14 January 2014

Headstones and Distant Burials (Tuesday's Tip)

headstone of George and Mary Hudson
George Hudson is William's son
The fact that a person's name appears on a headstone does not necessarily mean that he or she is actually buried there. Many headstones include the name of a family member buried in another town or another country. Sometimes the inscription makes that clear, but in many cases it does not.

There is a headstone for my great-great-grandfather, William HUDSON (1806-1882) in the churchyard at Crambe, North Yorkshire, England. I had no idea that he was actually buried in Linthorpe Cemetery at Middlesbrough - until I found a funeral card among family documents.

Depending on the geographical location, records that may specify the place of burial could include a death certificate, will, inquest file, newspaper notice, memorial card, or a church, cemetery or local government burial register. (Indexes to many Australian cemetery headstones and burial registers are now on FindMyPast.)

Records created by undertakers and funeral directors are another source of information about the place of burial. In Australia, many genealogical groups have indexed such records for their local area. Some are listed in Specialist Indexes in Australia: a Genealogist's Guide.

The records of Gregson and Weight (funeral directors in Queensland, Australia) refer to burials or funeral services that took place as far away as New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Fiji, Sweden, Greece, Hungary, Austria and the Netherlands.

Have you found other sources of information about distant places of burial?

(You can see more of my tips here. 'Tuesday's Tip' is a theme used by Geneabloggers.)


  1. Great post Judy, information on headstones certainly can be misleading. In my particular case, my grandfather's name on his headstone is totally incorrect. It's recorded at Robert Alexandra Allen yet his name is/ was Frederick Alexander Allen.

    1. That's a rather dramatic discrepancy! Problems might also arise if a headstone wasn't erected until years later. If the stonemason wasn't careful he might 'engrave' the current year instead of the (earlier) year of death.

  2. Judy,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2014/01/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-january-17.html

    Have a great weekend!

    1. Jana, thank you so much - it is a great honour to be included in the list. Enjoy your weekend too!

  3. A great Tuesday tip, Judy. Lots of avenues here that people may not have thought of. I have two burials that spring to mind in Toowoomba yet one died in England, and one in Far Nh Qld. They are definitely buried there and their remains/ashes brought back.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Pauleen. I guess we need to be aware of three possible scenarios - (1) died at place A but buried far away at place B; (2) named on a headstone at place X but buried at place Y; and (3) exhumation. When names from some records of exhumations are added to my Web site (courtesy of a friend's indexing project), I will probably write about them on Queensland Genealogy.

  4. Great post on headstones, and i really agree with you. Thanks for sharing


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