ABOUT OUR BURIAL RECORDS & MAPS
The Cortland Rural Cemetery is beginning the long process of transferring its primarily hard-copy records and related documents into an easily searched database for use by our operations/office staff -- and, ultimately -- for use by the public, via our website.
While we tackle this endeavor, please be patient with us!
As you would expect at a nearly 150+ year-old cemetery, burial records consist of a wide variety of information in an equally wide array of formats, ranging from hand-written records from the late 1800s, to type-written pages from the mid-1900s, to computerized records. And the same goes for our maps, which run the gamut from hand-rendered, one-of-a-kind maps to more modern renderings and computerized formats.
Daunting enough in and of themselves, the process of managing, cross-checking, converting, and archiving all of these items is further complicated by the fact that we must do so bringing to bear our very limited financial resources, paid staff hours, and volunteer labor.
In other words, we do the best we can! Meantime, we currently have four documents available to you here:
1) First, we are proud to offer you use of our new-in-2015 "cemetrail": Featuring 20 interpretive signs, each of which were developed in cooperation with students and faculty from SUNY Cortland, this self-guided tour of the cemetery will provide you with educational insights on some of our cemetery's noteworthy burials, history and operations, artistic assets, and geological attributes. Along the way, we hope you will also enjoy the marked trees of our arboretum, also established with help from the college. Enjoy!
> Two other articles worth reading, if you are interested, are the college's summary of the project (here) and a blog written and posted by Syracuse.com's Glenn Coin (here).
2) Our AutoCad rendering of a cemetery map originally drawn in the 1965 (saved here as a PDF file). Please note that this recently-redrawn 1965 map does not yet reflect many of the site changes that have transpired at the cemetery in the intervening years (e.g.: the lot leased to SUNY Cortland as a parking area at the NW corner, the elimination of some roads, and the addition of several new, active burial sections). Still, this file nevertheless represents the most current "digitized"map we have of the site -- and efforts will shortly be under way to thus update this AutoCad file so that, soon, it will be both 'current' and able to capture future alterations to the cemetery grounds.
3) Just updated (July 2023) are basic burial records (by last name) from 1885 through July 2023, in the form of a PDF file capture of an Excel spreadsheet. Coupled with the cemetery map, the lion's share of researchers should be able to locate ancestors buried in the CRC. That being said, please understand that there may be individual 'gaps' in this data; in particular, we note there are no burials included prior to 1885. (Many thanks to CRC Trustee Karen Halstead for working on through this latest update!)
4) See the property/deed records related to the Cortland Rural Cemetery -- beginning with the original sale of ~11 acres by David & Ann Hubbard to the Cortland Rural Cemetery Association in 1855. (Thank you to CRC Trustee Warren Eddy for researching/securing this documents for us from the Cortland County Clerk's Office.)
INTEREST IN LOCATING A GRAVESITE?
As indicated elsewhere on our website, the Cortland Rural Cemetery is a non-profit cemetery that is not funded by municipalities ~ but is facing sizable demographic and revenue-generation challenges (aka: declining traditional burials). Accordingly, we must operate on an extraordinarily lean operating budget and with a modest staff.
Even so, we will make every effort to assist those interested in locating a specific grave in our cemetery. In return, we ask for the following:
> please be patient with your request: some of our records/maps are in modern formats and are easy to access, while others are currently only available in hard-copy formats dating back decades. We will do our level best to answer your inquiry accurately and in a timely fashion, but doing so is sometimes a matter of several days' research ~ not a semi-instantaneous computer search.
> please consider making a donation of $15 to our cemetery to cover the cost of your search. Whether we can confirm the location of a particular grave or not, the research takes valuable staff time. And, thus, all donations that help cover this cost are much appreciated.
Aerial images of Cortland Rural Cemetery -- from IRIS
We obtained these aerial images of the CRC in its early years from the Institute for Resource Information Sciences (IRIS) -- located at http://aerial-ny.library.cornell.edu/-- and are pleased to publish them here with permission (special thanks to Stephen D. Smith, Sr. Extension Assoc. / Assoc. Director of the IRIS Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Cornell University). Look closely and, addition to seeing the hallmark twists, turns, and circular sections of the CRC, you'll see the rapid development of the SUNY Cortland campus.
From left to right: 1937 view; 1955 view; and 1966 view. (Download all three images in Zip file.)