Genealogy in the News

A recent New York Times article describes the efforts of Colleen Spellecy, a retired teacher, to give names and dignity to numbered or entirely unmarked graves in the cemetery of a psychiatric hospital in upstate New York, through genealogical research. Only by using censuses and other unsealed records from the time period can people even be tracked to the institution, as the institution’s records are sealed by law for patient anonymity. After determining an individual likely died while institutionalized, then comes the task of tracking descendants, to obtain permission to unseal the records and publish the name. More on this project can be read in the article, here.


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