Cemetery Records.

For many people, identifying the final resting place of ones’ ancestors can often prove an important aspect of family history research.

The main difficulty with this particular branch of genealogical research, is whether or not a record actually survives, be it in the form of a burial register or a physical memorial.

If such a record does survive the next major obstacle is that there is no central repository for physical or online records. The records are scattered throughout the physical and digital worlds.

The practice of transcribing cemetery records has been relatively commonplace for most of the 20th and 21st centuries (and even before in some instances). Usually these surveys were undertaken either by individuals with a particular interest in a given cemetery/area or, as has become more common, those conducted by local history/genealogy groups. Many of these transcripts have been deposited in local libraries or published in local history/genealogical periodicals.

In more recent times the management of the majority of cemeteries has come under the remit of the County Councils and local government. This has led to production and publication of searchable online databases for some areas.

Below are some examples of such databases I have had cause to use in recent times. The list is by no means exhaustive and often the best way to establish if there has been a survey of a given graveyard is to contact the local library (to see if they have any such holdings), the local council (to determine if a database has been created for a given cemetery) or a good ‘old-fashioned’ Google search (to see if some kind soul has published something online).

Glasnevin – https://www.glasnevintrust.ie/genealogy/

Possibly the best-known online cemetery records with burials dating back to the early 19th century. Majority of burials are for those that died in Dublin, but given the capital was a draw to many from rural areas, those buried there may have hailed from other parts of the country. Searches are free, but there are fees to view records and images of the burial registers.

Belfast City Council – https://ssl.belfastcity.gov.uk/burialsearch/BurialSearch.aspx

Burials date to 1869 and the site covers Belfast City, Roselawn and Dundonald Cemeteries. Free searchable transcription database of burial records.

Kerry Local Authorities – http://www.kerrylaburials.ie/en/Index.aspx

Records for 140 Kerry local authority cemeteries. Free searchable transcription database, images also available of burial registers.

Historic Graves – https://historicgraves.com/

Records cover a large part of the country, particularly good for the midlands and Munster (ex. Kerry). Free searchable transcription database, images also often available for the actual gravestones. Not all gravestone images are transcribed, so it is sometimes worth browsing the images for a given cemetery.

IGP Archive – http://www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/index.htm#gsc.tab=0
Ireland Genealogy Projects Archive has transcriptions for cemeteries throughout the country, broken down by county. Most are text files of data, so using the Find/Search function on your browser can be useful.


By Expert Researcher

Stephen Peirce

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