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The Political Graveyard is a website and database that catalogues information about over 190,000 American political figures and political families, along with other information.

History

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 Universitymarker, and later on staff at the University of Michiganmarker. Kestenbaum was formerly a county commissioner, and in 2004 was elected to be County Clerk/Register of Deeds of Washtenaw Countymarker, Michiganmarker. 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. The site now generates over 20 million hits each year, yet has remained largely commercial-free. 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.

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