1. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VIDEO They’re Buried Where? by Seth Voorhees
2. Cemetery Information at the NYS Office of Mental Health
3. New York State Hospitals / Custodial Institutions & Cemetery Projects.
4. S2514-2013 – NY Senate Open Legislation – Relates to patients interred at state mental health hospital cemeteries – New York State Senate
5. NEW HIPAA UPDATE March 2013!
The Inmates of Willard 1870 to 1900, A Genealogy Resource, was written by a genealogy geek with genealogy geeks in mind. It is for those who want to glimpse the past and enjoy reading historical documents with little or no interpretation. I had three objectives for writing the book: to make the names of the Inmates Of The Willard Asylum For The Insane (Willard State Hospital) from the U.S. Federal Censuses available to people who are searching for an ancestor; to share the old documents that I have collected and transcribed; and to make people aware of the thousands of patients who are buried in anonymous, unmarked graves. It is my hope that the names; dates of birth and death; and location of graves, of ALL former patients who lived and died in New York State Hospitals (Insane Asylums) and Custodial Institutions are released to the public so that these forgotten ancestors can be honored and remembered with dignity. Hopefully, this bill, introduced for a second time by Senator Joseph Robach, will become a law: S2514-2013 – NY Senate Open Legislation – Relates to patients interred at state mental health hospital cemeteries – New York State Senate.
The book was never intended to be a commentary on mental illness. Although this book deals with the specifics of Willard and its inmates; the laws, rules, and regulations applied to all county poor houses, city alms houses, and public and private insane asylums in the State of New York during the nineteenth century. It outlines the struggle between the county poor house system of caring for the insane and the eventual takeover by the state hospital system. The history of the treatment of people who were labeled as insane belongs to us all and should not be shrouded in secrecy. The names of the former Inmates of Willard can be found on the internet from such sources as the U.S. Federal Censuses, genealogy websites, historical documents, and books; everywhere except where they should be, on headstones in New York State Hospital cemeteries.
My personal interpretations and transcriptions of the names from U.S. Federal Censuses for the years 1870, 1880, 1900, and 1920, including the Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Census of 1880, are disseminated onto 199 pages located on this blog under the “Names” tab. Unfortunately, the spreadsheets did not fit into the book. The censuses do not include every person who ever walked through the doors nor do they reveal who died there.
The goal of this blog is to be a genealogy resource for people searching for ancestors who were patients at New York State Hospitals during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Brief histories of these former institutions can be found on the “Interesting Articles & Documents” page. If you have information to share, please share it here!
Willard and many other former New York State Hospitals still have patient medical records and photographs dating back to 1869 but only a select few are allowed to view, study, or learn from them because of the HIPAA and the NYS Mental Hygiene Laws. Was the HIPAA Law written to protect the dead? Privacy ends at death but apparently patient confidentiality lasts forever. No one wants to violate federal law and be slapped with a lawsuit or fine. Legislation that would allow these historical medical records to be released to the public is in order. Let’s hope that one day these issues will be resolved.
For Willard State Hospital Inquires Mail or Fax the completed form to:
Greater Binghamton Health Center
425 Robinson Street
Phone: (607) 724-1391; Fax: (607) 773-4387; TTY: (607) 773-4255