Friday, November 5, 2010

Burials per Year at the Montefiore Cemeteries of New York

With my recent announcement of the online availability of the two searchable burial databases for Montefiore and New Montefiore Cemeteries in New York, many have flocked to these databases in search of family members. These databases have been a boon to many, yet for others who know that there are family members buried in one of these cemeteries but have to date been unable to locate their burial records, they are understandably frustrated.

Within each cemetery lies more than five hundred society plots, not only landsmanshaftn (mutual aid) societies, but societies formed within synagogues, fraternal orders, labor unions, community centers and other organizations, not to mention family plots and plots unaffiliated with any particular organization. The landsmanshaftn are associated with many countries, especially those from Europe, such as Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, Austria-Hungary et al.

The reason that burials are not found within these particular databases most often is that the data for every burial has not been entered yet; it is an ongoing process whose completion date is unknown. This is especially true of the database of New Montefiore Cemtery. One often tends to look for reasons why one relative can be found, e.g. from 1930, but not of a family member who died more recently. Of course, there may be data entry errors, differences in spellings between a headstone, death certificate, etc., which would lead one to a false negative result, so one must use one's imagination when searching for information via these databases.

What I have done for you is create a table and webpage that lists the number of burials currently listed on each cemetery's database per year, from 1900 to the present. You might like to visit this page and see where the "gaping holes" are in burial numbers, so to speak, especially with regard to the New Montefiore Cemetery database. As a side note, you might find a burial that occurred before the cemetery officially opened; this can be either because of a typo in data entry or because of a disterment from one cemetetery into this one, and of course, the date of death would remain the same.

In order for me to determine how many burials per year there are currently listed on each database (as of Nov. 1 of this year), I simply entered the full year in the "year of death" field and the number of burials on the current database appeared at the bottom of the page. Certainly if someone periodically wishes to search the New Montefiore Cemetery database, for instance, and search under the years most seemingly deficient in numbers on either database according to my aforementioned webpage table, please feel free to do so. If you happen to discover that the number of burials for a particular year and cemetery have increased significantly, please contact me and I will notify all of you.

The webpage I created with the numbers of burials per cemetery per year can be found here.

The two online searchable cemetery databases can be found by clicking on either cemetery name here.

You can find overall grounds maps for each cemetery within each cemetery's website or you can see them (along with dozens of others) here.

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