New York State Funeral Directors Association

Rescuing New York State Burial Grounds

Burial grounds – whether they are private family graveyards or large, public cemeteries – are constantly facing challenges like severe weather, vandalism and the ravages of time.

Many have fallen into disrepair; others lost their governing boards and fell into the hands of localities that are less-than-eager to maintain them.

But in many places of New York State, residents, neighbors and volunteers are embracing the value of these historic final resting places.

And they’re reaching out to the general public for help.

Here are details of some of the projects underway in New York State aimed at preserving cemeteries and other final resting places:

SLINGERLAND FAMILY BURIAL VAULT

Vandalism and neglect almost led to the loss of a family burial site built for a farmer, businessman and anti-slavery activist who represented residents of New York State in both Congress and the New York State Assembly.

But family members, historians and others concerned with preserving history – and the remains of fellow New Yorkers – are stepping in to halt the ravages of time and vandals. A view of the Slingerland Family Vault

A group called Friends of the Slingerland Family Vault, which includes descendants of the Slingerland family, is organizing tours of local history to raise money to preserve and restore the Slingerland Family Burial Vault.

Situated in the Albany County Town of Bethlehem, the Slingerland Family Vault is the final resting place of several family members including former Congressman John A. Slingerland.

Nearby is the former hamlet of Normans Kill, re-named Slingerlands in honor of this influential family that moved to the region in the 1600s.

Learn more about this project on the website of the Friends of the Slingerland Family Burial Vault.

GREENBUSH CEMETERY

Hundreds of early residents are interred in the Greenbush Cemetery in East Greenbush, NY, an active cemetery some residents are working to maintain.

But fewer people are choosing burial, and managers of this final resting place are having difficulty keeping it up.

Cemetery supporters created a GoFundMe page where they explain that simply mowing the lawn costs $1,300 – and it happens 10 times a year.

New York State residents may find some of their own ancestors there.

Many of the interments are recorded on Find-A-Grave. You can search its listing of those buried there on the Find-A-Grave website.

Learn more about Greenbush Cemetery restoration on their Facebook Page.

HOLY TRINITY MONASTERY

Founded in the early-1900s by a Russian monk, this site north of Cooperstown, NY, became the home of Russian Orthodoxy in western New York.

It serves as a place of worship and also as a site of three cemeteries serving as the final resting place of more than 3,000 people including monks and leaders of the faith community.

Congregants and neighbors are raising money to help maintain the cemeteries. They bought a new lawnmower with donations and are in the process of raising enough money to pay it off.

Learn more about this community’s maintenance project on the Holy Trinity Monastery website.

CONCORDIA CEMETERY

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this cemetery created in the late-1800s near Buffalo, NY is the subject of a maintenance project conducted by volunteers.

Now the final resting place of more than 17,000 people, the cemetery’s friends don’t plan to see their cherished graveyard fade into neglect, so they have an ongoing maintenance campaign underway.

An initial goal of $100 has been well-exceeded, with more than $1,600 donated so far – primarily by numerous relatives of those who are buried there.

Read about the goal of these volunteers on the Concordia Cemetery GoFundMe page.

GLENWOOD CEMETERY AND MAUSOLEUM

The Glenwood Cemetery Association is restoring its grounds following a wind storm that caused damage to trees and stones at the site in Lockport, NY.

It is the final resting place of former NY Governor Washington Hunt and Congressmen Richard Crowley and Thomas Thorn Flagler – in addition to William George Morgan, who invented the sport of Volleyball.

The Glenwood Cemetery Foundation is reaching out for help to repair the grounds through GoFundMe – learn more about the initiative HERE.

There are many more projects underway to restore, preserve and maintain cemeteries and other burial sites – projects that will help these communities retain the history they hold.



EdsPhotoEdward Munger Jr.
Communications & Social Media Specialist
NYS Funeral Directors Association