You may be able to add a few more branches to your family tree thanks to “Green-ealogy” – a new genealogical research program launched by the Green-Wood Historic Fund and historic Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.
Staffed by five trained researchers, “Green-ealogy” provides unprecedented access to Green-Wood’s institutional records and historical collections of documents and photographs dating back to 1840. Launched on a trial basis almost a year ago, the initiative helps family members, genealogists, and others discover documents and images that have not seen the light of day for generations.
As one of New York City’s oldest and largest cemeteries, Green-Wood is an extraordinary genealogical resource. With records of more than 560,000 individuals who are interred there, Green-Wood estimates it holds unique information on the family roots of more than 20 million individuals alive today. Now, these records can offer invaluable clues to family histories including cause of death, genealogical charts of family members, grave diagrams, and family and business correspondence, to name a few. Also available are copies of Green-Wood’s early photographs, paintings and drawings, correspondence, maps, posters, and artifacts that were created by or associated with persons buried there.
Green-Wood President, Richard J. Moylan, said, “Cemeteries are all about the living and their appreciation and understanding of those who have gone before. Cemeteries also play a major role in genealogy. Green-Wood is proud to offer family members a chance to learn more about their ancestors and give them new insight into their own past.”
Manhattan resident Elizabeth Bennett contacted Green-Wood to find out if her great-great grandfather was interred at the Cemetery. She was hoping to simply confirm the burial. Little did she know that she would soon receive information and documents she never knew existed.
“Seeing the burial records for my family was a great opportunity. We discovered new family members and resolved connections that were never clear – information I don’t think we would have found anywhere else,” said Bennett. “And, it brought to light a Civil War veteran my family didn’t know. We made very exciting discoveries that helped us reach further back in our family search.”
Those interested in finding out what Green-Wood has relating to their family histories can visit www.green-wood.com (then click on the genealogy link; and then click “Green-ealogy”) and answer a few simple questions. Green-Wood’s expert researchers will conduct a preliminary document search of its records and collections relevant to the inquiry, at no cost, and provide the user with a time estimate to produce a full report.
After the initial free document search, research fees are $28 per half hour. Photocopies, digital scans and digital lot/monument images will be provided at an additional charge. A full price list can be found online. Requests are generally completed within a few weeks.
Photo from Green-Wood Cemetery by Shannon Houlihan.