The Political Graveyard

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Political Graveyard logo.

The Political Graveyard is a website and database that catalogues information on more than 265,000 American political figures and political families, along with other information.


The database attempts to capture very basic biographical and office-holding data for its political figures. Besides where they are buried, it records dates and locations of birth and death, offices held and the applicable dates, organizational affiliations, and cause of death. It also reports their relation (at least by blood and marriage) with other politicians listed, their political party, and limited military history. The names are sorted and indexed by surname, birthplace, positions held, demography, religion, occupation, cause of death, and final resting place, with each entry usually having fewer than five lines of text.

The name comes from the website's inclusion of the burial locations of the deceased, when known.

The site was created in 1996 by Larry Kestenbaum, then an academic specialist at Michigan State University, and later on staff at the University of Michigan. Kestenbaum was formerly a county commissioner, and in 2004 was elected to be County Clerk/Register of Deeds of Washtenaw County, Michigan. The site and its underlying database were developed from a personal interest triggered by the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress, which was its original data source. Since then his personal research, and the information contributions of hundreds of volunteers have greatly expanded the information available. It is licensed under the "Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 1.0" Creative Commons License.

Over the years the definition of "eligible political figure" has been expanded. It now includes most high federal officials, ambassadors, all elected and some appointed statewide officeholders, and many mayors. It lists unsuccessful candidates, presidential electors, and delegates to U.S. presidential nominating conventions of the major political parties.

An algorithm is used to group politicians into families with their states. A large number of politicians belong to two families, which are connected into a group of 1347 politicians known as the "Thousand Related Politicians". Most large families are a subset of it,the largest family that is not a subset are the Polk-Ashes, with 47 members. The largest subset family are the Seymour-Roosevelts, with 154 members.

Some politicians are put into categories, such as having been accused of crime (with subcategories for each crime), and having been into space.

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