The Burial Registers

a cemetery memorial

The Cemetery Burial Registers have been continuously maintained since the first burial on 21 January 1837. With the exception of Stillbirths, the Burial Records provide a complete record of over 123,000  burials in some 28,000 graves. These records have been transferred to a fully searchable computer database.

While Stillbirths were once buried free of charge in any Public Grave in use at the time of the birth, there was no requirement to enter the event in the Cemetery Register. However, unofficial Stillbirth Burial Registers were kept by the Cemetery Clerk between 1907 and 1969 at the behest of the Medical Officer of Health. Unfortunately, the Register covering 28 June 1926 to 12 December 1934 is missing but in those that survive 2688 stillbirths are recorded.  Stillbirths can be searched in the same way as the Official Register but the information is limited to the Grave Number, where known, dates of death and burial, the place of death and the names of the parents.

Clarification of terms used in the Database:

Register Number This is sequential number used by the Cemetery Clerk which records the total number of burials to date.
Grave Number This enables a grave to be located by reference to the site plans.

Graves in the Modern Section, and some small areas in the Victorian Section of the Cemetery are differentiated by a letter suffix.

Grave Type Pr        Private Grave

These graves were purchased and usually reserved  for members of a single family.

Pu       Public Grave 

These graves were not purchased. And were shared  with a number of unrelated people of varying ages and different religions.

SCG     Second Class Grave

Essentially a Public Grave but includes a ledger stone  placed over the grave.


Private burial place, usually brick lined.

Catac     Catacombs

17 people were laid to rest in the catacombs below the chapel.

Ch      Child’s Grave

A designated burial place for children

CR     Cremated remains

Date of Death
Date of Burial This was usually only a few days after the date of death but, in the case of an accident, particularly drowning, or disposal by cremation, a long period may elapse.
Forenames The Burial Registers do not always include all the forenames that a person may have possessed and.

In some cases, shortened or familiar names are recorded

Surname The recorded surname is not always the expected or familiar spelling of the name.

Particularly in the 19th century, with a higher level of illiteracy amongst the poor, the Cemetery Clerk often recorded names in the Burial Register phonetically.

A search of the Register Database for a particular surname also produces a list of possible alternative spellings.

Age This is usually recorded in years but for infant deaths may be in months, weeks, days, hours or, even, minutes
Job/Status A variety of information can be found in this column, including occupations and relationships.
Residence This gives the place of death which can be the home of the deceased, a nursing home, a hospital or the workhouse.
Cause of Death This may include anything from one word to a very full description such as “Epileptic Apoplexy which occurred while kneeling saying his prayers at his bedside”.
Informant The relative, executor or undertaker who made the burial arrangements with the cemetery.

The informant’s occupation and address are sometimes included.

Officiating Minister The Minister or other person who performed the burial service.

It is often possible to determine the religion of the deceased from this source. Refer also to ‘Cemetery Chaplains & Ministers’ in the Cemetery Statistics page of this website.

This entry may also include the name of a church or other address.

Logo of the Friends of York Cemetery