New York State Funeral Directors Association

Historic writing

Years ago, family stories were passed down the generations through word of mouth.

It wouldn’t be otherwise a couple hundred years ago – when most people weren’t able to write.

After decades of mandatory education in the United States, most people are able to write, so today, there are few excuses to let important family history be forgotten.

Several calendar observances for the month of November provide ample encouragement to consider writing down some of your family stories – and there is quite a bit of help out there to make it easy.

Mortuary affairs specialists conduct a capabilities demonstration to explain the importance of properly preparing a United States flag for a transfer case on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 14, 2018. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sergeant Caitlyn Byrne)

"A body, is somebody."

As a former volunteer with the Mortuary Casualty Assistance Team, Staff Sgt. Kristen Bell developed her own creed for giving honor to our fallen Soldiers.

Bell's path to honoring our nation's finest began after she joined the Army in 2003.

Halloween is a good time to remember those who suffered because they were different

Youths walk around their neighborhoods in costumes collecting candy from friendly neighbors each Halloween.

Many wear pointy hats and black gowns to imitate the image of a “witch.”

Halloween is the one day of the year when witches become popular. So it’s a good time to remember those who suffered the terrible fate of people accused of witchcraft in the past.

Video: Slaves No More

New York's Capital Region honors, re-buries Colonial-era slaves. Found by accident in an unmarked cemetery, scientists pinpointed their African origin and the community held a wake and funeral.

Video: Family History

Today, resources are becoming more widely available, giving people the ability to learn exciting stories about their ancestors. Find 14 great tips on the Blog.


SympathyNotes is written to stimulate discussion of death and grief. Opinions do not reflect the views of NYSFDA.

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