20 June 2008

Durham Records Online

It's nice to see a group of local genealogy enthusiasts taking the initiative in the commercial online database world. Durham Records Online is "not affiliated with the Durham Record Office or any other government office." They offer:

  • transcribed extracts from many parish registers (christenings, confirmations, marriages, burials)
  • 1841 census transcriptions of the entire county, fully indexed
  • 1851 through 1891 census transcriptions for a large part of County Durham (see the list of communities covered), plus 1901 for Easington district, all fully indexed
  • complete index searchable by given name, surname, birth year, parents, household head, occupation
  • instantly viewable order results (with online payment)
  • optional matching service connects you with other researchers looking at the same records
The. following announcement from the company was posted on Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter.

Durham Records Online is pleased to offer online a treasure trove of over 130,000 burials from the historic shipping and shipbuilding port of Sunderland in northeast England. The following burial records from the Sunderland area are now fully transcribed, indexed, and searchable:

  • Sunderland Holy Trinity burials 1719-1812
  • Monkwearmouth St. Peter burials 1683 - 1919 and its successor burial ground, Mere Knolls Cemetery at Fulwell from 1856 to 1904.
  • Southwick Holy Trinity burials 1844 - 1988 and its successor burial ground, Marley Pots Cemetery 1884 - 1901.
  • Bishopwearmouth St. Michael & All Angels burials 1569 - 1856. Most burials 1839-1856 were at Rector's Gill (aka Galley's Gill) cemetery.
  • Bishopwearmouth Cemetery from its opening in May 1856 to the end of 1876. This was the successor burial ground to Bishopwearmouth Saint Michael's and Rector's Gill Cemetery, and was the largest burial ground in the historic county of Durham. These burial records state the religion of Roman Catholics (until 1864, when the RC notations ceased due to sheer numbers) and Quakers and Jews, who all had their own separate sections in the cemetery. This cemetery also contains people from all over County Durham because this was the first burial ground in the county with a separate Jewish section. Folk from the tiny and long forgotten Jewish congregations in Stockton, Darlington and Hartlepool were all brought to Bishopwearmouth. This information is likely to help researchers with Jewish ancestors whose graves cannot be found near their homes. We will continue transcribing this cemetery over the next several months.

The cemetery registers are far more informative than a church burial register because they provide the address of the deceased, the names and professions of the fathers and sometimes mothers (in the case of children) or the spouse (in the case of a married woman). Sometimes the cause of death is given, and some cemetery registers also mention if a person died at the Union Workhouse or the Union Infirmary. On the other hand, church burial registers between 1798 and 1812 are exceptional because they typically provide, for a deceased child, the father's name and occupation and mother's maiden name, and they often provide the maiden name of a deceased married woman.

If your ancestor died in the Sunderland area, you may well find their burial listed here. Searching at Durham Records Online is free, and a small fee is charged to view the transcribed results. Site credits can be purchased in quantity at a very affordable price. Durham Records Online is known for their accuracy because the transcribing is done by people with extensive local knowledge of the personal names and place names. Check it out at: http://www.durhamrecordsonline.com.

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