usually networking in some way with someone.

Getting People into Cemeteries: Minda Powers-Douglas

Minda as sketched by Bill Douglas

Minda Powers-Douglas, the author of a number of cemetery books, is also the founder and editor of TheCemeteryClub.com and Epitaphs magazine. She loves getting more and more people into our cemeteries “before they absolutely have to.” She also loves learning about the past, preparing her young daughter for the future, and sharing her interests with the world. She lives in Moline, Illinois with her husband — artist Bill Douglas — and daughter Bella.

Cemetery Travel: What’s the philosophy behind TheCemeteryClub.com?
Minda Powers-Douglas: Its purpose is to connect people who love cemeteries. It’s also to encourage people to visit cemeteries and look at them in different ways: as historic parks, arboretums, etc.

Cemetery Travel: How is the Facebook group an extension of that?
Minda Powers-Douglas: The Cemetery Club FB group really allows people to connect in real time. It went from a group where I could push out information about my site, my books, and my events to a highly interactive group where people feel compelled to share their photos and experiences. Since to many of us live far away from each other, it gives us a virtual way to connect with like-minded taphophiles.

Cemetery Travel: People who like cemeteries often feel isolated or strange. Do you have any advice for them?
Minda Powers-Douglas: Do what you like to do and don’t worry about what other people think. There are way too many close-minded people in the world. On top of that, there are more people interested in cemeteries than most people realize. The popularity of genealogy has really helped. Plus, there is interest in changing the trend toward memorial parks; people aren’t happy with the flat stones that “make it easy to mow.” I know I really can’t stand going into a cemetery where I can’t see the stones. Every person who has lived deserves to have a monument that can actually be seen. Everyone deserves that. While we are alive on this planet, each one of us makes a difference in countless lives. We deserve our final recognition, a stone that says, “I was here, I was loved, and I made a difference.”

Cemetery Travel: How did you get interested in cemeteries in the first place?
Minda Powers-Douglas: I’ve always been interested in cemeteries. My mom got me interested in them. She used to take me to cemeteries when I was a child and showed them to me as places of interest rather than sadness or fear. It took me a while to realize that I wanted to write about them. Then everything clicked into place.

Cemetery Travel: What do you call your love for cemeteries? Do you consider yourself a taphophile?
Minda Powers-Douglas: Yes, I am a taphophile. It’s a weird word, but many of us have embraced it. And my love for cemeteries? I call it awesome. LOL! Actually, it’s just part of who I am. I don’t really have a special name for it. Taphophilia just sounds creepy.

Cemetery Travel: What’s your favorite cemetery in the world – and why?
Minda Powers-Douglas: Gosh, this changes with the most recent favorite. My two local favorites are Chippiannock Cemetery in Rock Island, Illinois (the book she wrote about it is available on Amazon: Chippiannock Cemetery (Images of America)) and Oakdale Memorial Gardens in Davenport, Iowa, where I do a lot of volunteer work and presentations. I love New Orleans cemeteries. I now have a very special place in my heart for Bonaventure in Savannah, though. I visited for the first time this past March. It is absolutely amazing. I can’t wait to go back.

Cemetery Travel: What cemetery would you most like to visit that you haven’t yet?
Minda Powers-Douglas: It’s too hard to choose just one. My top three: Mount Auburn in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Hollywood Forever in L.A.; and Pere Lachaise in Paris.

Cemetery Travel: What’s one thing people can do to ensure the survival of their favorite cemetery?
Minda Powers-Douglas: Visit it often. Make your presence known. Bring your friends and family. Bring your kids and teach them about the importance of our cemeteries. Simple things, like picking up trash while you’re wandering the grounds, are easy to do. Volunteer. Help them money by doing community programs. Create awareness. Research it and share your findings. Put it on the map and keep it there.

Cemetery Travel: Why should people care about cemeteries?
Minda Powers-Douglas: They are our history. They represent who we were, who we are. They are filled with art, history, nature, crazy names, places to walk or run. Cemeteries are definitely worth our time.

Cemetery Travel: Do you have any more cemetery books coming up?
Minda Powers-Douglas: I have a couple books in the works, but time is not on their side right now. My daughter started kindergarten this year, I’ve become her school’s Daisy Girl Scout leader, and my day job is pretty demanding. Keeping up with the site is challenging enough. I’ll keep working away, though. The books will come in due time. One of them, focusing on women in history, will require a lot of travel. Which I’m looking forward to, when the time comes.

Minda’s most recent books are available on Amazon.

More of Minda’s books and back issues of Epitaphs magazine are available through her store on lulu.com.

Follow her on twitter @cemeteryminda.

Come join The Cemetery Club on Facebook.