A Note on Burial Registers

A Note on Burial Registers

A Note on Burial RegistersRoman Catholic Burial Registers are relatively uncommon in Ireland prior to the 1830s and those that do exist seldom offer more detail than the name of the deceased.  However, Burial Registers for Church of Ireland Parishes, where those records survived the fire at the Public Records in 1922, can be quite informative.  Standardised forms were introduced for the use of the Church of Ireland clergy as early as 1800.  The standardised forms request the name, aged and address of the decease as well as the date and place of their burial.  These forms were updated at the beginning of the 1850s and included spaces for the priest or parish clerk to insert the name of the deceased, abode, when buried, age and by who the ceremony was performed.

Prior to the standardisation of Church of Ireland Burial Registers (ca. 1800) many notes and comments can by observed.  For example, the parish priest of the Church of Ireland Parish of Carlow had this comment to make on a man he buried in 1783:

May 2nd [1783] Died Mr. Henry Woddle, merchant, who acquired a large fortune by his dealing, which he bequeathed to several hospitals in Dublin.  He was buried on the 4th in Carlow Church Yard. His remains were several times insulted by an enranged mob to  the place of his interment on account of his not considering the poor of that parish where he amassed so much money.

While the extent of this observation is quite unusual it is in no way unique.  A brief inspection of the Burial Register for the Church of Ireland Parish of Clonmel (Cobh), Co. Cork, for example, noted the following burials:

1765, November the 27th.  Thomas Farryer, Mariner on board the ship Cornwall, Thomas Smith, master, of and from Bristol bound for Jamaica.

1769, January 9th.  Richard Greeves, soldier (occasioned by a fall over the cliff near the Barrack).

Even after the introduction of standard forms in the 1850s Church of Ireland Clergy could still be seen providing addition information, as in this example from the Church of Ireland Parish of Desertserges, Co Cork:

Anne Jane Margaret Beamish, relict of William Beamish, Esq., of Belmont near Cork, who died at Belmot and was buried on 12th August 1852, aged 83.

Although it would rash to generalise it can be said that Church of Ireland Burial Registers provide a wealth of social and genealogical information that is, in the main, absent from their Roman Catholic counterparts.

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The majority of Church of Ireland parish registers for the Republic of Ireland can be found at the Representative Church Body Library, the National Archives of Ireland and those for Northern Ireland and some border counties can be found in PRONI in Belfast.  Some records are still held in local custody.