Effective 2011, this is the no longer the "official" web site of the Concordia Cemetery Association. What's found here is an archive of past announcements about the status of the cemetery, where to find information about the cemetery, calls for supporting the cemetery, and information on how to contact the Concordia Cemetery Association. When I receive information about the location of the official web site, I will post it here. Photo to the left by and courtesy of Dave Yearke, May 2004.
Concordia Cemetery Association
PO Box 1773
Amherst, NY 14226
Concordia Cemetery: 438 Walden Avenue, near Sycamore.
Last Updated: 23 July 2011
See Concordia Cemetery: 150 Years of Buffalo's History Needs Your Help in a December issue of Buffalo Rising.
- 31 January 2010:
Diane Pesch-Savatteri, Volunteer President of the Concordia Cemetery Association, reports that:
- Concordia Cemetery still struggles financially, with very little left for maintaining the landscape. Because there is no more space, the association can make no further money from grave sales. Your support is needed!
- The association will have its second volunteer board and friends meeting Saturday, February 6, 2010 in Lancaster, NY. Contact Diane at (716)685-2648 for more information.
- More volunteers are needed to help directly on site or to help the association connect with appropriate community groups.
- The association is also seeking grants to help it transition from a cemetery business to one of preservation of this historic cemetery.
- For those who live at a distance but maintain an interest in the cemetery, please consider donating funds. Send a check to the address above!
- Wayne Rettke continues to serve as an advisor and researcher for families.
- The association is seeking photos and histories to tell the story of our Buffalo ancestors for an educational exhibit being prepared for display in the farmhouse on the cemetery grounds. Our loved ones buried at Concordia were the builders of Buffalo-hardworking, industrious and wanting to give their families a better life and community. We need to preserve those stories before they are lost and to share them with others to fully understand who is laid to rest in that cemetery--soldiers, factory workers, business men and women, shipbuilders, autoworkers (many worked at Pierce Arrow), brewers, shoemakers, tavern keepers and more.
- Find-A-Grave lets you look up specific tombstones at Concordia and if you have a photo or bio of the person, you can add it. A few of us have started... Take a look!
- 15 Aug 2007: 50 volunteers spent three hours as part of the United Way Day of Caring resetting tipped GAR markers.
- 2007: 27 markers were found below the surface and have been marked for resurfacing.
- 2005: All civil war gravesites have been documented.
- 50 large markers were inventoried and marked for the next round of restoration.
- 24 monuments were renovated.
- 90 deeds have been put into a data base.
- An index (by name) has been made of 400 burial permits
- Fragile documents-- 3 x 5-1/2" tissue paper copies from 1920 to 1930 for Trinity Church only are being digitized.
- A group of over 50 volunteers helped out on August 17, 2005. Progress made included:
- The gate as well as the trim on the house was painted.
- Spelling corrections were made on the St. Peters records.
- Many markers were raised (from underneath the grass) and re-set in the Trinity and St. Stephens sections.
- Some of the stronger volunteers took it up on themselves to right fallen monuments-- 14 that were face-down are now upright. We are grateful to the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, as well as the 40+ employees of Moog Inc., and the fine people from Homeland Security all of whom gave their time and muscle to these tasks. In other news, we have the check in hand to begin the professional restoration of 55 large monuments. We hope to have most of the designated markers complete before snow.
- July 2005:
- The Association brought up to the surface and reset 68 markers.
- The Association resumed the annual maintenance fee (only $15 for one grave; $30 for multiple graves). They need your help: of the 15,000 people buried at Concordia, the Association has been able to contact less than 800 plot owners. If you're a plot owner, please send in your fee. (If you're not a plot owner but have relatives buried there, consider a donation to support the cemetery.)
- Lookup requests are being taken for $10 each. Download & use this Lookup / Search Request Form (PDF).
- Memorial Day service was conducted at the cemetery on Monday May 30, 2005.
- The CC Association received New York State vandalism funds to support the restoration of toppled monuments
- Dave Yearke visited Concordia Cemetery over the 2004 Memorial Day weekend. He took a number of photographs....
