146 people died in the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire of 1911 in New York City. Most of the dead were young immigrant workers. The fire was one of the worst disasters since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. The fire was a wrenching event in New York’s history, one that had a profound influence on building codes, labor laws, politics and the beginning of the New Deal two decades later.
Most of the dead were soon identified by relatives and funerals were held. However, six bodies were so badly burned that they could not be identified. Their relatives knew the loved ones never returned from the fire at the factory but could not identify the badly charred bodies. Now, 100 years later, thanks to the persistence of amateur genealogist and historian Michael Hirsch, all the dead have been identified.
You can read the story in a story by Joseph Berger published in the New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/nyregion/21triangle.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2 (NOTE: Stories in the New York Times often are available online for a very few days and are then removed. The story is available as I write these words.)
You can read more about the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire of 1911 at http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/trianglefire/
My thanks to Karen Wetherell for telling me about this story.