Online Burial Register wins National Award in Local Government Excellence

Friday, October 30th 2009

Caption: (Photographer Fintan O’Rourke Photographic Services)

Left to right: Ian Talbot, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive , Caroline Curley, Director of Services, Limerick City Council, John Gormley, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Kevin Kiely, Mayor of Limerick, Jacqui Hayes, Limerick City Archivist, Flan Haskett, Cemeteries Supervisor, Limerick City Council at the presentation to Limerick City Council of its Excellence in Local Government Award (Technology) at the Burlington Hotel, Dublin

The local authority became the first in the country to put its extensive burial registers on-line earlier this year and won the 2009 Technology category at the Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards.

Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Kevin Kiely, Director of Services, Limerick City Council, Caroline Curley, Limerick City Archivist, Jacqui Hayes and Cemeteries Supervisor Flan Haskett, were presented with their award by John Gormley, TD, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government at the Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards ceremony in the Burlington Hotel in Dublin this week. 

City Archivist, Jacqui Hayes said that Limerick City Council was delighted to win the award which came about through the collaboration of three departments- Environment, Archives and Information Technology. 
“Since we launched the project we have been amazed at the level of interest in the burial registers and the positive public reaction,” she said.   “As a result we have recently added a map of the cemetery with a guide to the location system to help people identify the approximate location of a grave and we’re certain that this will be a huge help to people attempting to trace their loved ones,” she added.

Burial records for Limerick’s largest cemetery, Mount Saint Lawrence, dating back more than 150 years are now easily available to the public over the internet.
Limerick City Council was eager to ensure that a preservation copy of these vital Limerick records was created and commissioned local firm Medrex Systems to microfilm the records and to convert these into digital format.

This means that it is now possible to access a copy of the original handwritten entries of burials in Mount St Lawrence cemetery, from 1855 onwards on Limerick City Council’s website, by clicking “City Archives”.

 Each entry in the record is handwritten and records the name of the person, the date of burial, the location of the grave, the age of the deceased and the last residence. With the click of a mouse, it is possible to turn the pages of the book to view the next set of entries. 

Mount St Lawrence was first opened in 1849 when a new graveyard was needed in Limerick as a result of the both the 1830’s cholera epidemic and the Great Famine of 1845-1850.

The registers are also important from a demographic point of view as they provide statistics for the changing life expectancy rates and death rates.

Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Kevin Kiely, said the burial registers are an absolutely vital record for all Limerick citizens whose relatives are buried in the city cemetery over the years.
“With the recent upsurge in popularity of family history, there is great public interest in these records,” he said. “Nationally the survival rate of burial registers is very patchy, as they are very vulnerable to accidental damage.  It is wonderful that these records have survived and that the technology is now available to put these records on line,” he added.

Last update:30/10/2009