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Cemetery, Burial Ground & Crematoria Records

Nature of Source

Records, mainly burial registers, relating to those buried in purpose-built cemeteries. New burial grounds were desperately needed, especially in urban areas, after churchyards were unable to cope with the increase in demand for space. Most commenced operations from the mid-19th century.

Before the mid 19th century most cemeteries were run as a private business and others by local authorities. One of the first urban cemeteries was built at St. James, Liverpool between 1825 and 1829 followed by Glasgow in 1832. The first cemetery in London was established at Kensal Green in 1833 and later at West Norwood in 1837, Highgate, 1839, Nunhead, 1840, Abney Park, 1840, Brompton, 1840 and Tower Hamlets, 1841. These great Victorian London cemeteries are now often referred to as the ‘Magnificent Seven’. A section of these newly built cemeteries was usually reserved for the burial of dissenters and nonconformists. Bunhill Fields Burial Ground operated as a cemetery mainly for nonconformists and dissenters between 1665 and 1836.The Burial Act of 1852 established Burial Boards which provided new publicly run cemeteries.

Cremations only became popular well into the 20th century, especially after the passing of the Cremation Act of 1902 for the Regulation of Burning of Human Remains, and to Enable Burial Authorities to Established Crematoria. Cremations had been illegal in the UK up to 1885. The Act granted public burial authorities the right to establish crematoria and provided a set of regulations for those involved in cremations. The first London crematorium was opened by the Cremation Society in 1902 as the Golders Green Crematorium. The first municipal crematorium was opened in 1901 as the Hull Crematorium situated on Hedon Road.

Also look for funeral and death notices and obituaries, often found in local newspapers, for evidence of a death.

See also
Civil Registration, Death
Monumental Inscriptions
Old Parish Registers-Burials (OPRs)
Parish Registers-Burials
Statutory Registration-Death

Where Found

County Record Offices (ARCHON Directory: Find the details of a UK archive from a searchable list of over 2,500 archives The catalogue can be found on the TNA Discovery home page)
London Metropolitan Archives (Records of the Tower Hamlets Cemetery, known locally as Bow Cemetery)
The National Archives (RG 37, General Register Office: Removal of Graves and Tombstones; HO 15, Home Office: Criminal and Miscellaneous Warrant Books including pre 1887 warrants for exhumation licences; HO 85, Home Office: Burials Entry Books including licences for exhumations and reinternments; HLG 21, Local Government Board and Ministry of Health: Opening of New Burial Grounds, Instruments and Consents)
Local cemetery authority-England and Wales
Local cemetery authority-Scotland

Period Covered

1820 - Onwards

Genealogical Value

Name, age, address, religion and sometimes the occupation of the deceased. Grave location and type, either pauper or private. Date and hour of burial. Name of undertaker and minister. Cemetery maps.

Further References

Bard, Robert. Graveyard London: Lost and Forgotten Burial Grounds: Historical Publications, 2008 Buy Now on Amazon
Beach, Darren. London's Cemeteries: Metro Publications, 2011 Buy Now on Amazon
Emery, Philip and Wooldridge, Kevin. St Pancras Burial Ground: Gifford, 2011 Buy Now on Amazon
Hartley, Tom. Belfast City Cemetery: The History of Belfast, Written in Stone: Blackstaff Press, 2014 Buy Now on Amazon
Holmes, Isabella. The London Burial Grounds. Notes on Their History from the Earliest Times to the Present Day: London, 1896  Buy Now on Amazon
Meller, Hugh & Parsons, Brian. London Cemeteries: An Illustrated Guide & Gazetteer: The History Press, 2011  Buy Now on Amazon
Philpot, Terry. 31 London Cemeteries: To Visit Before You Die: Step Beach Press, 2013  Buy Now on Amazon
Raymond, Stuart. Death & Burial Records for Family Historians: Family History Partnership, 2011  Buy Now on Amazon
Ruston, Alan. Hertfordshire Obituaries 1801-1837: As extracted from the Gentleman's Magazine: Hertfordshire Family History Society, 2009
Rutherford, Sarah. The Victorian Cemetery: Shire Publications, 2008  Buy Now on Amazon
Treneman, Ann. Finding the Plot: 100 Graves To Visit Before You Die: The Robson Press, 2013 Buy Now on Amazon
Turpin, John & Knight, Derrick. The Magnificent Seven: London's First Landscaped Cemeteries: Amberley Publishing, 2011 Buy Now on Amazon
Webb, Cliff. Greater London Cemeteries & Crematoria. 7th Ed: Society of Genealogists, 2005  Buy Now on Amazon

