Cemetery Research

Lee Anthony from Friends of Coburg Cemetery recently spoke at Diamond Valley Library as part of the monthly Family History Fest program.  The cemetery is managed by the Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust.  A Deceased search can be conducted on their website for all nineteen cemeteries in the Melbourne area under their care.

If you are researching your family history or have an interest in locating the final resting place of your ancestor consider the following:

Final resting place should be indicated on the death certificate of your ancestor.

Another source for the final resting place may be a death, funeral notice or newspaper obituary.

Look for the website for your cemetery of interest – and then see if there is a “deceased search” facility to find out about the cemetery and the specific location you are interested in.

Look for a Friends Group associated with the Cemetery who may possibly have information on your ancestor.  They may have developed a self-guided tour as the Friends of Coburg Cemetery have done, as well as conduct regular walks in person.

Visit the cemetery either in person or virtually via Google street view

Check opening hours and grave location before your visit. You may need to contact the Cemetery Trust / Caretaker /Local Council beforehand

Look to see if your cemetery has had a headstone indexing project in the past – GSV facilitated these a while ago. Search the collections of family history groups or your public library.

Your grave may not have a headstone.   Check directly with the cemetery for details of names who may share “your” grave.

Headstones inscriptions projects are just that – not a list of all the burials.  They may not necessarily include all the internments in the grave and do not include unmarked graves.

Some headstones may commemorate a person who is actually not buried at that location (for example war dead)

Take a note of names on neighbouring graves, including the row your grave is in - as these may be connected to your family.

Photograph and transcribe inscriptions on headstones for your records. 

There are a number of websites aggregating information from cemeteries, including photographs of headstones.  These include Billion Graves and Find My Grave with content constantly being added.

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