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North-East Lincolnshire

This week I dip into the new North-East Lincolnshire Collection and discover connections to the area's maritime past.

Deceased Online's latest collection from North East Lincolnshire Council, Cemeteries and Crematoria features the internationally renowned fishing port of Grimsby and its neighbour, the popular holiday resort of Cleethorpes. The new collection covers 380,000 records (scans, grave details and maps) for over 170,000 burials and cremations at the following:
  • Cleethorpes Cemetery, Beacon Avenue, Cleethorpes DN35 8EQ (1877-1999)
  • Scartho Road Cemetery, Scartho Road, Grimsby DN33 2AL (1889-1994)
  • Grimsby Crematorium, Weelsby Avenue, Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire DN32 0BA (1954-1992) 
"Fish Dock, Grimsby, Lincolnshire" by National Maritime Museum - Flickr: Fish Dock, Grimsby, Lincolnshire. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons -,_Grimsby,_Lincolnshire.jpg#/media/File:Fish_Dock,_Grimsby,_Lincolnshire.jpg
The name "Grimsby" harks back to its Danish origins, when it  was founded in the 9th century AD by a fisherman named Grim. Fishing has continued to be the major industry of the town and Grimsby Fish Market remains the spearhead of the UK fishing industry. The first true fish dock opened there in 1856, and during this period men migrated to Grimsby from across England seeking work as fishermen, engineers, mariners, sail makers, fish sellers and other related occupations. The number of jobs multiplied as the docks developed and greater opportunity for fishing apprenticeships emerged. Between 1857 and 1863, the number of fishing vessels grew from 22 to 112. 

With the rise in numbers of ships and fishermen came an increase in deaths at sea. Fishing was an extremely precarious occupation - believed to be 14 times more dangerous than coal-mining. The figures on loss of life from fishing vessels reported to the Board of Trade at Grimsby [] show numbers of deaths in the area from 1881 and 1882, revealing 169 deaths in total within 2 1/2 years. These statistics also indicate the high proportion of local fishermen aged under 21, with 18 x 18-21 year old and 15 x under 18s being reported dead fro fishing vessels at by year ending 1st March 1881.

By 1932, Grimsby's population had grown to 92,000. Demand for fish was also increasing: in this decade, the most popular food in Britain was fish and chips. After the Second World War, the town reached a peak in population and employment when Grimsby was recognized as the busiest and largest fishing port in the world in the 1950s.

Deceased Online's new collection includes Grimsby's cemetery and crematorium in Scartho Road. The cemetery opened in 1889 and now covers 67 acres.
The above excerpt dates from 1892 and shows some interesting burials from the early years of "The Great Grimsby New Cemetery". The early registers not only included names, age, date of burial, occupation and details of officiating minister, but, helpfully for today's family historians, they also feature the cause of death. In the above example, 54 year old butcher, William Waters (who appears in the last line) is revealed to have died from an overdose of laudanum.

Cleethorpes, known locally as "Meggies", experiences some of the lowest rainfall in the UK. This (and its long beach) explains why the town has been a popular coastal holiday destination for visitors from all over the north and east of England since the 1820s.

Cleethorpes Pier opened in 1873 (By Asterion at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons)
The first burial at Cleethorpes Cemetery took place in 1877. A Special Memorial stands in the cemetery in memory of 31 men of the 3rd Manchesters, who were killed in a Zeppelin raid on 1st April 1916 while billeted in the town. 24 of the men lie together in a grave below the memorial.
Close-up on a page of the Cleethorpes Cemetery Register from 1878 showing a Thomas Gutteson
Above is an example of a register entry from Grimsby. This record from December 1878 shows the burial entry of 7 month old Thomas Gutteson in the Scartho Road Cemetery. The register describes the cemetery as "the Burial Ground of the Clee in the County of Lincoln". Baby Thomas was the son of Alice and Jacob Gutteson. Like many in the town, Jacob worked as a fisherman.

The wider county of Lincolnshire has a strong Viking heritage. England's first Viking King, Sweyn Forkbeard, who ruled from December 1013 to February 1014, based his capital in Gainsborough. The Deceased Online database holds collections from Gainsborough as well as the City of Lincoln, Newark and Nottingham. Records of removed graves and tombstones from across Lincolnshire can be found in The National Archives Collection.

Both cemeteries and the crematorium can be searched on the database in the county section of Lincolnshire in the East Midlands region.

Were any of your ancestors fishermen or did they run holiday businesses in sunny Cleethorpes? If you have found any of your family in the North-East Lincolnshire Collection, we'd love to hear from you! Contact us in the box below or on our Twitter and Facebook pages.


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