Websites (List of London burial grounds) (Flickr Photo group: London Cemeteries) (London Metropolitan Archives: Information Leaflet Number 5 Cemetery Records) (Links to online burial and cemetery records and other useful information) (The Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery) (Friends of West Norwood Cemetery) (A Photographic Study Of London's Magnificent Seven Victorian Cemeteries and other London cemeteries and burial grounds) (Victorian London Cemeteries) (London Cemeteries: List of Cemeteries) (London Burials Grounds: Bibliography) (The Cremation Society of Great Britain: History of Modern Cremation in Great Britain from 1874: The First Hundred Years (Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust: Golders Green Crematorium) (London Gardens Online. Online access to information on cemeteries/burial grounds across the whole of London covering C of E, Jewish, Roman Catholic, Quaker and other denominations as well as churchyards and burial grounds) (The Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management: Online contact directory of over 1000 burial authorities and private company operators, 250 crematoria, and nearly 200 natural burial ground operators) (The Social History of the European Cemetery)
(Free Obituaries On-Line: Links to obituaries, death or funeral notices mostly from newspapers across the world with a focus on Canada) (Dublin City Public Libraries & Archive: Dublin Graveyards Directory. The directory all graveyards in the Dublin area and gives information on the location, contact details, titles of published gravestone transcripts, links to on-line gravestone transcripts, location of surviving burial records and other information) (The Scottish Association of Family History Societies: Burial Grounds. A list of more than 3,500 known burial grounds in Scotland organised by county and parish) (Birthdate Calculator: Calculate birth date from death date and age on tombstones and death certificates)
(Funeral Cards Online) (Free Obituaries On-Line: Links to obituaries, death or funeral notices mostly from newspapers across the world with a focus on Canada) (Researching Funeral Home Records) (Links to resources dealing with funeral homes and funeral cards)

