I frequently heap praise on cemetery research sites like Find-a-grave, Names in Stone and Billion Graves for the wealth of cemetery records on their sites. I rarely have similar praise for city government sites due to the paucity of burial records on their pages.
The Dunedin, New Zealand city government has realized the benefits of placing the burial records from their cemeteries online with a very well-designed presentation of the data.
Let’s take a look at the Dunedin Cemeteries Search site.
The standard search fields populate the page followed by search instructions including the use of wild cards. An accuracy of records statement completes the page.
My 3rd great grandparents, Charles Hook Gordon and Elleanor Chalan Logie and many of their descendants are buried in Dunedin. Rather then searching for either of them specifically, I opted to search for the Logie surname and browse through the results looking for familiar names.
Like most of the early population of this area, the Logie’s came from England and Scotland. The Scots lineage of early settlers is witnessed in the name of the city, Dun Edin (Edinburgh) .
The search results list of Logie’s buried there was full of familiar names but I was surprised by how many names I hadn’t found in my personal ancestral quest.
In most cases, the name of the cemetery where they are interred is listed with the link to their records in addition to their death date and age at burial if it was known.
Clicking the name will take you to their record. In my case, the first record I looked at was that of my 3rd great grandfathers, Charles Hook Gordon Logie.
I suggest that you right click on the name and choose to open the record in a new tab. Due to the type of search tool used on the site, the familiar use of the browser back arrow results in an expired search error and a second back arrow click is requited. It will take you back to the original search page. It is easy to close the new tabs as you browse through the records and you won’t have to regenerate your search query repeatedly using this method.
The record presentation if full of wonderful information. The death and burial dates, funeral director, age, burial plot address and in most cases, place of birth is listed. Not all records are as fully populated as my grandfathers, but the city has done its best to include all of the information they have in their records.
Additionally, links to other burials in the same plot are included as links at the bottom and if any images of the tombstones are available, they are also shown as clickable thumbnails.
I offer my appreciation to whomever took the the photo of grandpa’s tombstone and put i t on the site. I live a half a world away from Dunedin and probably wouldn’t have seen it otherwise.
The burial plot information is always important to include in our genealogy records so that we or anyone reading our records can find the burial locations again. Dunedin has included a map of the related cemetery on the record of each person. This is an excellent inclusion on the records on the cite.
After spending three hours searching the site with a wide smile on my face due to the information that I’ve found about my family, it is easy to give this site a 5-Star rating on a 5-Star scale.
Thanks Dunedin City Council. Thanks Dunedin Cemeteries and Burials Department.