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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Burial Registers

A burial register is a Register of Burials within a cemetery. Sometimes two registers are maintained as follows:
1.    Secretary of the Cemetery Trust
2.    Sexton or Caretaker of the Cemetery who also acts as gravedigger, gardener and guide of the cemetery.

Where there is only one Official Register (or with large cemeteries a series of registers) the Entries are usually found in the following format:

·       The date of BURIAL (not date of death)
·       Surnames & First names of the deceased
·       Age in YEARS for adults & children
·       Age in years (days, weeks, or months for INFANTS)
·       Last Abode – name of TOWN; VILLAGE or HOSPITAL
·       Occupation (or profession)
·       Relationship (Marital Status)
·       Religion of Deceased
·       Name of Minister (if any)
·       Name of Funeral Director (often only records company name)
·       Number of Grave or whether Public or Common
·       Other details – such as fee, class, depth of grave etc

Burial registers for early periods have sometimes been lost or destroyed – especially as often disappear after the closure of the cemetery. In the earlier years, some burials escaped record in a burial register whilst of those that were recorded, details are often sparse. Most other written material, became subject to various misfortunes (fire, exposure, rodents, spilt ink) one scribe may be careful and enter all the details while another may enter scant details or fail to record sundry burials. Omissions and detectable errors are often to be found.

Rural/Country burial registers are held by the Secretary of the Cemetery Trust that may be of some considerable distance from the cemetery and many have been published in book, CD or microfiche form (check genealogical and library catalogues) Local councils, Undertakers, Clergyman, Public Libraries or the Births, Deaths & Marriages offices in Australia, usually hold closed Burial registers

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