morbid curiosity

The burial permits for the town of New Hartford from 1893 to 1975 are available on our website, look at ‘Archives>Burial Records’. In addition to being an excellent source for genealogical information, these records are a fascinating glimpse into daily life. They record the lives, and the tragedies, of the people of the town. We can see through these permits how life has changed: diseases and accidents that were once common place have become rare, while unheard of accidents have become common.  The records are sometimes sobering: children dying of appendicitis or cholera, virtually unheard of in our modern world, men in the prime of their life dying from accidents that today would be survivable.  They are also reminders that some people lived long lives, dying in their 80’s, even a few in their 90’s.

On Page 7 of the burial and transit records though, we come to the first real indication of the modern world: 2nd Lieut. Henry C. Smith died on December 22, 1918 in an airplane (aeroplane was the spelling then) accident in France. The first car accident victim in New Hartford’s records was a child, Albert Pompa, age 11, in 1927.

The starkness of the burial records makes them almost more poignant. Who were these people, summed up in such a few short sentences?

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