Monday, August 16, 2010

Cypress Hills Cemetery, part two

A great way of collecting a bunch of death dates for a family branch is to locate the family burial plot. I found a notice of the death of Van Rensellear Terry in the New York Times for 6 January 1857 and found out that he was buried at Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn. An inquiry to the cemetery resulted in the exchange of $30 for a handwritten transcription of the burials in the plot.

Was the month October or December for Catherine Moffat?  I was not finding the obit.  Was Florence Heniley 100 years old?  I was not finding ancient Florence in any census.

I visited the cemetery and had no qualms questioning the transcription. I paid my money and I needed an accurate account of the occupants of the plot. The date of death for Florence was confirmed to be zero, not 100. That still didn’t help. Babies aren’t zero. They are stillborn, one day, one hour, two weeks, but they are not zero. I visited the plot.

Next to the plot was a huge dugout crater. I didn’t fall in, but photographing became dangerous from certain angles. The hole was way deeper and wider than the mythical six feet under.

Of the people on the transcription, only Florence was on the tombstone- died 9 October 1864, aged 1 year and 9 months.  The other people on the tombstone were not on the transcription.  Nevertheless, this was the group I was seeking and the names and dates provided a bunch of information to work with.

Cypress Hills Cemetery
Brooklyn/Queens, New York
Section 4