Tuesday 23 February 2021

Irish-American with links to Massachusetts? Check out AmericanAncestors.org's new Catholic cemetery records

A new collection of Catholic cemetery/burial registers has been launched today that has huge potential for Irish-Americans seeking genealogical and townland of origin information on their immigrant ancestors who settled in Massachusetts.

It has been created by AmericanAncestor.org in partnership with the RC Archdiocese of Boston's Archives Department and the Catholic Cemetery Association (CCA) of the Archdiocese of Boston.

The registers contain records of sales and interments, and include information about lot owners, date of burial and location of burial. Some of the people represented in these written records may not have purchased a grave marker or their marker may have eroded with time, making this collection essential for research into Catholic burials in this region.

Named the Massachusetts: Catholic Cemetery Association Records, 1833-1940, the database will feature 20 cemeteries administered by the CCA in eastern Massachusetts.

The first instalment to the live database releases 31 volumes from nine cemeteries: Calvary, Waltham; Sacred Heart, Andover; St George, Framingham; St James, Haverhill; St Joseph, Haverhill; St Jean Baptiste, Lynn; St Mary, Beverley; St Mary, Malden; and Holy Cross, Malden, which is not yet completely digitised. This means the database already holds more than 354,500 records and gives researchers access to 355,500 searchable names.

In addition to the searchable database, maps of each cemetery are being made available to help locate burial plots. Where possible, maps include sections, ranges and in some cases narrative description of how headstones are arranged by row and lot number. Also included are points of interest such as entrances, exits, flag poles, monuments, offices and spigots. Special sections for the burials of infants, priests and religious are also noted. Links to the cemetery maps can be found in the Database Description. Ahow-to video provides navigation instructions for both the database and the cemetery maps.

Records from the remaining 11 cemeteries administered by the CCA will be added throughout the year. They are: St. Francis de Sales, Charlestown; St Paul, Arlington; North Cambridge Catholic Cemetery; St Joseph, Lynn; St Mary, Lynn; Holy Cross, Malden (additional volumes), Immaculate Conception, Marlborough; St Mary, Salem; St Patrick, Stoneham; Catholic Mount Auburn, Watertown; St Patrick, Watertown; and Calvary, Winchester.

It is estimated that the new collection will hold one million names by December this year.

Access to the new collection requires membership subscription.