The Cook County Sheriff's Department unveiled a searchable Web site for families who have loved ones buried at Alsip's Burr Oak Cemetery.
Sheriff Tom Dart says while there is a partial database of 10,000 names. It should be complete in next couple of weeks.
“It’s our hope that this website can help calm the fears of many of those worried about their family gravesites,” Sheriff Thomas J. Dart said in a statement. “Being able to easily search by name, then finding a picture of the headstone as it looks now, will answer a lot of questions for a lot of people.”
100,000 have been intered at Burr Oak since it opened in 1929.
The new site, www.burroak.net, allows users to search a complete list of headstones in the cemetery. Once completed, the site will also include an option to notify a detective if a headstone is missing.
The site will be of little help for people searching for unmarked graves. Most of the graves affected in the cemetery scandal, in which nearly 300 graves at the historic cemetery were disturbed -- some having bodies dug up with backhoes and dumped haphazardly so the burial plot could be re-sold in an off-the-books money-making scheme -- were unmarked. Four worker face criminal charges for the desecration.
“In addition to criminal activity that went on, there was years’ worth of neglect that made it difficult for many families to find a headstone,”
Sheriff Dart said. “Hopefully, our efforts here can bring some peace of mind to some of those impacted by this tragedy."