Genealogy Topics


Genealogy Societies - Misc. - Illinois

Unclaimed Bodies

Sadly, people die across the country and are never claimed by next of kin. Their identities have been determined, but officials are unable to locate any relatives. In some jurisdictions, the number has reached epidemic proportions, a recent (January 2012) scandal at the Cook County, Illinois morgue where decomposing bodies were stacked up like cordwood. Usually handled by the respective counties, disposition practices vary widely. Some may be given a decent burial, funded by donations and tax revenues with volunteer assistance provided by local mortuaries and schools. Some may be cremated. Others may be stuffed together in wood boxes and buried in mass graves in a potter's field, as Cook County, Illinois demonstrated in February, 2012.

Genealogists have occasionally helped locate next of kin. One descriptive article appeared ca. 2010/2011, but I lost the link. Other links to information follow. The San Bernardino, California has put their list of unclaimed persons on a website, which has been expanded to allow all California counties to post, though most apply to SB. That link follows.

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