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Gravestone inscriptions can be a useful source of family history information. Sometimes, multiple family members are buried in the same vault and the inscription will give information on all that are buried there. Gravestones may give birth, marriage, and death information. They may also give clues about military service and occupation, or family members buried in the same area. Sometimes they give more information than the parish burial register or civil certificate of death. Gravestone inscriptions are especially helpful for identifying ancestors who are not recorded in other existing records.
Online Databases[edit | edit source]
- 1914-1921, 1939-1947 Commonwealth War Graves, 1914-1921, 1939-1947 at MyHeritage ($), index and images
- Find A Grave Index at FamilySearch
- BillionGraves Index at FamilySearch
- Irish Cemetery Records, 1600's- 1900's at interment.net
- Interment.net, for cemeteries in the Republic of Ireland at interment.net
- Internment.net, for cemeteries in Northern Ireland
- Irish Ancestors/Cemetery and Graveyards 1600's - 1900's at irishtimes.com
- Irish Graveyard Search 1600's - 1900's at irishgraveyards.ie
- Ireland Find a Grave, 1600-s - 1900's at FindAGrave
- Irish Gravestone Records 1600's - 1900's
- Ireland Billion Graves Cemetery Index, index, ($).
- History from Headstones($)
- IGP Headstone Project, Irish Headstone photos from the Ireland Genealogy Project
- History from Headstones($)
- interment.net - free, for cemeteries in the Republic of Ireland
- internment.net - free, for cemeteries in Northern Ireland
- Meath Ireland Cemeteries - free, County Meath
- IGP Headstone Project - free Irish Headstone photos from the Ireland Genealogy Project
- Belfast City Burial Database Free to look up records in Belfast from 1869 onwards using the burial record search facility. Fee to buy images of burial records that are over 75 years old.
What you must know to use these records[edit | edit source]
To find an ancestor's gravestone inscription, you must know where he or she was buried. Your ancestor may have been buried in a church, city, or public cemetery usually near the place where he or she lived or died. There are also beginning to be databases containing inscriptions from multiple cemeteries that can be searched.
You can find clues about burial place in:
- Church records
- Death certificates *
- Probate records
- Census or Census substitutes
- Family histories
(* note - Irish death certs do not include details of place of burial)
Finding Cemeteries[edit | edit source]
Cemeteries are often located next to a church. If you know where your ancestor attended church check that place first. The book by Ryan, James G. Irish Records: Sources for Family & Local History. Rev. ed. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry Publishing, 1997. (Family History Library book Ref 941.5 D23r.) lists the various parishes and religious denominations in each county. This will give an indication of places where cemeteries may exist.
Griffith's Primary Valuation listed churches and graveyards known to exist as late as 1864. Brian Mitchell's book, A guide to Irish Churches and Graveyards (Family History Library Ref book 941.5 V3gi ) lists the cemeteries in each townland, parish, and county.
Municipal cemeteries may have cemetery registry books listing persons buried in large towns or cities.
The search for the cemetery where your ancestor was buried may be simplified by following (read more... )
Finding Gravestone Inscriptions[edit | edit source]
If your ancestor was buried in a churchyard, the parish minister of the church may have information about your ancestor in the church's burial registers or burial plot records. For help in finding a minister's address, see Ireland Church Directories.
- Some gravestone inscriptions have been transcribed by Ireland's county heritage centres. Contact the centre in the county where your ancestor was buried for more information of Irish persons who settled in Australia, giving their native place in Ireland, covering years 1820-1914. Article in The Irish Ancestor, Vo.III, no.1. 1971, pages 5-10, Family History Ref. 941.5 B2i
- Johnson, Keith A. Some Irish Inscriptions in Old Burial Grounds of New South Wales, Australia. Numerous headstones with inscriptions recording death information
- Jones, Horace E. Some Irish Monumental Inscriptions in England. Found in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cumberland, Hampshire, Kent, Middlesex, Somerset, Surrey, Sussex, Warwickshire. Article is in The Irish Ancestor, Vol. 1, no. 2, 1969 page 97-103, 941.5 B2i Family History Library SLC, also
- Gravestone inscriptions that have been transcribed by other organizations or individuals are listed in:
- Catalogs and inventories of various repositories. See Ireland Archives and Libraries.
- Hayes, Richard J. Manuscript sources for the history of Irish civilization. (Family History Library book 941.5 A5h.)
- Grenham, John. Tracing Your Irish Ancestors: The Complete Guide. 3rd ed. Dublin, Ireland: Gill and Macmillan, 2006. (Family History Library book Ref 941.5 D27gj 2006.)
- The Family History Library has a growing collection of transcriptions of gravestone inscriptions. To locate these, consult the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under the following headings:
- IRELAND - CEMETERIES
- IRELAND, [COUNTY] - CEMETERIES
- IRELAND, [COUNTY], [PARISH] - CEMETERIES
- Gravestone inscriptions may be found in printed histories and periodicals. Many such inscriptions are listed in:
- Smith, Frank. Smith's Inventory of Genealogical Sources: Ireland. (Family History Library book 941.5 D23s.)
- Journal of the Association for the Preservation of the Memorials of the Dead in Ireland, includes an index.
- Other periodicals and histories that may contain gravestone inscriptions are listed in the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under the following headings:
- IRELAND - PERIODICALS
- IRELAND, [COUNTY] - PERIODICALS
- IRELAND, [COUNTY] - HISTORY
- IRELAND, [COUNTY], [PARISH] - HISTORY
Ireland's Gravestone Index[edit | edit source]
Ireland's Gravestone Inscription Index provides:
- Nearly 400,000 gravestone inscriptions
- From 851 parishes in ten counties.
It may be the largest online source for Irish gravestone information.
The full gravestone inscription is not available online but the index provides:
- Person ID
- First Name
- Year of Death
The counties of Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Donegal, Down, Fermanagh, Louth and Monaghan are included in the index with other counties being added in the future.
Using the site:[edit | edit source]
- Type as little or as much information about an ancestor as you want in the search boxes on the right side of the screen.
- Click on the Search Database button.
- A page will open showing the number of inscriptions found. Click on one of the links to inscriptions. Up to ten entries will be displayed on a page.
For a full transcript of the gravestone transcription you will need to click on the Purchase Full Transcription link and pay for the details.
Although there is a fee for a full transcript the index details are very helpful providing the parish and county of the grave.
Ireland Cemetery Registration Books[edit | edit source]
Cemetery registration books are registers of burials and cremations at municipal cemeteries. Few records are available. Those that do exist are mostly for the large municipal cemeteries.
- Possibly the best cemetery registration books are for Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin.
- Deceased Online - This central database for UK burials and cremations but also contains registers for Ireland.
Memorials of the Dead[edit | edit source]
The Association for the Preservation of the Memorials of the Dead published journals from 1888 to 1934 and contain information from gravestones throughout Ireland.
Indexes published between 1888-1934:[edit | edit source]