Friday 5 October 2018

Derry City Cemetery Burial Records - latest news

If you have family connections to Derry, you're in for a treat! The burial registers of Derry City Cemetery have been transcribed by a community group of more than 40 volunteers and the resulting database will be going online next month.
The registers also  reveal the location of the grave within
the large cemetery site, allowing family historians to
discover who is buried in the same plot as their ancestor -
information that may often extend the family tree further.

In terms of the genealogical information they provide, these registers are far superior to civil death records and church burial records. Indeed, Derry City Cemetery's registers provide more useful family history detail than most death, burial or cemetery records. Along with the usual name, residence, age, date of death, and occupation, Derry City's registers note the deceased's place of birth and the names of both parents.

The new database holds 36,000 records dating from 1853, when the cemetery opened, to 1916. It will be free to search and view the transcription, and each entry will provide a link to so that researchers can follow up any discoveries via that database's collection of records from the area. The database is expected to be ready for researchers to start exploring sometime in November. (Obviously, Irish Genealogy News will let you know when this happens and provide details of its online home address... see Update below.)

Now.... The reason I'm bringing such early news of this exciting development is because the Derry City Burial Records project has been shortlisted for the Heritage Angels Awards 2018 in the Best Heritage Research, Interpretation or Recording category.

The Heritage Angel Awards celebrate the efforts of people
who go to extraordinary lengths to protect, save, record
and share their local heritage
Back in 2016, the Derry Tower Museum Archive team called on members of the public to help preserve and record the City Cemetery's valuable burial registers. Following dedicated training, the volunteers were able to complete the work, using their unique local knowledge of surnames and street names to turn seemingly illegible 150 year-old handwriting into a powerful genealogical tool. See the video below for more information.

Now shortlisted for this year's Heritage Angels Award for Northern Ireland, the project gives all  Irish family historians the opportunity to say a huge thank you to the volunteers who have worked for two years to make this important record collection accessible online.

Even if, like me, you don't have any connections to Derry, why not give the project a minute of your time to thank them for giving up hours of theirs? Think of it as a kind of proxy vote for all the volunteer projects from which the genealogical community benefits.

Here's the link to the Heritage Angels public vote. Only your email address, and the name of your preferred project, is requested. Public voting ends on 19 October.

UPDATE, 31 October 2018: The database is live.