A lot of people are interested in tracing their history, whilst we live in a hyper-connected society, it seems more than ever we are loosing touch with our heritage and history. As a result, people are trying to retrace their ancestral footsteps, which means they need to locate burial records to find out where people lived and died, when they died, and much more. A burial record can reveal a lot about a family tree and death records are an integral part of that process.
In this article, we are going to explain how to find burial and cremation records online and offline, to help you with your family history research. After all, knowing a family members final resting place and what their memorial inscriptions stated, can bring closure and help to establish a family tree. First you need to find the burial registers though and that can be tricky.
Where Can I Find Cemetery Records?
In the UK, most cemeteries and crematoria will have some kind of register or database that you can access. This will usually be held at the office on-site, or alternatively, you can contact the local authority that manages the cemetery. The local history department of your local library may also have copies of these records. It is also possible to find details of a specific person’s death and burial/cremation location by simply searching on Google using the name of the deceased and words like “death” or “cemetery”.
When tracing your family history, you may have to contact a local cemetery to enquire about their cemetery records. They can give you the grave details, some burial records and other records are now available online and you can gain access to them through specific websites.
Note that you may need permission from the individual burial authority when asking for records.
Related Article: How To Find A Grave In A Cemetery
Some tips for searching cemetery records:
- When searching for an ancestor, try different spelling variations of their name.
- Use initial letters rather than full first names e.g. ‘W J Smith’ instead of ‘William John Smith’.
- If you don’t know the name of the cemetery, try searching for a street name, village, or town name instead.
- If you are looking for someone who died a long time ago, try searching ‘paupers graves’ as these were often unmarked.
- Contact the National Burial Index.
How Can I find Cremation Records?
Cremation records in the UK are not as widely available as burial records, but there are still a few ways you can track them down.
There is no central database for cremation records so we always advise members of the public to contact the crematorium local to wherever the person has died and see if they are able to provide any information. You will need to know the name of the deceased, the date of death, and the place where they died. The records are free to search online but there is a charge for copies.
A lot of family history research can be done online now and you can find details of the deceased online but you will need to know names, date of birth, and other details that can help you to clarify that the individual is the correct person.
You could have two people with the same name in the same crematorium, so you need as many details as possible when looking through burial records.
The Problem With Burial and Cremation Records
The issue is that there is no clear rule for locating burial, cremation, and cemetery records. Different countries store them differently, different time periods had different methods and as a result, you always have to be a proactive searcher.
For this reason, here at Edge IT Systems, our Epitaph software offers real solutions to many of these issues. It is a comprehensive cemetery management software that allows cemeteries to keep online records in an easily accessible format.