- Looking for previous announcements?
Here's a map. For questions about the cemetery, the association, how to help, or finding more details about those buried there, please write to or call:
Concordia Cemetery Association
PO Box 1773
Amherst, NY 14226
p: 716-892-2909 (only answered by a person on Saturdays, but there is voicemail)
The original cemetery records had been under the care of the NY Dept of State, but the Concordia Cemetery Association is in discussion with Buffalo City Records to store and microfilm the records. At this point in time, the original records are not available for research. We have also learned that the Erie County Genealogical Society wants to microfische the records and has offered to store the originals at their office, but we do not know the status of this effort. There is also something of a plot map.
Churches that buried their dead here include:
- St. Peters German Evangelical (records available on microfilm from LDS)
- St. Stephens (records available on microfilm only through the Western NY Genealogy Society library). Originals are stored at St. Stephen's United Church of Christ, 750 Wehrle Drive, Buffalo, New York 14225.
- Trinity Lutheran (records not available on microfilm)
Buffalo resident Karen Kolb has a new project to update the records. Contact her for more information.
There is a book, Buffalo, NY Concordia Cemetery (author name same as title), Call # F 129.B8 C75, that provides a short listing of stones from the St. Peters section of the cemetery. It's also available on microfilm from the LDS.
Many family historians and genealogists have ancestors buried at Concordia Cemetery. It is one of the oldest cemeteries in Buffalo, created in 1858 by German immigrants. The cemetery was shared between three German churches: St. Peters, Trinity Lutheran, and St. Stephens. This nonprofit cemetery fell on hard times in 2001 when its treasurer was accused of embezzling $154,000 from cemetery funds. He was convicted and imprisoned in June 2003. The caretaker of many years (the very helpful Jim Ganschow) resigned around the same time (although we have heard that he still helps out when he can, and that he may work at Mt. Calvary Cemetery).
On September 10, 2003 the Concordia Cemetery Association held a special meeting to reorganize and elect a new Board of Trustees. About 100 people attended and elected a new board of directors, including Elizabeth Triggs, founder of the We Care Neighborhood Community Block Club Association. Hopefully this new board will be able to unfreeze the $86,000 in assets, and place liens upon the property of the former board treasurer. [Source: Buffalo News, 5 Oct 2003]
Reported on NYERIE-L on 13 March 2004: The new Concordia Cemetery Association board has met and toured the house (that's on the cemetery property). A remodeling plan has commenced. The gas & electric have been turned on. Plans include installing markers for all sections of the cemetery. On May 29, 2004, the association held a fundraiser ( photos here ) and work day to clean the cemetery and to assist people with finding graves. The association also has a meeting scheduled with the City Record's Department, which will have the records and preserve then on microfilm. There will be a rededication of the cemetery on Veteran's Day (November 11).
1 April 2005, Buffalo News :
[Click for full story.] IRS Drops Claim Against Cemetery by Jay Rey.
An East Side cemetery trying to come back after scandal, neglect and abandonment has overcome another hurdle - the Internal Revenue Service. In December, the IRS notified the new board of directors at Concordia Cemetery on Walden Avenue that it owed the government more than $30,000 in back payroll taxes, fines and interest. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, with the help of Council President David A. Franczyk, spoke with the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service in Buffalo. They explained that the tax problems occurred under a previous board, when the cemetery fell victim to disrepair and theft by its former treasurer. The IRS agreed the new board wasn't responsible for the back taxes and dropped the case against the struggling cemetery, according to Clinton's press office. Paying back taxes and fines from the late 1990s and early 2000 would have devastated efforts to keep Concordia afloat, cemetery board members said. "Now we can concentrate on our volunteer efforts to bring Concordia Cemetery back to a place of beauty and serenity," said Diane Savatteri, a board member.
1 November 2004: Buffalo News wrote a nice story about recent efforts to clean up Concordia Cemetery.
28 September 2004: A reader on NYERIE-L alerted us to recent vandalism at Concordia Cemetery, including the volunteer & community response. A local Buffalo TV news station covered the story.