New York Cemetery Records

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This entry was originally written by Roger D. Joslyn, CG, FUGA, FGBS, FASG for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

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In 1999 The Association of Municipal Historians of New York State published their compilation New York State Cemeteries Name/Location Inventory, 1995–1997 (Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books), which will help in finding the majority of cemeteries in the state.

The largest number of New York cemetery records (the bulk of which are actually transcriptions of cemetery marker inscriptions) is found in the multi-volume collection of the Daughters of the American Revolution in the State of New York Cemetery, Church, and Town Records, located at the New York State Library, the New York Public Library, and the DAR Library in Washington, D.C. Scattered volumes are found in other libraries including many local libraries in the area in which a particular cemetery is located. To determine which cemeteries have been covered, consult Revised Master Index to the New York State Daughters of the American Revolution Genealogical Records Volumes, Books 1 and 2, prepared by the General Peter Gansevoort Chapter, Albany, New York (Zephyrhills, Fla.: Mrs. Jean D. Worden, 1998). There is also a master card catalog index to the collection, arranged by place, at the state library. While these DAR collections are useful, it is unfortunate that most of the cemetery inscriptions have been alphabetized, thus destroying important clues based on the location of the grave markers.

Some counties have had many or nearly all of their cemetery records published. These include Dutchess, Genesee, Putnam, Ulster, and Washington counties. Another large published collection is Some Cemeteries of the Between-the-Lakes Country, 3 vols. (Trumansburg, N.Y.: Chief Taughannock Chapter, DAR, 1974), covering parts of the counties of Seneca, Schuyler, and Tompkins. The Orange County Genealogical Society is publishing that county’s cemetery records, a volume for each town. Published cemetery records are also found in Tree Talks, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and other genealogical journals. Many transcriptions are in manuscript form such as those by Gertrude A. Barber and her sisters, Ray C. Sawyer and Minnie Cowen. Local libraries and historical societies throughout the state are likely to have collections of cemetery records for their areas. For the New York City area, see Carolee Inskeep’s The Graveyard Shift: A Family Historian’s Guide to New York City Cemeteries (Orem, Utah: Ancestry Publishing, 2000).

See also:

New York Cemetery Records - more than 13,000 cemetery record listings organized by county and town