Hart Island

This article is a follow-up to a recent blog entitled “Harbour Lights”.


It was noted  that Alpo Hjalmar Lindell had died in the Bowery in New York City and was buried on Hart Island, a Potter’s field. Here is a brief summary of Hart Island.

Hart Island

Hart Island 1

A 101 acre potter’s field

Under the jurisdiction of New York City

Largest tax-funded cemetery in the world

Records are found on microfilms in the Municipal Archives in Manhattan

More than one million dead are buried there

Approximately 1,500 burials a year

One third of the burials are infants

Dead are buried in pine boxes in trenches


Hart Island 2

Babies are placed in various sized coffins and stacked five coffins high

Adults are stacked three coffins high in two rows and 25 across

Trenches were used to facilitate disinterment

Ceremonies have not been conducted at the burial site since 1950

No individual markers are set

Currently historic buildings are being torn down to make room for new Mass burials that are conducted by Riker’s Island inmates who are paid 50 cents an hour

Burials are of those people who could not afford private burials

Those unclaimed within a two week period by relatives were also buried there

Burial records are currently kept within the prison system

New York City Department of Corrections created a searchable database starting in 1977

It is not possible to visit the actual grave where a loved one may be buried

There is one ferry to the island every month, other than the ferry used to transport prisoners from Riker’s Island who work at Hart Island

April 30, 2012 jurisdiction of Hart Island was transferred to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation from the Department of Corrections


Hart Island 3

In 2008 a Freedom of Information Act request for 50,000 burial records was granted to the Hart Island Project.

“Since 1994, The Hart Island Project has independently assisted families in obtaining copies of public burial records. The group also helps people track down loved ones and negotiate visits. An ecumenical group named the Interfaith Friends of Potter’s Field has intermittently conducted memorial services on the island.”

Visit the following websites :

https://www.hartisland.net/        a video clip

https://www.hartisland.net/burial records/search/plot=317


Source for the above information:

Hart Island, New York    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Further Reading:

  • Visiting the Island of the Dead A Rare Visit to New York’s Potter’s Field on Hart Island

                By COREY KILGANNONNOV. 15, 2013   The New York Times


  • Is your family member buried on Hart Island, off the coast of New York? Sorry, you can’t visit

            PRI’s The World  February 17, 2015 · 1:45 PM EST

Reporter Alina Simone 



2 thoughts on “Hart Island”

  1. Hi, i have just look for Ida Susanna Karhu´s parents. Ida was born 24 March 1886 in Isokyrö,Lehmäjoki,Kleemola,Finland her father was Johan Thomasson Karhu born 15 January 1854 in Isokyrö,Lehmäjoki, Karhula, Finland and her mother was Sanna Johansdotter Kleemola born 9 April 1854 in Isokyrö,Lehmäjoki,Kleemola, Finland and Ida was forth of six children.In the Isokyrö parish confirmations book from years 1891-1900
    you can see that Ida went with her parents in 1896 to America. Many years ago my friend
    Milton Lindell gave me his parents name and now when I have make genealogy for more
    than 10 years I start to study Ida’s ancestors. Did you ever met Milton and Coletta???
    Greetings from Finland
    Impi Hagström


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