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70,000 Limerick cemetery burial records go online

The searchable records will give an insight into the social history of Limerick from 1855 – 2008.

BURIAL RECORDS FROM a Limerick cemetery – 70,000 of them in total – will be put online next month.

An example of the documents that had to be transcribed

The records are for people buried at Mount St Lawrence Cemetery between 1855 and 2008, and they include the name, age, address and in many cases, the cause of death of those buried in the 164-year-old cemetery.

The searchable database of the records of tens of thousands of people buried there  is nearing completion, after staff from Limerick City Archives in conjunction with the History Department of Mary Immaculate College of Education spent three years manually transcribing the handwritten records.

Graveyard

Limerick City Council

Mount St Lawrence graveyard has been the primary place of burial in Limerick City since 1849 and is one of the country’s largest cemeteries.

It was initial developed when burial ground capacity elsewhere in the city was placed under pressure following cholera epidemics in the 1830’s and the Great Famine in the 1840’s.

Mayor of Limerick,Cllr Kathleen Leddin said:

There are few people in Limerick City and surrounding parts, including southeast Clare and County Limerick, who do not know somebody or do not have a relative who is buried at Mount St Lawrence Cemetery. This online database will make it much easier for members of the public, both at home and abroad, to locate information relating to their deceased relatives.

Jacqui Hayes, Limerick City Archivist at Limerick City Council, said that according to the Burial Register, over 70,000 individuals were interred in Mount St Lawrence between 1855 and 2008. But she added that the actual number is believed to be higher.

Pic: Limerick City Council

Hayes said that the information in the records “makes them an invaluable resource for those conducting genealogical research on the Limerick area”.

The records also offer a unique tool for those conducting research into the social history of Limerick and mortality rates for all ages in Limerick City and its environs for over a century and a half.

The information will enable people to discover the burial rates for different parts of the city, as well as information on infant mortality. From residents of workhouses to Mayors of Limerick, people from every part of Limerick’s social strata were buried at the graveyard.

GPS burial plots

Work is underway to develop a publicly available online map of all burial plots at Mount St Lawrence Cemetery. This is being carried out by students and academics from the Geography and History Departments of Mary Immaculate College, together with Limerick City Archives.

It involves pinpointing each plot with Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. “By April of next year, members of the public will be able to click onto a person’s name and learn where their burial plot is located. The new system will also enable people to click onto a point on a map and discover who is buried there,” said Hayes.

The online, searchable records of those buried at Mount St Lawrence Cemetery will be officially launched at No 2 Pery Square, the Georgian House headquarters for the City of Culture project, on 20 August. The older archives can be viewed here.

Read: High-tech tombstones let loved ones ‘live on’>

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