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Types of Burial Records

This week's post examines the different types of records you can find in the Deceased Online database. This blog should help you understand the sorts of records we include and some we don't. Primarily, Deceased Online specializes in burial and cremation records and especially statutory records from local councils across the UK.

There is no other website which includes these types of records on a national basis.

1. Are all cemetery records held by local authorities?


Cemeteries in Britain may be owned and managed by councils or may be in the hands of a private or charity organisation. Our database holds information about burial/cremation records and other records held by local authorities along with private cemeteries and crematoria and other records from local and national archives.

Most of the burial records currently on our database are held by local councils. These include cemeteries in the following local authorities:

Wakefield Metropolitan Borough, West Yorkshire
Trafford, Greater Manchester
Bolton, Greater Manchester
Royal Borough of Greenwich
London Borough of Harrow
London Borough of Bexley
London Borough of Newham
London Borough of Havering
London Borough of Camden
London Borough of Islington
London Borough of Merton
London Borough of Brent
Dartford Borough, Kent
Aberdeen City
Aberdeenshire Council
Angus Council
Cotswold District
Cheshire West and Chester
Corby Borough, Northamptonshire
Kettering Borough, Northamptonshire
Dacorum Borough, Hertfordshire
Broxbourne Borough, Hertfordshire
Tunbridge Wells Borough, Kent
Blandford Forum, Dorset
Southborough Town, Kent
Newark Town, Nottinghamshire
Cambridge City, Cambridgeshire
Rushden, Northamptonshire
Gainsborough, Lincolnshire
Sawston Parish, Cambridgeshire

Not all the local authority records are straightforward. Some of those buried in Cullompton Town Cemetery in Devon, for example, were recorded in the parish burial register rather than that of the cemetery.

Besides local authorities, we work with private cemetery companies such as Manor Park Cemetery Company Limited (dating from 1874), and Edinburgh Crematorium Ltd (founded 1928), which owns three cemeteries and crematoria in the Scottish capital.

A small selection of the burial registers that have been digitized on Deceased Online
Some organisations and cemeteries have donated their records to be stored in local record offices and archives. We enjoy working with record offices and have recently digitized thousands of records in partnership with The National Archives for cemeteries such as:

Greenwich Royal Hospital
Royal Garrison Church of St George
College Chapel Royal Military College
Aldershot Military Burial Ground
Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery
Royal Victoria Hospital
Canterbury Garrison
Sheerness Dockyard Church

We'll be adding more fascinating records from The National Archives very soon.

2. Are Christians found buried only in church records?


You can find Christians of all denominations in cemetery records, as well as those of local churches. Non-Anglicans, such as Methodists, Quakers and Presbyterians, often preferred to be buried in a private cemetery such as Brompton in West London, rather than be buried in the grounds of a Church of England parish church.

Some cemeteries, such as Tonge Cemetery in Bolton, have Christian denominational sections which are clearly shown on the maps of their grounds. These can be downloaded from the Deceased Online website.

3. Does Deceased Online have records for people of other religious faiths?


People of a number of religious faiths, and those who were atheists or agnostic can be found in the database. Some cemeteries have dedicated sections. Heaton Cemetery in Bolton, for example, has separate areas for Muslims and Hindus, as well as for those of different national communities, like Ukranian, Latvian, and Russian.

The Church of England Chapel at Heaton Cemetery in Bolton

4. Where can I find parish records?

Deceased Online has records of the parish churches of Peterborough Cathedral, Bedford St Paul's, and Kildalton on the Isle of Islay. We are hoping to add more in the future.

We also have records of Scottish Headstones, in collaboration with Scottish Monumental Inscriptions (SMI). This includes transcriptions of burial details from parish headstones for Biggar, Stonehouse, Dunblane St Mary's and Abercorn, as well as from cemeteries in the Highlands, Morayshire, Edinburgh, Lanarkshire and West Lothian.

Other parish records are either retained by the churches themselves or have been handed to local record offices.

5. I can't find my ancestors in records of their local cemeteries or churchyards. Why?

Some ancestors may have died away from home, particularly if they served in the armed forces or travelled as part of their work. Those who are buried far from home include merchant seamen, actors, politicians, merchants, and commercial travellers. Others in the Deceased Online database are buried in their original home town, rather than in the place where they later lived.

In large cities like London there were often problems of overcrowding. Residents of the inner-city areas may be found buried further out in newer, more spacious cemeteries.

We are trying, with considerable success, to persuade burial and cremation authorities across the UK to join Deceased Online and make their records available to our users. We regularly make announcements here and on our Facebook and Twitter pages when new records are about to be added. 

As Deceased Online becomes better known among local authorities across the UK, these councils are increasingly likely to add their records. However, it always helps if members of the public urge councils to digitize their burial and cremation records and add them to Deceased Online so that local, national and international communities are able to easily access this important data. When councils do this it also makes their administration processes much easier and relieves the burden of researching the records for enquirers.

Watch this space!


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