read this before contacting the website.
I welcome comments and questions from visitors to the website and have
enjoyed corresponding with many people from around the world. Most
questions asked are genealogical; please note that this is not a
genealogical site, and my main interest is in the topography and history
of London. For the most part I am interested in the sites, not the
people who are buried in them.
Having said that, it is often possible to offer a few ideas
and suggestions to at least get people started on the trail. These
notes may help in a general way.
Virtually all of the churchyards and small burial grounds in
London were shut in 1850s because of gross overcrowding. The first
cemeteries were opened on the outskirts of the city from the 1830s
onwards. Anyone buried in London after the 1850s will have been buried
in a cemetery. For information of cemeteries click
birth, marriage and death were kept in parish records until 1837; civil
registration began after this date. Place of burial is not included in
Up until the closure of the church grounds, the parish will
have kept burial records. These are far from complete, and some were
lost during wartime bombing. Those that remain are kept at the London
Metropolitan Archive: go to the links page to link directly to
the LMA. They publish on line an invaluable resource about researching
ancestors in London.
Cemetery records are generally kept by the administrating local
authority. There is a very useful and inexpensive booklet, Greater
London Cemeteries and Crematoria, by
Patricia Wolfston, revised by Cliff Webb, (Reference #1050z)
by the Society of Genealogists, ( www.sog.org.uk)
That explains where the various cemetery records are kept.
cemeteries came along burials will have taken place within the parish,
with the exception of Jewish, Catholic and some dissenting burials,
which had their own grounds. (Catholic after around 1810.) Families
could choose any cemetery, though by and large they would have gone for
the nearest to the family home, which gives a starting point. Someone
dying in Islington in the 1880s would almost certainly have been buried
in the Islington Cemetery, for example.
Gravestones are rarely of any assistance in locating a grave in a
churchyard or church burial ground. Most have been cleared to make
grass-cutting possible, or so that the ground can be used for another
purpose. Those that remain, usually stacked around the walls, are nearly
always unreadable after 150 years of air pollution. Remember too that
that only some would be rich enough to have a gravestone, and that the
bulk of the population will have ended up in a common, unmarked grave.
In many cases the same ground will have been used over and over again.
I hope you have found these notes helpful.