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Products for grant PW-269407-20

PW-269407-20
Providing Access to the Unexpectedly Rich Records of Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery
Julie May, Green-Wood Historic Fund Inc.

Grant details: https://apps.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=PW-269407-20

BURIAL AND VITAL RECORDS: 1840-1937 (Database/Archive/Digital Edition)
Title: BURIAL AND VITAL RECORDS: 1840-1937
Author: Green-wood Cemetery
Abstract: From the date of the very first burial at The Green-Wood Cemetery in 1840 up until 1937, handwritten burial ledgers were maintained in the Cemetery offices. These oversized, clothbound books—known as the Burial Registry—list every interment at the Cemetery, chronologically. (Longtime Green-Wood staff still refer to these ledgers as “Chrono Books.”) Each record, written in one long row that stretches across two pages, contains demographic information on the person being interred organized in twelve separate columns. In an effort to modernize its operations, Green-Wood stopped writing these records by hand in 1937 and turned to typewritten forms instead. These new forms included fewer points of information on each burial. Green-Wood staff suspected that the information in the Burial Registry could be of great interest to researchers. To confirm that theory, a panel of scholars reviewed the entirety of Green-Wood’s institutional records—over 3,300 cubic feet. A planning grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) funded the work. The scholars nominated the Burial Registry as the top priority for digitization. In 2020, Green-Wood received a second grant from the NEH to transcribe every burial record in the series. The funds also covered the development of an Elasticsearch index that enables the burial record data to be discoverable and searchable to experienced researchers and to the general public. The Burial Registry forms the basis for all the information in this database. In total, the record series consists of sixty handwritten ledger books with data pertaining to 438,180 individuals interred at the Cemetery between 1840 and 1937. Cemetery administrators meticulously recorded a number of data points for each individual. Green-Wood’s chronological burial number Name of the deceased Burial date Lot and Grave number (location in the Cemetery) Age at death in years, months, and days Place of birth Marital status Street and house number of residenc
Year: 2023
Primary URL: https://www.green-wood.com/burial-and-vital-records/
Primary URL Description: Searchable database of detailed burial records from 1840 to 1937 at Green-Wood Cemetery.
Access Model: Open Access

The Green-Wood Historic Fund 2019 Implementation Proposal to the National Endowment for the Humanities Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Providing Access to the Unexpectedly Rich Records of Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery (Report)
Title: The Green-Wood Historic Fund 2019 Implementation Proposal to the National Endowment for the Humanities Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Providing Access to the Unexpectedly Rich Records of Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery
Author: Julie I. May
Author: Lisa Alpert
Author: Stacy Locke
Author: Bill McKinney
Author: Colin McDonald
Abstract: The Green-Wood Cemetery, one of America’s oldest rural cemeteries, was established in 1838 on 478 acres and is the resting place for 570,000 permanent residents, including Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed, Charles Ebbets,Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Horace Greeley, Civil War generals, baseball legends, politicians, artists, entertainers, and inventors. In 1999, it established The Green-Wood Historic Fund, a 501c3 organization whose mission is to preserve and maintain the cemetery, including its monuments of historical and cultural significance; to advance the public knowledge of Green-Wood; to conduct, sponsor, and host education programs in the community; and to safeguard the natural habitat and parklands of one of New York City’s first green spaces. In recent years, the Fund came to appreciate the importance of its vast collection of institutional records, which contains the documentation for every interment since the cemetery’s first burial in 1840. With engagement from an advisory board, the Fund sought to identify high priorities to focus its energies upon in order to advance its mission. Among all of the archival documents at Green-Wood — 3,000 cubic feet in total — the advisory board zeroed in on 60 handwritten, cloth-bound volumes, which recorded all interments at Green-Wood in its first century, known as the Burial & Vital Records. A 2019 implementation grant funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, "Providing Access to the Unexpectedly Rich Records of Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery" allowed the cemetery to transcribe the ledgers, build a database and search engine, upload the records to the database, and build a web page to make the information accessible. The following pages, define, describe, and disseminate the project’s details so that other cemeteries may replicate the program, others may harvest the data, and the public may search for the many residents in Green-Wood Cemetery.
Date: 2022-11-28
Primary URL: https://www.green-wood.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/Green-Wood-White-Paper_2022-11-28.pdf
Primary URL Description: We invite you to learn more about how this database was developed in the white paper from our project director, Julie I. May.
Access Model: Open access


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