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Hart Island Cemetery
Hart Island, Bronx County, New York

hart island cemetery new york

GPS: 40.853583, -73.770600

Hart Island
The Bronx, NY 10464

Published: September 8, 2019
Total records: 71,746

Hart Island Cemetery is owned and operated by New York City Department of Corrections.

Hart Island Cemetery is where New York City inters unclaimed bodies, unidentified persons, and other unidentified human remains.

Cemetery History

Hart Island's history as a burial ground goes back to 1864, during the American Civil War, when Confederate prisoners of war were buried here. Some of these soldiers were moved to West Farms Soldiers Cemetery in 1916 and others were removed to Cypress Hills Cemetery in 1941.

It's present day use as an indigient burial ground began in 1869, when a 24-year-old woman named Louisa Van Slyke, who died in Charity Hospital, was the first person to be buried in the island's original 45-acre public graveyard. It has since been expanded to 131 acres.

Since then, the City of New York has buried over 1 million bodies here. Hart Island has become known as, "City Cemetery" and "Potter's Field".

Since the 2000s, the number of burials per year dropped significantly down to less than 1,500.

Many burial records were destroyed by arson in late July 1977. Remaining records of burials before 1977 were transferred to the Municipal Archives in Manhattan; while records after that date are still kept in handwritten ledgers.

Cemetery Records

Records published here were acquired from New York City Department of Corrections. These records include only dates of death after May 23, 1971.

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