The Archive Service at Bath & North East Somerset Council has just launched a new addition to its online resources for people researching family history.
The Bath Burial Index, developed by volunteer Philip Bendall, is a compilation of information on burials at 48 of Bath’s cemeteries and graveyards, past and present.
The Index is based on information from burial registers, indexes to burial registers, and surveys carried out by various organisations such as The Widcombe Association, The Bathwick Local History Society and The Beckford Tower Trust. It has been facilitated by parishes giving permission to photograph their burial registers, and by the Council providing indexes to burial registers for those cemeteries that it administers.
It brings together information on burials in both church and municipal cemeteries into a single index so that it is easier to determine where someone was buried. This makes it an invaluable resource for family historians researching families in the Bath area. It currently has over 240,000 entries, from 1660 to the present.
In addition, there are over 30,000 images of surviving memorials. Where a survey has been carried out, the index indicates whether or not there is a memorial and has additional information from the inscriptions. There are a hundred maps of cemeteries, both overall and detailed, to allow the exact location of a grave to be determined in many cases.
Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “The Index is all the work of one dedicated volunteer and represents many thousands of hours of patient research and data-entry. We are immensely grateful to Philip Bendall for making this huge resource freely available to all.
“The difference that this resource makes to people researching their family history cannot be overstated. The challenging task of locating family graves and reading the names on them has been done, and people living at a distance will even have a photograph of the grave to refer to, making their search a fruitful one.”
The Bath Burial Index of nearly a quarter of a million names can be searched at www.batharchives.co.uk/bath-burial-index.