Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Australian Cemeteries

There must be a heap of people out there that spend a lot of spare time and holidays traipsing around cemeteries, looking for lost relatives. It can be very exciting to find someone, even if they are dead, but it can also be very disconcerting to find gravesites, headstones etc in a state of disrepair. Headstones do not always tell the whole story, but sometimes they can provide you with additional information.

I found Uncle Bill’s place of burial on the Australian cemeteries website . It told me the cemetery (Coonamble); his full name (William Wallace Nicolson); date of death (23 Feb 1960); age at death (83 years) and the portion of the cemetery – Presbyterian. Well what else would he be with a name like that!

But there’s more – I also found a photo of his headstone. And this told me he was a soldier. From his age and date of death I worked out that he probably served in World War 1.
So I went to the National Archives Website and did actually find his service record.

Not all stories are success stories. Some relatives may be buried in the same plot with loved ones, especially husbands and wives. Unfortunately headstones are not always updated if one is buried earlier than the other, and no responsible family member is left to attend to these duties. This is where it is important to check cemetery records where available. Most give details about who is buried together in the same plot and their relationship. It is both a practical and romantic solution for many families.

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