More than a month ago I announced that Mt. Hebron Cemetery in Flushing, New
York put online a searchable database, where one could look up the burial
records of approx. 217,000 people. Within the last week or two, Mt. Carmel
Cemetery in Ridgewood, New York (85,000 burials) also put online a similar
database. Within the next few months, a few more cemetery databases
will be made available. I will be pleased to announce their readiness when
each becomes available.
There are definitely mistakes in the databases at Mt. Hebron and Mt. Carmel
databases, but overall they are excellent and a boon to us researchers. Some
common mistakes that appear on these databases are the switching of a
Yiddish given name for an English given name and vice versa, and there are
instances of a woman being listed by her maiden name instead of her married
It is important to understand how these names were entered into these
cemetery databases in the first place. One should realize that at some point
in the past, the data that was entered into these cemetery databases were
taken >from the transit permits (i.e. more or less, what document accompanied
the body to the cemetery). I believe that these permits originated >from the
death certificates of the deceased. Of course, we know that often times the
person (usually a family member) who was notified of the death might have
spelled the name of the deceased differently >from how the rest of the family
spelled the name. Mistakes could also have been made by the person inscribing
the deceased's name on the matzeva. So the grieving relative (or
non-relative who probably knew the least how to spell the name correctly.
Maybe he/she only knew the deceased by a nickname, not by their real given
name) giving the info for the death certificate might not have known how to
spell the name correctly, the coroner may have taken it upon himself to
spell the name as he heard it, not to mention the possibilty of mistakes
made by the person copying the name >from the death certificate to the
transmit permit, or >from the permit to the cemetery database.
Regarding searching the above two cemetery databases by society name, the
only way to find every burial for a particular society plot is to do plug in
each letter >from A to Z along with the society name. Also, one should not
just rely on the society name as listed on the JGSNY database to find the
society name that you will need to search these cemetery databases by
society. I have found that many times these names do not match up--not just
because the a word or two need to be abbreviated, but sometimes the society names
from the JGSNY database and the cemetery databases are too dissimilar toproduced the desired results. It is best to use the JGSNY database to learn
of the society name listed and plot location, i.e. block, gate, etc., and
then check the society listings on each cemetery website according to
society name and plot location. Go to the "About Us" link, which
will lead you to their list of society names (their spelling), and copy and paste
that name into the "Society Name" space.
Also recall that I announced that Mt. Moriah Cemetery in Fairview,New Jersey
also has a searchable database (www.mountmoriahcemeteryofnewjersey.org),
but here one can only search by name.
I would strongly recommend that anyone who is looking for a relative who is
buried somewhere in the New York-New Jersey metro area but doesn't know
where they're buried, to check each database.
Also, please remember that on my website, on my Cemetery Directory page,
there is contact info for many cemeteries in the New York-New Jersey area,
and info on how to obtain photographs of matzevot. Also, you will find in my
Cemetery Projects section, overall grounds maps to most of the Jewish
cemeteries in the New York-New Jersey metro area, some in S. Florida, Los
Angeles, Montreal and Waldheim Cemetery in Forest Park (Chicago), Illinois.