Holy Family Roman Catholic Cemetery
Rochester, New York


This cemetery was located on the south side of Maple Street approximately near the present 1117 Maple Street. It was originally in the Town of Gates and as the City of Rochester expanded, it became part of the City. It was removed in 1955 with the burials being moved to Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

Much of the information on this cemetery came from a manuscript by Charles F. Wray dated August 1973. Mr. Wray and Harry Schoff were hired to remove the burials from the cemetery in 1955. Both had worked on archeological digs with the Rochester Museum and Science Center before taking on this job. Mr. Wray was able to write the manuscript from his field notes that he had taken in 1955.

Mr. Wray wrote that the cemetery had "early burials dating in the 1840's and 1850's." That did not sound right as Holy Family Church was established in 1864. A handwritten note from an unknown author stated that the cemetery was purchased in the 1850's by a group from St. Peter's Church (later renamed Sts. Peter and Paul's Church). That church had a cemetery also on Maple Street closer towards the center of Rochester so it isn't sure why they needed an additional cemetery. The original name of the cemetery was St. Stephen's Cemetery. Shortly after Holy Family Church was organized the cemetery was purchased by the congregation and appears as Holy Family Cemetery on a map from 1872.

After Holy Sepulchre Cemetery was established in 1871, it was thought that burials in the older Catholic cemeteries would be moved to Holy Sepulchre. In a newspaper article in the Union-Advertiser (7 March 1876) there was discussion of closing the Holy Family Cemetery. An article about the cemetery in the Rochester Times-Union dated 20 April 1955 stated that the last burial was about 1907. Another source has the last burial about 1913. A search on the Fulton History website revealed a burial that was done in the cemetery in 1939. Another source shows that removals from Holy Family Cemetery began well before then. Every Memorial Day a veterans group would put flags on veterans' graves. The number of veteran graves increased over the years until it reached 34 in 1904 and then by 1918 the number had decreased to 21 graves. So it appears that some veterans had been moved to family lots in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. So, most likely, other burials had been moved in the early 1900's.

By 1954 the condition of Holy Family Cemetery was dismal. Tombstones would end up in the middle of Maple Street, especially after Halloween. One of the first steps was to load the existing tombstones into a truck and take them to the city dump. Then Mr. Wray and Mr. Schoff along with a backhoe operator (to take off the top soil layer) began on 21 March 1955 the removal of the burials. They completed the removals on 21 April. Mr. Wray noted that they had to stop digging at the lot line of the cemetery but they could see that burials remained outside the boundary at the southeast corner of the cemetery and also under the sidewalk. The burials under the sidewalk could be explained by the width of Maple Street increasing over time. The burials in the southeast corner is open to speculation.

Estimates of the number of burials in Holy Family Cemetery were greatly under estimated. Mr. Wray reported that before they had begun, there had been 391 removals. They dug up and removed 79 children under one year, 263 children (1 - 12), 101 adolescents (13 - 18) and 619 adults. That comes to a total of 1453 people that had been buried in this small cemetery. Out of those removed there were only 118 that were identified from tombstones and coffin plates. The following are those burials that Mr. Wray reported in his manuscript dated 1973:

Johannes Delles   John B. Danzer
Wolfgang Steger   Barbara Kluber
Fredericka Hasselwander   Lawrence Uhl
Caroline Temmerman   George Schaefer
Andrew Scheurman   Katherine Knapp
Maria Hauser   Valentine Uha
Theresa Maurus   Anna Kreuzer
Margaretha Weber   Engelbert Walker
Joseph Immel   Anna Bausch
Simon Barkhardt   John Haag
Elizabeth Hetzler   Johann Goltz
George Schretter   George Fluck
Johann Gallizdorfer   George Zimmerman
Franz Xaver Voegel   Franz Pierrott
Barbara Barthelmann   John Wild
Johanna Schomer   Simon Zorn
Alberina Sailer   John Quetschenbach
John Meiser   Adam Sebert
Andrew Wedell, Co. A, 64th NY Vol.; d 11 May 1890 aged 51y

These burials in Holy Family Cemetery were identified from a search on the Fulton History website:

Ebbertt, Joseph; d 17 June 1915; buried 18 June
Immel, Joseph; d 27 Jan. 1913 aged 70
Meiser, George; d 10 Jan. 1898 aged 65y 6m; buried 13 Jan.
Piehler, Rose Ann, infant dau. of Mr. & Mrs. Alois; buried 17 Feb. 1911
Rittersbach, Albert; buried 3 Feb. 1916
Rittersbach, Mrs. Margaret; buried 8 April 1915
Wahl, Laura May Hammond; d 28 Jan. 1939 aged 54y; buried 1 Feb.

These burials in Holy Family Cemetery were identified from a search of Catholic Newspapers:

Esse, Peter died July 28, 1907 aged 86 yrs. at his home 666 Jay St. Funeral Aug. 1 at his home and at Holy Family Church. (from The Catholic Journal dated Aug. 2, 1907.)
Kase, John; died aged 79 yrs. Funeral Jan. 20 1913 at his home on Amers St and atHoly Family Church. (from The Catholic Journal dated Jan. 24, 1913.)
Ruby, George F.; Funeral Aug. 9, 1911 at Ss. Peter and Paul Church. (from The Catholic Journal dated Aug. 11, 1911.)
Voekl, Rosa, dau. of Adam and Lena, died April 5, 1902 aged 6 yrs. Funeral April 8 at Holy Family Church (from The Catholic Journal dated April 12, 1902.)
Zimmerman, Edward died April 25, 1902 aged 21½ yrs., son of police captain Zimmerman. Funeral April 28 at Holy Family Church. (from The Catholic Journal dated May 3, 1902.)

Most important for someone looking for people buried in Holy Family Cemetery is to view the death records from the records of the church. The records from 1864 to 1910 were filmed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS; commonly referred to as the Mormons). The church records are on LDS film number 1432393 and may be rented at any of the LDS Family History libraries around the world. The death records include the place of burial and even after Holy Sepulchre was begun many of the partioners continue to be buried in Holy Family Cemetery. Note that some of the church records are in Latin and some filmed pages are difficult to read because of light colored writing. The church records are still worth viewing for people buried in the cemetery.



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