Shoebox Records from Old St. Mary’s Cemetery, Albany

Posted on January 21, 2021 by Jennifer Mele under Genealogy, Historic St. Agnes Cemetery, History, Preservation

The Shoebox Burial Records Revealed

By Kelly Grimaldi, Historian and Associate Director of Albany Diocesan Cemeteries

About ten years ago Sister Nola Brunner, archivist at the time for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, and I made a trip to Historic St. Mary’s Church located on Lodge Street in Albany.  Our purpose was to find burial records for St. Mary’s Cemetery formally located on Washington Avenue where Albany High School is now located.  The cemetery opened in the early 1800s and burials continued well into the 19th century before it closed and bodies were removed to other area Catholic cemeteries (mostly St. Agnes Cemetery, Menands) between 1875 and 1917.  A book noting the names of the deceased removed from St. Mary’s Cemetery very mysteriously went missing, making records from the Church itself all the more valuable from a historic perspective.

Sister Nola and I were allowed to inspect the books stored in the small closet-like vault located in the church office and we were also given permission to search the shelves in the basement.  To our disappointment, we did not find interment books for the old cemetery.

We did find four shoeboxes full of alphabetically arranged index cards with names and presumably the dates of death for 2,723 people spanning the years 1841 – 1890. 

We do not know if the records are complete.  We do know that many of the burials noted on the index cards include burials that occurred in other cemeteries after a funeral in St. Mary’s Church was held.  This is particularly true after St. Agnes Cemetery opened in 1868.

We were allowed to take the boxes back to my office located in St. Agnes Cemetery, Menands and store them in the cemetery vault.  I had always wanted to have the index transcribed and make them public for genealogists.  Though lacking any information other than name and a date, the records were all we had of old St. Mary’s Cemetery.

Click here to read the shoebox data, transcribed by Kelly.

I remain hopeful the burial records will resurface someday and certainly if they do, I will do my best to ensure the information they contain is preserved and made available to researchers.

6 thoughts on “Shoebox Records from Old St. Mary’s Cemetery, Albany

  1. leslie dykeman says:

    Will you be digitizing them at any point?

    1. Jennifer Mele says:

      Dear Leslie,
      This is as digitized as they will probably ever be as a group. It’s all the info we currently have from the old cemetery. When the deceased were transferred to other cemeteries, the lot card and other potential records were all (we certainly hope) incorporated into the other cemeteries records.

  2. Gene Sofie says:

    My name is Gene Sofie. My father’s Aunt was Angeline Zaccardo, born in Muro Lucano, Italy. When going through death records of Muro Lucano, I came across the two documents inserted in the death record book. It appears the Giuseppe Zaccardo, mis-spelled Sacardo was buried in the Saint Mary’s Cemetery. Attached are the two documents, Giuseppe’s birth record and a newspaper clipping of the railroad accident. Italian Giuseppe’s often took the name Joseph and the Zaccardo name was often mis-spelled. Hope this is of interest to you.

    1. Jennifer Mele says:

      Thank you Gene. I will share this information with our historian Kelly Grimaldi.

  3. Looking for information for Rosy Argento Annello died sometime around 1914 or a little before. Her husband Angelo Annello remarried. He and his wife Catherine Rinaldi Annello and many adult children are buried in St. Agnes cemetery. I am desperately looking for information on Rosy Argento Annello. Perhaps she too is buried at St. Agnes Cemetery. Any help would greatly be appreciated.

    1. Jennifer Mele says:

      Please contact Kelly Grimaldi at (518) 350-7679. Thank you.

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