An online database of 70,000 people buried at one of Ireland’s largest cemeteries is nearing completion and will be officially launched next month.
Staff from Limerick City Archives in conjunction with the History Department of Mary Immaculate College of Education, have spent the past two years manually transcribing thousands of handwritten records of those buried at the city’s Mount St Lawrence Cemetery between 1855 and 2008.
The records include the name, age, address and, in many cases, the cause of death.
Mount St Lawrence graveyard, located in the South Liberties, has been the primary place of burial in Limerick city for all strata of society since its opening in 1849.
Its development was initiated as burial ground capacity elsewhere in the city was placed under pressure following cholera epidemics in the 1830s and the Great Famine in the 1840s.
An extension was opened in 1960 and the management was transferred from the church to Limerick City Council in 1979.
City mayor Cllr Kathleen Leddin described the newly-developed online records as an important step in Limerick city’s preparations to become Ireland’s first National City of Culture in 2014.
“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,” she said.
According to the Burial Register, over 70,000 people were buried there between 1855 and 2008 although the actual number is believed to be higher, explained city archivist Jacqui Hayes.
She said cemetery records provide a unique insight on the history of Limerick and its citizens over a 153-year-period.
“The records contain the names, addresses at time of death, ages, position of the grave and dates of death of all those buried in the cemetery. This information is an invaluable resource for those conducting genealogical research. 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,” she explained.
Ms Hayes also confirmed work is presently underway to develop a publicly available online map of all burial plots the cemetery.
“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.”
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