Online Databases

UK Wide (Deceased Online: The site offers online access to burial, cemetery and cremation registers from participating local authorities across England and Scotland including London’s Brompton Cemetery, Kensal Green Cemetery, Highgate Cemetary and Nunhead Cemetery, three of the so called ‘Magnificent Seven’ early Victorian London cemeteries. The records contain transcriptions, scans of the registers, scans of books of remembrance, photos of graves and cemetery maps. The site also has records covering many counties from TNA series RG 37 which are copies of records of local authorities and the Church Commissioners relating to burial ground removals. See web site for full coverage) (BillionGraves: Family history database for records and images from the world's cemeteries. Members of the public can collect photos of headstones in a local cemetery with iOS, Android and Windows mobile apps and then upload the photo and headstone transcription. BillionGraves records are also available to search at FamilySearch) (England Billion Graves Cemetery Index. There are over 400,000 entries in this record set. Each entry has a transcript, which includes a link to an image of the headstone with GPS details) (Wales Billion Graves Cemetery Index. There are over 48,000 entries in this record set. Each entry has a transcript, which includes a link to an image of the headstone with GPS details) (World Burial Index. Access to MI transcriptions taken from graveyard headstones, churchyard memorials and cemeteries)
London (City of London Burial Index, transcribed by Cliff Webb with burial details from 75 of the 98 churches within the City of London. The dataset also includes a ring of parishes on the fringe of the city including those south of the River Thames and burial grounds such as Bunhill Fields and Spa Fields)
(Greater London Burial Index, 1399 and 1992. The index contains over 1.1 million names from Anglican and non-conformist parishes. It was compiled from variety of local burial indexes, and covers the City of London, Middlesex and South London parishes) (London, City of London and Tower Hamlets Cemetery Registers, 1841-1966. This collection comprises records from daybooks and burial registers. The registers are held by the London Metropolitan Archives) (England & Scotland, Select Cemetery Registers, 1800-2016. This collection contains burial registers from select cemeteries in England and Scotland. London coverage includes: Abney Park Cemetery, Greenford Park Cemetery, Acton Cemetery, Ealing & Old Brentford Cemetery, Havelock Norwood Cemetery, Hortus Cemetery, South Ealing Cemetery, Queens Road Cemetery, Chingford Mount Cemetery) (SoG Data Online: Boyds London Burials. Members of the Society of Genealogists are able to view these records for free via their existing membership. Non-members can carry out free surname searches but will need to join the society to view the full record details) (Highgate Cemetery Grave Search: Searches to find out whether someone is buried in the cemetery or to trace a grave) (Abney Park Cemetery Index)
London Borough of Richmond upon Thames (Burial Register Search: Cemetery transcriptions covering the five cemeteries in the London Borough of Richmond) (Abney Park Cemetery Indexing Project: Transcriptions covering Hackney, Stoke Newington and Dalston in London)
(Ladywell & Brockley Cemetery Memorial Inscriptions) (City of London Cemetery and Crematorium: The burial registers consist of 440,000 historic records dated from 24 June 1856 to 7 October 1955. The records have been digitally imaged and are being made available for free as part of a pilot scheme)
(City of London Burial and cremation registers search, 1856-1865)
Regions (Warwick Cemetery Index, 1859-1968) (The Manchester Collection: Cemetery Records including burial registers for Ardwick Cemetery, Ford Street, Hyde Road; Rusholme Road Cemetery, Chorlton Upon Medlock; Giles Shaw Transcripts for Oldham St Mary 1662-1826; John Owen Transcripts for Flixton, Gorton and Newton 1571-1785. The original records are held by Manchester Archives and Local Studies) (Birmingham Burials 1833-2010. The dataset includes the cemeteries from Handsworth, Key Hill, Warstone Lane and Witton; Chorlton Upon Medlock Burial Registers 1821-1933; Doncaster Cemetery 1837-1937; Lancashire, Rusholme Road Cemetery; Lincolnshire Cemetery Registers; Plymouth, Ford Park Cemetery; Rugby, Clifton Road Cemetery Memorial Inscriptions; Sheffield, Norton Cemetery Burials 1869-1995; Staffordshire; Torquay Cemetery; Yorkshire, Selby Cemetery 1858-2004; Lancashire, Manchester Cremation Records 1818-2001) (England & Scotland, Select Cemetery Registers, 1800-2016. This collection contains burial registers from select cemeteries in England and Scotland. England county coverage includes: Hampshire; Kent; London; Manchester; Norfolk; Oxfordshire; West Sussex. Scotland county coverage includes: Dumfries-shire; Kirkcudbrightshire; Wigtownshire. See site for individual cemetery coverage) (Leeds, England, Beckett Street Cemetery, 1845-1987. This collection contains burial registers and inscription grave registers from the Beckett Street Cemetery in West Yorkshire, England. Also known as Burmantofts Cemetery, or Leeds Burial Ground, the Beckett Street Cemetery was founded in 1842 and opened in 1845) (Oldham Cemetery Registers, 1797-2004) (Yesterdays Journey, transcriptions dealing primarily with Derbyshire) (Scanned images of the alphabetical index cards covering the three cemeteries managed by Exeter City Council) (Durham Records Online: Cemetery transcriptions covering County Durham and Northumberland)
