The Political Graveyard – Find a Politician in Your Family Tree

No, this is not an article about the upcoming presidential campaign, although a few snide remarks do pop to mind. In fact, a web site called The Political Graveyard describes itself as “The Internet’s Most Comprehensive Source of U.S. Political Biography,” or “The Web Site That Tells Where the Dead Politicians are Buried.” If you had an ancestor in politics, you might find this to be an interesting and useful site.

The Political Graveyard presently has transcribed records of 302,477 politicians, judges, and diplomats. The coverage of the site includes many federal officials, state officeholders and candidates in all 50 states, state and national political party officials, federal and state judges, and mayors (including candidates at election for mayor) of qualifying cities.

This web site is much more than a listing of cemeteries. It has extensive lists of political figures, many of them with mini-biographies or else links to more detailed information about the individuals listed. Such information usually includes states and places of birth and sometimes includes the names of the politician’s parents. Of course, with the word “Graveyard” in the site’s name, you can also expect to find the place of interment of most of these individuals.

With information about 302,477 individuals, there is an excellent chance you can find a politician or two in your family tree, perhaps one that you never knew about before. You can find Horace Greeley, Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, Aaron Burr, Sam Houston, and thousands of lesser-known politicians. There is always an excellent chance that someone in the family held public office. If so, he or she may have information listed on this site.

As usual with any site I try, I first launched a search for my own surname. I was amazed to find more than 60 Eastmans listed. (Please don’t tell my aunts. They will be so embarrassed to have a politician in the family!)

I didn’t recognize any of the names as being close relatives although I suspect that I share DNA with a few of them. Looking through the list, I found numerous state legislators, delegates to national political conventions, and one lieutenant governor.

If you are looking for more information about someone in your family tree, The Political Graveyard might be worth a visit. You never know whom you will find there.

The Political Graveyard is created and maintained by one person: Lawrence Kestenbaum, of Ann Arbor, Michigan. He must have spent tens of thousands of hours on this so that others can benefit from the information there.

The Political Graveyard is free and open to everyone at http://politicalgraveyard.com.

After reading information on this site, I am reminded of one saying: “The best thing about this group of candidates is that only one of them can win.” ~Will Rogers

5 Comments

This is an interesting site but does need updating. It includes my great-grandfather, James P. Graham, Brooklyn, New York, who was a longtime Brooklyn politician who served two terms in the New York State Assembly (legislature). It says ‘burial place unknown’. I sent corrected info to the site ten years ago but still not there. For the record, he is in Holy Cross Cemetery, Brooklyn NY. Obit in the New York Times, Brooklyn Eagle etc. Plus I have his death cert.

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F. George Dunham, III July 31, 2020 at 6:26 pm

Really interesting. Unfortunately for me, the best known politician in my family was a KKK member. My family has been accused of racism for many years because of that man. It’s made me do some good things I guess that I would not have done otherwise to try to clear our name like hire black people and visit museums. I’m going to do some more research on this site to see if we have anyone else I can point to that has a better history.

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Found this site a few years ago & meant to add my G-Grandfather but totally forgot.
He is still not included so thanks for reminding me! A great site and I don’t know how the guy does it.

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Yes, it needs updating. I think I sent him an email a couple of years ago to update my grandfather who ran for Wisconsin Attorney General in 1924 on the Prohibition ticket. 14 years earlier he had run for District Attorney in Neenah on the same ticket and got 67 votes out of the 9728 cast. They like their beer in Wisconsin.

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A good site. Also worth noting is that there are layers which yield “political family” subset pages. At times, these can be quite eye-opening and lead one along unanticipated pathways.

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