Wednesday, 16 March 2011

New Burial Resource

A really useful new free resource has come on line. It is the Belfast City Council Burial Register. It covers a number of cemeteries: City, including the Glenalina Extension, Dundonald and Roselawn. The information is perhaps a bit limited. For each person there is the full name, the last place of residence, sometimes both a hospital and a private address, the age and sex (often left blank), the dates of death and burial, and the name of the Cemetery with the grave section and number, plus the Burial type, in all cases, 'Earth Burial'. Having put in three clan name variants I have received the details of 46 burials. There appears to be quite a lot of new information to add to clan family trees. Two initial comments: some dates are well into the 20th Century, and as a result at least one person has been crossed off my current World Address List! Second, some of the women will have been buried using their married surname and there is no immediate indication of next of kin or of their spouse or late spouse. Also there is no indication of whether a woman was born with a clan name or has 'married in'. Occasionally relationships are revealed by comparing grave numbers. If two or more people have the same number they are buried in the same grave, that is a grave owned by a particular person or family, so it is a reasonable assumption that they are related, whether by blood or by marriage.

In referring to individuals on the list I am sensitive to the fact that there are probably still alive near relations, possibly living at the same address, so I will try to be careful in what I say. The first burial in the list is of an infant just 11 weeks old. None of the records state the cause of death. For that you need a death certificate. However, the 'last place of residence', and therefore of death, may in this case hold a clue for speculation. It was 'Workhouse'. This little girl has a distinctive name, one which I think enables me to identify her family tree, though not at present her mother. This is a case where I won't give any further clues as I don't know whether any living relatives today are aware of where she died. My next comments are also about children. First, 7 1/2 year old Lizzie Ann. This is not quite the name by which her birth was registered. I believe that was Eliza Ann, though clearly Lizzie was the name by which she became known in the family. For a reason I don't know, occasionally a name has a title, Mr., Mrs. or Miss. On this occasion it is wrong. Little Lizzie Ann is listed as Mrs! Clearly a transcription error. Here are the other children. There is a stillborn child with the name 'Wm. Margt.' Presumably the person registering the death or making the funeral arrangements was unsure whether the child was a boy or a girl. The sex is left blank. Next we have three children in the same grave in City Cemetery, so we may presume they were siblings. Elizabeth was 2 7/12 moths (sic). Ruth was 2 years old and Miss Matilda was aged 7 years. Also in City Cemetery there are three other children: Miss Martha aged 15 months, and another Ruth, aged 1 8/12 years and Miss Rebecca aged 17 days.

When we come to the adults a first point of interest is that a couple of people who have ended their lives living outside Ireland clearly wished to be buried 'with their ancestors'. William John who died aged 40 in Tranmere Hospital, Birkenhead (Cheshire, England) and lived there at 6 Suffolk Street, was buried in Dundonald Cemetery. Ninety seven year old Sarah's last place of residence was Fort William Oph. I presume Oph stands for old People's Home. She too was buried in Dundonald. Next, I have to admit that some names are quite new to me, so are folk that I cannot as yet fit into a family tree. These include two people with the same address, Andrew and Elizabeth who lived at 24a Moyard Gdns, G'Island, Carrickfergus. Then at 293 Belmont Road, Belfast, there are Catherine and Henry. Next, in the same grave but with different 'last residence', we have George at 62 Abbey Park, Knock, Belfast and Kathleen M. at 126 Holywood Road, both buried in Roselawn Cemetery. George (57) predeceased Kathleen (74) by ten years, so she could have moved her residence when left alone. Another Roselawn burial is that of James aged 67, who lived at 45 Richmond Park, Belfast.

I will continue my analysis of the Belfast City Council Burial Records in a subsequent blog.

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