Research in a Graveyard or Cemetery

Discussion in 'Starting Your Family History Research' started by Daft Bat, May 10, 2019.

  1. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    Northamptonshire, England.
    1 : First, check to see if the Burial Register or the Monumental Inscriptions have been transcribed or indexed. Many Family History Societies, Local History Societies and even the Women's Institute have recorded monumental inscriptions and/or burial registers.

    2 : Many cemetery & churchyard burial records are now kept at the local crematorium and may include the Burials Register, Interment Register & Plan for churchyard or plot owner's register and index for cemeteries.

    3 : A search in winter or spring (providing there is no snow on the ground), will often be easier than a search in summer when the grass and foliage is high.

    4 : If possible, be equipped with a soft brush and rubber edged dustpan to clear leaves and loose earth from flat stones.
    I would advise replacing the leaves and loose earth after you have viewed the stone as it helps prevent wear and frost damage.

    5 : Be aware that some stones are very fragile and may be damaged easily. The effect of frost on sandstone can cause the face of the stone to lift from the core forming a fragile shell that will fall away when touched.

    6 : Check to see if any of the nearby stones carry a plot number this can help to locate unnumbered stones.

    7 : Check to see if the cemetery/ churchyard has been laid out in date sequence, most are but sometimes families are grouped together - don't overlook these groupings.

    8 : Be aware that in the UK, lichens growing on the gravestone are likely to be protected by law and must not be disturbed.

    9 : If you wish to photograph a memorial stone try to do so when the sun is to the side of the stone rather than directly in front or use some type of reflector to enhance the shadows.

    10 : Always sign the church visitors book and add a comment that you were visiting your ancestors grave. This may alert the church to interest in the tombstones and prevent removal.

    (Written by Guy Etchells)

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