1925 CISH State Census

Central Islip State Hospital 1925 NYS Census Project


Opened in 1889 as the New York City Farm for the Insane, Central Islip State Hospital (CISH) became the largest psychiatric institution in New York State and perhaps the world. An 1896 Legislative Act transferred New York City Asylums to New York State under the name Manhattan State Hospital at Central Islip. Facilities increasingly expanded to the extent that they functioned as a small self-contained city including a Long Island Railroad spur, farm, firehouse, etc. The patients are of significant interest to researchers. The 1925 census represents the hospital during a peak period. In 1996, New York State closed the hospital as part of the restructure of the care of psychiatric patients.

History of the Re-transcription Project

When this project commenced, there was not an index to names for those enumerated in the New York State 1925 census. The only way to find a specific person was to scroll through microfilm for the 121 pages of the census representing 6017 lines of census data that includes patients and resident employees.

Conducted under the auspice of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Long Island, volunteers were solicited to transcribe the census into an Excel spreadsheet containing each column of data. Some census columns were deconstructed into multiple columns to permit better search capability and analysis of the data.

When approximately half of the data was transcribed, Ancestry.com released a transcribed database and the images on their subscription website. After debate, consultation, and searches, it was determined that there were significant errors in the Ancestry.com transcription which inhibited researchers. One such example is my great grandmother, Gussie Gross, who is enumerated on page 27 line 2 and transcribed as Gussie Guss. As such, she could not be located in a typical soundex search.

Much to the favor of the re-transcription project, the entire institution was enumerated by one person, namely, Catherine Graham. Therefore, there were considerable opportunities to “understand” her handwriting and make judgments in discrepancies that were hopefully accurate.

That being said, this re-transcription will still contain errors. An attempt was made to remain faithful to the spelling as handwritten rather than allow common sense to make the decision. In many cases, it was felt that the error was made from the original source to Catherine Graham’s enumeration. Again, decisions were made as faithful to the census recording as possible.


Much appreciation is offered to the dedicated group of volunteer transcribers. A special thank you is offered to Ava Gorkin, Susan Kalish and Amanda Rodriguez who continuously offered to take on more groups of pages to transcribe.The transcribers, in alphabetical order, are:

Carol Abrahamer, Diane Berg, James Boeri, Jennifer Buonasera, Marianne Callahan, Jessica Cavanagh, Jennifer DiGrazia, Les Goldschmitt, Ava Gorkin, Diane Haberstroh, Susan Kalish, Krystal Michelsen, Kayla Mueger, Karen Munoz, Charles Olsen, Matthew Ostermann, Catherine Pattay, Samantha Polistina, Deborah Pomeraenke, Kiran Ram, Toni Raptis, Amanda Rodriguez, Bonnie Schwartz, Jane Ventimiglia, Kristin Smith, Beverly Weinberg, Chuck Weinstein, Jessica Witt, Patrick Wood, Barbara Zimmer.


1925 State Census

Click here for a complete and searchable 1925 census of the Jewish population of Central Islip State Hospital!