16 January 2015

Hart Island -- NYC’s Public Burial Ground -- Over 1 Million Burials -- Trying to Reveal Their Stories

Last year, in Upfront with NGS Mini Bytes, we had a brief blurb about Hart Island ...

Hart Island is NYC’s Public Burial Ground and the Department of Correction has created a database of Hart Island Burial Records. You can search on name, age, date of death, place of death (e.g., which hospital), etc.

I was reminded of this cemetery when a new online interactive project was announced last month, New York's forgotten finally remembered: Forbidden island where over one million 'unknown' people are buried in a mass grave reveals its secrets in online database.  This article is full of images from the facility and there is a video on the page (here’s a link to it) you will want to watch which talks a bit about the island and its history, the lack of access to the island, and The Hart Island Project with its The Traveling Cloud Museum telling the stories of some who are buried there.

Giving voices to those who can no longer (or ever could) is a large part of what we do as family historians.  We also desire the ability to show our respect for our deceased family members by visiting where they are buried – hopefully, someday, that might be true for those who have family buried on Hart Island.

Do you know of other public burial locations where visitors are not allowed?

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