Search uncovers over 75 unmarked graves in Livingston County cemeteries

Historians uncover unmarked graves

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GENESEO, N.Y. – Historians in Livingston County have uncovered the remains of more than 75 people buried in unmarked graves in the county’s poorhouse cemeteries.

It’s a finding that Livingston County Historian Holly Watson said could help trace the origins of the dead back to their families.

“It’s important that we have learned more about this site. It’s been kind of mysterious how many people are buried here,” Watson said.

Watson said that her office hired experts to carefully search the New and Old Poorhouse cemeteries for unmarked burials.

“This was in September of this year, so just a couple of months ago, and it took one day at each site. So there are two cemetery sites. We are at one of them. Another is down the hill,” Watson said.

Using non-invasive ground penetrating radar machines, teams were able to find 75 unmarked graves, then they marked each one with a silver disk. 

“These are the markers where some of the new, the unmarked graves we were able to locate through this most recent survey,” Watson said.

According to Watson, it’s likely that those buried at the New Poorhouse Cemetery were laid to rest between 1907 and 1940.

But given the size of both the New and Old Poorhouse cemeteries, Watson said finding the 75 unmarked graves could just be the start of a larger discovery.

“It doesn’t necessarily represent all of the people that were buried here. It’s another step toward learning more about the site and honoring those who have been forgotten by our area,” Watson said.

Watson said she remains committed to making sure everyone buried at the cemeteries are found, recognized, and honored.

“The next step would be to put up some interpretive signage so that a visitor to the site might be able to understand a little bit more about why it’s here and it’s significance to the community,” Watson said.

The New Poorhouse Cemetery is located along Route 20A and Volunteer Road in Geneseo, New York.