The executive offices of Green-Wood respond to a variety of questions from lot owners—some demand our immediate attention, for an upcoming interment, for example, and some are less urgent. With each contact, our goal is the same: to provide dignified and courteous service to families as this office has for 179 years. The digital age has opened up new channels for families to communicate with Green-Wood, which is a good thing. However, we have found the old fashioned telephone—mobile or landline—to be the most effective channel for communicating with a lot owner about the delicate task of burying a loved one.
Our corporate secretary from 1838 might have received a telegram from a far-away place with instructions for opening a grave, all thanks to Samuel F.B. Morse, inventor of the telegraph and among our permanent residents. His remains rest in Lot No. 5761. More than one hundred years ago, a member of this office may have received a letter from a lot owner to prepare a form of transfer from one family member to another keyed on an Underwood Typewriter, patented in 1895 by permanent resident John T. Underwood, whose remains rest in Lot No. 3852. Or, instructions to establish an endowment for a lot may have been hand-written using a Faber pencil, manufactured by Eberhard Faber, permanent resident of Lot No. 13825. In 1880, these hand-written requests may have been scribed by a lot holder using the most famous brand of ink in the world at that time—Higgins’ American India Ink—accredited to Charles M. Higgins, whose final resting place is atop Battle Hill in Lot No. 23554.
Today, lot holders from near and far send email messages to this office with queries about their families’ lot. This office has engaged with hundreds of families to discuss everything from burial rights to conveyances and endowment care. As a result of those interactions in 2016, lot owners established endowments for 24 lots and graves and three persons deposited endowments for perpetual floral subscriptions for crypts through the cemetery’s Forever Flowers Program. Please telephone us at (718) 788-7850 or email us at email@example.com for more information about establishing an endowment for your burial site.
As a point of interest, persons may augment their present endowment to ensure that their accounts will remain sufficient for many years. In accordance with the prudent investor rule of New York State, funds are invested in a diverse portfolio of equities and fixed income instruments designed to produce sufficient income to maintain the burial site and also to provide growth for the future.
During 2016, 66 forms of transfer were registered at the Cemetery. The majority of those were vacant crypts, niches, graves and lots, being transferred back to the Cemetery by the purchasers or recorded descendants. A small percentage were transfers between co-owners, whereby one owner would vest sole ownership in a co-owner. 536 affidavits were registered with this office for the purpose of recording descendants, authorizing future interments, or changing a name on our official records due to a change in marital status.
Each year the number of visitors to our grounds increases, generating a lot of buzz about Green-Wood. Above all, there is a reverence felt to stand above the ground where the remains of so many rest. We are proud to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
Jane Cuccurullo and Sara Durkacs work with hundreds of Green-Wood lot holders and their family members every year. Together they have a combined total of 38 years of experience at Green-Wood. Each has a deep knowledge of endowed care, rights of burial, transferring ownership of the burial from one generation to the next, and much more. Please contact them by phone (718) 788-7850 or email for assistance.