October is the first full month of fall and in Canada Thanksgiving will be celebrated on October 10th. The end of the month is Halloween. Halloween used to be All Hallows Even the night before All Saints Day which was also known as All Souls’ Day. These are days of remembrance for those who have died but are held in purgatory. All Soul’s Day represents them getting to heaven.
In October we are going to investigate cemeteries. The first three weeks will represent a different country (Canada, Ireland and Scotland) and the last week will look at some places to find information that is useful for anyone researching cemeteries.
The first week cemeteries in Canada will be examined. The Canadian Headstone Photo Project is a volunteer service that takes photographs of monuments and puts them online. It is a work in progress and you can help by adding some monument photographs that you may have. They also have projects for Ireland (Fermanagh and Tyrone) and the USA.
In the Province of Ontario there is the Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid. You can search by name, county, township or cemetery. It provides the information of who is buried in what cemetery and then you can contact the family history society or other society that holds the original information. There is a British Columbia Cemetery Finding Aid as well.
The second week will look at the cemetery records for Ireland. Belfast has an online search facility for burial records. Read the description of what records are available. The first cemetery starts in 1869 and the other two in 1954 and 1905.
Brian J Cantwell’s Memorials of the Dead is a well known Irish resource. You can get a description of the resource here and can search the records at the pay per view website Irish Origins.
Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin has put their cemetery records online which date from 1828 to the present day. It is a pay per view website. You can do a standard burial/cremation search for 3 credits; an extended burials by grave search (all others in same grave) for 8 credits and if a book extract is available it is an additional 2 credits. One credit costs 1 Euro.
They let you know if others are buried in the grave with a green check mark next to the entry in the search results. You get digital copies of the actual records.
Another option is Irish Graveyards where you can search “a number of Irish graveyards to locate a specific grave” there is also the option to browse. Not every county or graveyard is represented. This is a work in progress. You get an image of the church if it is a church graveyard and a map which downloads as a PDF file. The graves are numbered and it corresponds with the number in the search results. The results also provide a photograph of the grave. This is a free service.
The local authorities of County Kerry have gotten together and created a website dedicated to the 140 cemeteries under their control. They have scanned 168 books which includes 70,000 indexed burial records.
In week three let’s look at Scotland. In Glasgow there is a website dedicated to the South Necropolis “Gorbals City of the Dead”. Their main purpose is to promote the “historical and educational assets” of the cemetery. It opened in 1840. There is no full searchable database online for the cemetery but there are a small number of interment transcriptions. The website is run by Colin Mackie who was part of the Southern Necropolis Research Project which ended in 1993. You can find microfilms of some of the original records through the FamilySearch library catalogue.
The Mearns Kirkyard Project in Renfrewshire has a searchable database for names. When you get your results it provides a brief synopsis and you have an option to view more information. This can provide a photograph of the monument, a transcription of the inscription, information from the burial records, condition and size of monument and the names and dates of death for others found in the grave. At the bottom of the page you can find a family history which provides more information on the family remembered by the monument. If you have someone from Mearns in Renfrewshire this is a little treasure.
In week four we will look at some suggestions that are useful when researching cemeteries in any of the above countries.
Deceased Online has records for the UK and the Republic of Ireland. This is a work in progress so keep checking back to see if your area of interest has been added. It is a pay per view site but you can do the search for free. The pricing schedule runs from 15 credits to 50 with one option being “individually priced according to size”. Individual credit costs were not found but as of 27 May 2011 they said that when purchasing the minimum 30 credits a search for 15 credits costs 1.50 GBP which is about $2.50 CDN with today’s exchange rate.
FamilySearch is a place to look for cemetery records. The records for Mount Jerome Cemetery in Dublin can be found through the library catalogue.
Another way to find cemetery records for any country is to contact the local family history/genealogy/historical society to see if they can help. Some have printed books relating to cemetery transcriptions.
If you can not find your ancestor in the cemetery that is closest to their place of residence when they died then take a look at when the cemetery started operation. It may be that it was after the time your ancestor died.
If you come across a ghost when you are out trick or treating this Halloween do not be afraid they could be an ancestor who can help you break down a brick wall.
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