For those of you looking for ancestors buried in Anonymous Graves at Unmarked State Hospital and Custodial Institution Cemeteries, you may never find them.
Chapter 661, Laws 1893. Sec. 207. CADAVERS.
“The persons having lawful control and management of any hospital, prison, asylum, morgue or other receptacle for corpses not interred, and every undertaker or other person having in his lawful possession any such corpse for keeping or burial may deliver and he is required to deliver, under the conditions specified in this section, every such corpse in their or his possession, charge, custody or control, not placed therein by relatives or friends, in the usual manner for keeping or burial, to the Medical Colleges of the State authorized by law to confer the degree of Doctor of medicine and to any university of the State having a medical preparatory course of instruction and the professors and teachers in every such college or university may receive any such corpse and use it for the purpose of medical study. No corpse shall be so delivered or received if desired for interment by relatives or friends within forty-eight hours after death, or if known to have relatives or friends; or of a person who shall have expressed a desire in his last illness that his body be interred, but the same shall be buried in the usual manner. If the remains of any person so delivered or received shall be subsequently claimed by any relative or friend, they shall be given up to such a relative or friend for interment. Any person claiming any corpse or remains for interment as provided in this section may be required by the persons, college, university or officer or agent thereof, in whose possession, charge or custody the same may be to present an affidavit stating that he is such relative or friend, and the facts and circumstances upon which the claim that he is such relative or friend is based, the expense of which affidavit shall be paid by the persons requiring it. If such person shall refuse to make such affidavit, such corpse or remains shall not be delivered to him but he shall forfeit his claim and right to the same. Any such medical college or university desiring to avail itself of the provisions of this section shall notify such persons having the control and management of the institutions and places heretofore specified, and such undertakers and other persons having any such corpse in their possession, custody or control in the county where such college or university is situated, and in any adjoining county in which no medical college is situated, of such desire, and thereafter all such persons shall notify the proper officers of such college or university whenever there is any coipse in their possession, custody or control, which may be delivered to a medical college or university under this section, and shall deliver the same to such college or university. If two or more medical colleges located in one county are entitled to receive corpses from the same county or adjoining counties, they shall receive the same in proportion to the number of matriculated students in each college. The professors and teachers in every college or university receiving any corpse under this section shall dispose of the remains thereof, after they have served the purposes of medical science and study, in accordance with the regulations of the local board of health where the college or university is situated. Every person neglecting to comply with or violating any provision of this section, shall forfeit to the local board of health where such non-compliance or violation occurred, the sum of twenty-five dollars for every such non-compliance or violation, to be sued for by the health officer of such place, and when recovered to be paid over, less the costs and expenses of the action, to such board for its use and benefit.”
SOURCE: Contributions From The Pathological Institute Of The New York State Hospitals, Volumes I and II, 1896-1897, State Hospital Press, Utica, New York, 1898, Pages 127-128.