Family historians love a cemetery, but how do you find the cemeteries where your ancestors have been laid to rest? If you are lucky enough to have Western District Families, there are two great sites available to help the search.
I have used this site, created by Ian Marr, for years and it has done much to help me track down my family members. Ian has visited what seems like every cemetery in the Western District, from the big ones such as Warrnambool and Hamilton to little ones in paddocks. He has recorded the details from the headstones and compiled them in an easy to use website. Not only that, Ian describes each cemetery, gives directions, facilities available and contact details.
The small cemeteries are interesting. There are Aberfoyle Station, Casterton Swamp and McNeil’s Paddock cemeteries, each with one or two burials on private property. Some of the names are great such as Lemon Springs and Moonlight Head cemeteries.
The site allows searches by surname or cemetery name. If you choose a surname search, click on the relevant letter then scroll the names to find your own. All cemeteries where the name appears are listed beside each surname and you can click through to the cemetery from there.
The 16 largest cemeteries lists are not available online, but Ian has compiled a range of DVDs and USBs of the entire collection or individual cemeteries to buy. These also have photos of headstones from many of the cemeteries. The name search results on the website will still show a surname match for any of those 16 cemeteries.
If you prefer to browse by cemetery, simply click the cemetery name and a list of names will appear. Click on your surname and it will go to all matching surnames at that cemetery.
Some of the headstones have researcher links too, so you could find someone else researching your name. Or add your own contact details on a headstone as I have done for James Harman in the Byaduk Cemetery and William Hadden in the Cavendish Cemetery.
Carol’s Headstones offers photographs from cemeteries from mostly Victoria, but also N.S.W., South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia. The main page lists the available cemeteries. Click on a cemetery and a list of headstones will come up. If you email Carol, she will kindly return a photo of your selected headstone.
While there are common cemeteries to Cemeteries of S.W. Victoria, what you can’t find on one you may find with Carol. Also it is possible to see a headstone list for Camperdown and Casterton, for example, that are only available on the DVD/USB version of Cemeteries of S.W. Victoria.
Carol has a blog, Carol’s Headstone Photographs so you can keep track of cemeteries or War Memorials as they become available.
What strikes me about both websites is the amount of work Ian and Carole put in to deliver us a fabulous free service. Thank you to both of them.