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Monday, January 23, 2017

Who is buried in Grant's tomb?

By Unknown - Original source: Robert N. Dennis collection of stereoscopic views. / United States. / States / New York / New York City / Stereoscopic views of parks, squares and cemeteries in New York City (Approx. 72,000 stereoscopic views : 10 x 18 cm. or smaller.) digital recordThis image is available from the New York Public Library's Digital Library under the digital ID G91F189_006F: → digitalcollections.nypl.orgThis tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.বাংলা | English | français | Nederlands | русский | Türkçe | 中文 |+/−, Public Domain,
Grant's Tomb, now formally known as General Grant National Memorial, is the final resting place of Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885), the 18th President of the United States, and his wife, Julia Dent Grant (1826–1902). See Wikipedia: Grant's Tomb. So why is there a long running joke about the contents of the tomb? Well, in reality, no one is buried in Grant's Tomb. Here is a quote from the Quote Investigator website:
Sticklers for accuracy have noted that the bodies of Ulysses S. Grant and his wife, Julia Dent Grant, are not actually below ground in the mausoleum. Hence, strictly speaking, no one is buried in Grant’s tomb. Perhaps responses of this type may have inspired humorists to create absurdist questions.
The Quote Investigator reports that the original quote was found to come from the following source:
The earliest evidence of this humorous question appeared in a syndicated newspaper column by the comedian and actor Ed Wynn who often used the persona of “The Perfect Fool”. In September 1925 the column “Ed Wynn’s Question Box: He Knows All – He Sees All” printed several interrogatives with a comic edge.
Of course, you know what this has to do with genealogy. You might also be interested to know that has 124 people with the name "Ulysses S. Grant." has 408 people with that name. There are also 301 people in the Family Tree with that name and 177,020 results for a search for the name on Finally, there are 1,002 people with the name that show up on Findmypast. com and many, many more in another search on You can likely see why we might have a problem with duplicate entries.

So, without qualification, there are thousands of "right" answers. This also points up the danger of assuming that someone with the same name is the same person.

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