Minutes of Coroners Proceedings, City and County of New York, John Burnet, Coroner, 1748-1758; by Francis J. Sypher, Jr.; 2004, Cloth; Item # NYGS10.
It has long been thought that New York City’s pre-Revolutionary Coroners records were lost, but now the 1748-1758 records of Coroner John Burnet have been found among the Van Cortlandt family papers in the library of Columbia University. Burnet conducted inquests for more than 75 city residents who died under unusual circumstances, including murder, drowning, suicide, premature birth, death while in jail, and numerous kinds of accidents. The proceedings give us fascinating glimpses of life and legal procedures in the mid-18th century city, and should be an especially valuable resource for social as well as legal historians. For genealogists, the proceedings also name hundreds of jurors and witnesses, in addition to the deceased. Francis J. Sypher, Jr., Ph.D., has carefully transcribed and annotated all the records, and has written an introduction in which he describes 18th century New York City, the role of the Coroner, and the life of John Burnet. The book also includes a selection of contemporary illustrations.