Burials of Epidemic Victims

If your ancestor was the victim of a 19th century epidemic, it’s possible his or her burial is listed in this Ancestry Library Edition (Ancestry LE) record collection:

U.S., Find a Grave, 1600s-Current

Widespread epidemics that killed numerous persons in a short span of time created the need for additional burial places, and often led to the creation of new cemeteries. Such new cemeteries were sometimes named for the diseases that gave them life:

    Cholera Cemetery (Erie County, Ohio)
    Harrison Township Cholera Cemetery (Pickaway County, Ohio)
    Small Pox Burying Ground (Litchfield County, Connecticut)
    Small Pox Cemetery (Greer County, Oklahoma)
    Yellow Fever Cemetery (Grenada County, Mississippi)
    Yellow Fever Cemetery (Weakley County, Tennessee)

You can do a search in this record collection for specific individuals, but you can also search for all burials occurring in a particular cemetery, or even burials occurring in a particular geographic location during a particular time period:

SEARCH—DEATH—YEAR 1878 (Exact) LOCATION Mississippi, USA (Exact) CEMETERY Yellow Fever Cemetery (Exact)

This search returns results for persons who died as a result of a yellow fever epidemic in Grenada County, Mississippi in 1878.

It’s also possible to do a month by month search for persons who died during our own cholera epidemic (December 1848-August 1849). Let’s start with December 1848:

SEARCH—DEATH—MONTH December (Exact) YEAR 1848 (Exact) KEYWORD St. Louis City (Exact)

Search returns generally include the following information:

    Name
    Death Date
    Death Place
    Cemetery
    Burial or Cremation Place
    Has bio? Y or N (on Find a Grave page)
    Link (to Find a Grave page)

Search returns may also include this information:

    Birth Date
    Birth Place
    Spouse
    Father
    Mother
    Child

Notes: While every person who died in St. Louis between December 1848 and August 1849 was not a cholera victim, many were. It's possible to confirm cause of death in some cases (ask us for more info).

It’s possible that no record exists of the burial of some epidemic victims. They may have been buried in a hastily-dug mass grave, or the grave may have been marked with a wooden marker that was subject to weathering or theft for use as firewood.

You can use Ancestry LE at Central Library or any of our branches.

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