Thursday, July 17, 2008

(My) New York Family Research

Vinti Plot - HeadstoneVinti Plot Obscured by a Hosta
Sidewalk in Calvary 3 - Going to Bruno Plot Bruno Plot - Headstone<br />
Bruno Plot Location

I visited two cemeteries to see plots of great grandparents that I never knew, surnames: Vinti and Bruno. The two cemeteries are: St John Cemetery at 90-01 Metropolitan Avenue, Middle Village, New York (location) and Calvary Cemetery, 49-02 Laurel Hill Blvd, Woodside, New York (location). Both were accessible (with a few blocks of walking by subway/train from midtown). I did take a taxi from St. John to Calvary (too far to walk).

For any cemetery visit, stop at the main office first and save yourself time if you don’t know what you are looking for. I didn’t know where to even look so a stop at the office was necessary. I found out that a typical plot (marked with a headstone) that my great grandparents have are stacked 3 high (as in coffins). In both sets of relatives, there remains space since only a husband and wife are buried there. Who inherits the plot? All living descendants. At St John, the very helpful Polly explained the whole thing to me. Makes sense. I also filed for a maintenance request because of rampant hosta plant from a neighboring plot totally obscured my relatives.

The trick at Calvary is to figure out what part of Calvary you need to go to. There is Calvary 1, 2, 3, and 4. Parts 2-4 are close, but 1 (the oldest part) is a bit far from the other two parts. Part 1 is for old, old burials. Most likely you’ll be looking in Parts 2 - 4. The main office for Calvary is in Part 2 anyway. Apparently there are 3+ million people buried there.

One question that entered my mind when looking at the aerial photo of Queens is why are there so many cemeteries? Apparently, the area is called the Cemetery Belt and there is a good reason for it. It is because of the Rural Cemetery Act passed in 1847 in New York which commercialized the burial process.

Results: success on both accounts. Both plots were located and I spent some quality time with my great grandparents on a very hot New York summer afternoon.

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