THE NAMES: FIND YOUR ANCESTORS!

DO YOU HAVE ANCESTORS WHO DIED IN WASHINGTON, DC, IN THE 1800s? DO YOU KNOW WHERE THEY WERE BURIED?

The Archaeological Team couldn’t find burial books for the Mt. Pleasant Plains or Quaker cemeteries at Walter Pierce Park. To find out who was buried there, we reviewed official District of Columbia death records. The result of our research is the Walter Pierce Park Burials Database, listing the names and other information about 8,428 people laid to rest at the site. 

MatildaHayes
The 1889 death certificate of Matilda Hayes, 67, a nurse/midwife who died in Hillsdale and was buried at Mt. Pleasant Plains. Photo by Mary Belcher

The city of Washington began keeping official death records in 1855 in a ledger called the “Interment Register.” In August 1874, DC began issuing individual death certificates, which contained more information than the earlier records. The Walter Pierce Park Burials Database identifies people by name, age, cause of death, length of time residing in Washington, place of death (usually the home address), and other biographical information.

The Team found very few records for burials in the Quaker cemetery, which was founded in 1807–some 48 years before the city began keeping death records. Also, there were gaps in records during the Civil War–specifically from June 1861 to June 1862, and from August 1862 to January 1866–causing an unknown number of omissions.

In addition to the Quaker and Mt. Pleasant Plains cemeteries, the database includes burials from the Free Young Men’s Cemetery at 12th and V Streets NW from 1849 to 1870, because its graves were moved to Mt. Pleasant Plains in 1873.

The Team hand searched more than 75,000 death certificates at the District of Columbia Archives to document the 8,428 burials at the Walter Pierce Park cemeteries. We are extremely grateful for the help of DC archivists Ali Rahmaan and Bill Branch, who kept us on track through our months-long project.

TIPS FOR USING THE DATABASE:

DOWNLOAD IT OR USE IT ON-LINE. The Database is a simple Excel spreadsheet that can be used on line or downloaded to your computer as a PDF file. The names are listed alphabetically.

USE CREATIVE NAME SPELLINGS. For example, if you’re looking for the last name “Tinney,” also try spelling it “Tenney.” Death certificates were filled out by doctors and undertakers, and misspellings occurred.

FOR FAMILY TIES, check addresses. People with a common surname at the same or a similar address are likely related.

 

5 responses to “THE NAMES: FIND YOUR ANCESTORS!

  1. Thank you so much for your website and this list. My 4th Great Grandparents were buried at the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery. They were Philip Johnson (d. 1879) and his wife, Clara Johnson (d. 1874). I had a copy of the death certificate, which is how I found out about the cemetery. After doing a google search Mt. Pleasant in DC, I found a Washington Post Article and this website. Thank you for your work and concern to those persons buried here. Respectfully, Andre Ferrell.

  2. I am a Civil War Reeactor out of Fredericksburg Va and have been researching Lucy Ann and Dabney Walker when I came upon this site! Awesome job you guys did!

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