Sunday, September 16, 2018

Don’t Forget Cemetery Records-Additional Children Discovered

While researching my paternal ancestors I learned that several (Mary King, Louis and Sarah Barry King, Louisa King) are buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, in Brooklyn, New York.  (Click on individual names to go to posts about their lives.)
What additional information might I be able to find out about my family by obtaining records the cemetery might have?  What records would a cemetery have? 

First, I needed to learn about the cemetery:
The Green-Wood Cemetery my ancestors are buried in is located in Brooklyn, Kings County, New York.  This cemetery was one of the first rural cemeteries in America when it was founded in 1838.  The earliest burial dates to 1840.  The cemetery grounds encompass 478 acres of hills, valleys, glacial ponds and paths.  While being one of the oldest and largest cemeteries in the United States it also has the largest collection of 19th and 20th century statuary and mausoleums.  Green-Wood Cemetery was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006.  The Battle of Long Island was fought across what is now the grounds of Green-Wood Cemetery.  It was also designated a Revolutionary War Historic Site.  Currently there are over 560,000 people buried there.  Greenwood Cemetery states that in 1866 the New York Times said “It is the ambition of the New Yorker to live upon Fifth Avenue, to take his airings in the [Central] Park, and to sleep with his fathers in Green-Wood.”  This statement from the New York Times is interesting to note because within 20 years of this article my ancestors would begin being buried there.

I contacted Green-wood through their “Green-Ealogy” department and was informed that this is the listing of all those buried in the plot and grave where Mary King is buried:

Next, I looked at the list to see what I could determine about the people in the grave:
  • They are all the same Surname-“King”
  • I see Mary King, my paternal 3x great-grandmother and the date matches the burial date I have
  • I recognized the name of Louisa M. King.  Louisa was my grandmother’s sister who died of polio in 1916 at the age of 12(see post Polio Epidemic of 1916, Brooklyn, New York). 
  • I think William could be my great-grandfather’s brother William born in 1876

Then I thought about what I didn’t know:
  • Who are Caroline E., Frank Albert and Lilly King?  I haven’t seen these names before????

Finally, I decided it was time to pay Green-Wood Cemetery for copies of records they have on the people in this grave.  Would I be able to find out who Caroline, Frank and Lilly were and why they were buried with Mary?

I tried to wait patiently and finally the email came with the information I had been waiting for:

King Mary 1890 burial record
Mary King: Residence 14 – 1st Avenue, Brooklyn: Age –70:  Date of Death-7 Aug 1890: Internment-8 Aug 1890: Birthplace-PA
Lot 3803-Grave 4: Cause of death-Old Age: Undertaker-Peter Farrell

King Louisa 1916 burial record King Louisa Burial order
       Louisa M. King: Residence-216 57th Street, Boro of Brooklyn, N.Y. City: Age-12 years-10 months-26 days:                              Date of Death-15 July 1916: Internment-18 July 1916: Birthplace-Brooklyn, NY: Lot 3803-Grave 4-Section 85: Cause of Death-Endocarditis:  Undertaker-Fred Herbert and Sons
In addition to above on the second card is: Exact size of outside case-7 feet: Funeral will arrive at Cemetery Tuesday On July 18 at 4 o’clock P.M.:  Original receipt for grave presented by F. Herbst & Son

King Lilly 1885 burial record
Lilly King: Residence-44 41st Street, Brooklyn: Age-9 months: Date of Death-16 July 1885: Internment-18 July 1885: Birthplace-New York: Lot 3803-Grave 4: Cause of Death-Hydocephalus: Undertaker-F. Herbst

I needed some perspective, when looking at the death of such a young child, and found the following in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper 3 July 1885 on page 3:
  • “Of children under 5 years of age there were 196 deaths at an annual rate of 15.36 or 59.57 per cent, of total.  There were 152 deaths under 1 year of age or 46.19 per cent of total.  The four chief causes of death, except diarrheal deaths, were consumption, 42; pneumonia, 17; meningitis, 15; marasmus, 9-aggregate 83, or 25.23 per cent of total.  The total number of diarrheal deaths was 106.”
  • When Lilly died the death rate under one year of age in Brooklyn was almost 50%.  Unbelievable in today’s times.

King Caroline 1886 burial record
Caroline E. King: Residence-44 41st St, Brooklyn, N. Y.: Age 5 months-16 days: Date of Death-19 July 1886: Internment 21 July 1886: Birthplace-Brooklyn: Lot 3803-Grave 4: Cause of Death-Cholera Infantum: Undertaker-Fred Herbst

From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle 27 Jul 1886 page 4:
“ The Death Rate Decreasing
Report of the Health Department for the Week Past
  • The deaths in Brooklyn during the week ending July 24, 1886, numbered 386, being 8 less than in the previous week, and representing an annual death rate of 29.18 in every 1,000 of the population.  Compared with the corresponding week in 1885 there were 223 less, the rate of mortality then (1885) being 38.49.
  • Of children under 5 years of age there were 246 deaths, at an annual death rate of 18.60, or 63.73 per cent of total.  There were 189 deaths under 1 year, 48.96 per cent of total.  The four chief causes of death were: Cholera infantum, 101; consumption, 86; diarrhea, 28; diptheria, 12; aggregate, 177, or 45.86 per cent of total.”
King Frank Albert 1887 burial record
Frank Albert King: Residence-44 41st St, So. Brooklyn: Age-2 months: Date of Death-21 Sept 1887: Internment- 23 Sept 1887: Lot 3803-Grave 4: Cause of Death-Tubercular Meningitis: Undertaker-Fred Herbst

The closest Health Department Report I was able to find was in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle 20 May 1887 page 1:
  • “ During the week ending Saturday the deaths in Brooklyn numbered 291, being 9 more than during the previous week, and representing an annual death rate of 20.37 in every 1,000 of the population,  Compared with the corresponding week in 1886, there were 24 more, when the death rate was 20.19.  Compared with the corresponding week in 1885, there were 11 more, the rate of mortality then being 21.94.
  • Of children under 5 years of age there were 110 deaths , at an annual death rate of 7.70, or 37.80 per cent of total.  There were 56 deaths under 1 year, or 19.24 per cent of total.  The four chief causes of death were: Pneumonia, 30; consumption, 42; diptheria, 18; bronchitis, 14; aggregate, 99 or 84.00 per cent of total.”

  • Now I need to determine who the parents were of the 3 children.  Were they Louis and Sarah’s children or Jacob’s children?  They were the only 2 sons in the family of Mary and Theodore King.  The births of the children would fit that they were their children. Who lived at the addresses where the children died?  They all died at the same residence.
  • I have several lines of ancestors who lived and died in the Brooklyn area but are buried in different cemeteries.  I think I need to make a list of which families are buried in which cemeteries and see what additional information that tells me.
  • I realized in my post on Sarah Maria Barry King I incorrectly stated that my great aunt, Louisa, was buried with her.  Louisa is instead buried with her Great-Grandmother Mary King.
  • I learned that the infant death rate was so much higher then I expected in the late 1880s and that my ancestors succumbed to diseases that were prevalent at the time.
By obtaining the records from the cemetery I learned about 3 children I never knew existed.  They did not show up on the Federal Census records because they died in the 10 year gap between censuses.  Don’t forget to check places where other records exist!

If you have any corrections, additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,


  1. I love cemetery records. They can really reveal a lot about our ancestors.

    1. Yes, they definitely can Diane. Now, I want to get more of them.