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There was an article in the Omaha World Herald on 2 Nov 2007, Sec B p 1 by
Robert Nelson that needs our attention as concerned genealogists. Currently
there is a cemetery in Hastings NE where about 1,000 people who were former
patients at the Hastings Hospital when it was a mental institution (now the
Hastings Regional Center). These people's graves are marked by a single slab
with a number (there's a picture of one.) Burials in this cemetery took place
between the late 1880s and the 1950s, and the people had been residents had
been clients of the "State Asylum for the Incurably Insane."
People requesting information about loved ones who MAY have been buried
there have had to spend up to $1000 to get the information. Otherwise, they
remain anonymous numbers. If someone in the family went missing, they're
probably still missing from our records, if they ended up there.
Please join our voice in protesting this mass hiding of records under the
guise of medical confidentiality. We are not asking for diagnosis, or
treatment, or any medical information. Please emphasize that. All we want is to
have made available a name of the person and a date of interment. Write to your
state representatives, to the governor, to the Nebraska Health and Human
Services (or all of the above), and join us in requesting the right of families
to know where loved ones ended up. Even those who died unmarried & childless
probably had extended families who care.
Other states have made available the names of people who died in state
institutions, so there is precedent for releasing the names and burial dates to
You can read the entire article in Friday's World Herald. Feel free to pass
this message on to other Nebraska genealogy related email lists.
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