(Isle of Wight Bereavement Services: Online access to burial ground information and 72,000 crematorium for 12 cemeteries across the Island dating from 1856 to the present day) (Waveney District Council Cemeteries Index: Transcribed entries from the hand written ledgers covering the Waveney district in Suffolk. Cemeteries include Beccles, Kirkley, Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft, Bungay, Southwold, Halesworth and Wrentham) (Herefordshire History. Burial and Cemetery Records: August 1910-February 1930 and September 1894-March 1921) (Burials at Merridale Cemetery, Jeffcock Road, Wolverhampton 1850-1937, compiled by Pat Galloway) (Cornish Cemetery Index)
(Eastleigh Borough Council Cemetery Database, Hampshire: Search for relatives buried in one of the four council run cemeteries)
Scotland (Find a Grave in Scotland: Access burial and cremation records online with photographs where possible)
(Scotland Billion Graves Cemetery Index. There are over 55,000 entries in this record set. Each entry has a transcript, which includes a link to an image of the headstone with GPS details)
Ireland (Limerick City Archives: Mount St. Lawrence Cemetery between 1855 and 2008. More than 70,000 records of people buried in the primary place of burial in Limerick City) (Ireland Billion Graves Cemetery Index. There are several thousand entries in this record set. Each entry has a transcript, which includes a link to an image of the headstone with GPS details) (Belfast burial records including the Belfast City Cemetery from 1869 including the Jewish, public and Glenalina extension sections; the Roselawn Cemetery from 1954; Dundonald Cemetery from 1905) (Fingal County Council: Buried in Fingal. Free online access to 65,000 burial records from 36 graveyards in North County Dublin dating back to at least the 1930 with the earliest record from 1877 and the last one from July 2013. The site includes a burial grounds location map, information on Fingal burial grounds and downloads of full interment record books, plans and maps of burial grounds) (Dublin City Public Libraries & Archive: Cemetery Burial Registers Clontarf, Drimnagh, and Finglas. A database of those buried in three now closed cemeteries which are under the control of Dublin City Council)
(Dublin City Public Libraries & Archive: Dublin Graveyards Directory. A database with details of all graveyards in the Dublin area)
(Historic Graves: Irish graveyard transcriptions and surveys compiled by local volunteers. The database is searchable by individual names and by individual graveyards. A map shows which graveyards have been surveyed) (Kerry Local Authorities - Graveyard Records: Burial registers from 140 cemeteries controlled or owned by Kerry Local Authorities) (Transcribed entries from the Glasnevin Cemetery [Officially Prospect Cemetery], Dublin the largest nondenominational cemetery in Ireland, opened in 1832) (Magherafelt District Council, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland: Genealogy Project: Transcribed inscriptions from parish churchyards, cemeteries and old burial grounds across the district including interactive graveyard maps to view photographs of the headstones) (Transcribed entries from the Glasnevin Cemetery [Officially Prospect Cemetery], Dublin the largest nondenominational cemetery in Ireland, opened in 1832. More transcripts with headstone photos can be found at Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives)

CD Roms (Warwick Cemetery Index, 1859-1968)
Lancashire Family History and Heraldry Society (Burial Registers and Monumental Inscriptions)
Gloucestershire Family History Society (Register of Burials in the Tredworth Burial Ground The City of Gloucester Vol 1 1857-1901; Register of Burials in the Tredworth Burial Ground The City of Gloucester Vol 2 1901-1961; Coney Hill Burial Ground Register May 1939 to Jan 2015. Items are also available to download. The city corporation of Gloucester constituted the burial board for the city in 1856 and laid out a cemetery on a 13 acre site at Tredworth, which was opened in 1857 when burials in the old city churchyards ceased. The cemetery was originally divided between nonconformist and Church of England burials. A second city cemetery at Coney Hill was laid out in 1934 but not opened for burials until 1939 and is still in use. A crematorium, added to the cemetery chapel at Coney Hill, was opened in 1953)
Berkshire Family History Society
(Transcripts and indexes of Berkshire parish registers including the Berkshire Burials cd which has over 900,000transcriptions from over 270 churchyards, cemeteries, burial grounds and workhouses)