Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dunedin, New Zealand, to Increase Genealogy Holdings

Dunedin Public Libraries and the New Zealand Society of Genealogists (Dunedin Branch) have announced a formal partnership to provide a framework for a single genealogical repository and service that will be based in the Genealogy Room on the third floor of the City Library. Every year, many Dunedin residents and visitors seek information about families that settled here in pioneering days. For many, the Dunedin City Library is their first port of call as the Heritage Collections offer a rich array of family history and New Zealand immigration resources.
While the additional material will remain the property of the Dunedin Branch of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists, it will be made accessible through the Libraries’ catalogue by the end of the year. School records, memorial inscriptions, burial records, historic publications and indexes that have until now been available only to Society members will be accessible to the wider Dunedin community.
To assist with research, experienced New Zealand Society of Genealogist volunteer researchers will be available in the Genealogy Room to complement and enhance the assistance already provided by Library staff. It is expected that the convenient location and easy access will encourage greater use of these considerable genealogical resources.
The partnership is a significant step in the provision of genealogical information to the Dunedin community and will foster and enhance family history research in Dunedin.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Interactive gravestones: how the dead live on, online

This story was picked up by the Sun Herald (16 Sept 2012) as well as the Guardian UK (5 Sept 2012). Traditional graveyards are being transformed through technology with interactive headstones providing a revolutionary way for people to remember loved ones. Quick Response (QR) codes on gravestones can be scanned by smartphones to open up online biographies of the dead person. The related webpage can show profiles of the person, pictures, videos and tributes from family and friends. The QR barcodes enable visitors to learn all about the person buried, rather than being limited to a name, age and date of birth and death, as usually found on a grave stone. This technology will allow a new breed of family historians to gather extended information from cemeteries.

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What will happen to all your digital information, when you’re gone?

Over the past few months I have talked about social networking by the deceased or about the deceased with Evertalk, a facebook application to celebrate and remember lost family and friends and DeadSocial, a social networking site to continue posting after you have died. The Sydney Sun Herald of 16 September, 2012, p.21, says ‘mourners will soon be able to scan a bar code on graves to access a virtual memorial of lost loved ones’. This new innovation allows you to swipe the grave with a smart phone to trigger images and messages of the deceased.
Technology has dramatically changed the way we communicate and record our lives. When a young friend of ours died recently, I got the funeral details from the newspaper and my son accessed the information on facebook. Have you ever wondered what will happen to all this virtual data, especially once you are gone?
Some experts are now suggesting you create a digital estate plan. So when you make your will, or power or attorney, or enduring power of attorney, you should also make known what you would like to happen with your digital estate and select a family member to administer that digital estate. So at the very least you will need to provide a list of user accounts and passwords to that family member or friend, and they can post a notice of your demise to your online friends. They also can continue to pay hosting fees, if any, to keep your data online.
There is now a Swiss company, SecureSafe, that will transfer your files and passwords to your associates, friends and relatives that you designate, should something happen to you. You can determine exactly who should receive your data. As safe as a Swiss bank account! You do not need a lawyer, and the data inheritance is simple and easy to setup. SecureSafe will store passwords and any files that you wish to pass on. You could even save a "digital last will and testament" on the site as well as an electronic copy of your standard will and any other documents you want to make sure become available to your associates, friends, and relatives after your demise. Not everyone will receive everything. Each file and each password will be given only to the individuals you designate. The basic service is free with prices up to $12.90 (U.S.) per month, for service upgrades. Further details are available at

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Deceased Online

Deceased Online has announced the addition of more London Cemeteries from the Royal Borough of Greenwich in South East London to its database. Deceased Online is the UK's only website for statutory burial and cremation records.
Greenwich Cemetery, located just a few miles from central London, dates back to 1865 and is described by many as the cemetery with the best panoramic views in all London. It's position on the edge of Shooter's Hill gives the cemetery a wonderful location with views across all of central London and sweeping right around to Crystal Palace. Greenwich Cemetery features probably the best views of any cemetery in London across much of the capital. There are hundreds of war graves and a fascinating Norwegian section. Greenwich Cemetery has nearly 94,000 burials many historically interesting and include:
  • 556 WW1 burials scattered around the cemetery and an impressive Great War Heroes Memorial commemorates over 260 of these
  • Over 120 WW2 burials
  • An additional 30 WW2 Norwegian burials, part of a beautifully maintained Norwegian section
Eltham Cemetery (aka Falconwood) is a small cemetery, dating back to 1935, attached to Eltham Crematorium, but features some interesting memorials and burials including Richmal Crompton, author of the best selling 'Just William' novles and short stories. the cemetery comprises 15,00 burials and data for all of these are now available on Deceased Online together with 210,000 record for the Crematorium.
Most of the records for both these cemeteries comprise burial registers, grave details and cemetery maps with grave locations as well as some memorial photographs.
All burial records for the London Borough of Harrow in North West London have been included. Harrow Council manages seven cemeteries and all their burial records are inlcuded in the Deceased Online database. The records comprise:
  • Digital scans of burial registers
  • Details of graves including the names of all occupants
  • Maps of each of the cemeteries indicating the exact location of each grave.
The Deceased Online database for London now included 1.6 million records and this will top 2 million within the next few months as more cemeteries are added. among these are three more cemeteries for the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
You can search the central database for UK burials and cremations by Country, region, County, Burial Authority or Crematorium free of charge. or you can register as Deceased Online user and gain access to:
  • Computerised cremation and burial records
  • Digital scans of cremation and burial records
  • Digital scans of books of remembrance
  • Photographs of graves and memorials
  • Cemetery maps showing grave locations
  • other occupants in the same grave
A charge will wb incurred for these


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Monday, September 3, 2012

They Might Not Be Buried Where They Died

I recently read the warning that a person may not be buried where they died. Here at Manly Library we get many requests to find people in Manly Cemetery, because Manly is the district in which the death was registered, and it is surprising how frequently they are not buried in Manly. There are several other cemeteries in the area, including Mona Vale, Frenchs Forest, Macquarie or Northern Suburbs, and we frequently find records of a person buried or cremated elsewhere. A person may wish to be buried with other family members, or family members may want them buried closer to where they live.
It is possible that a person died while travelling or living a distance away with a relative and were returned ‘home’ for burial. Perhaps they died in the local hospital and lived some distance away. Sometimes people who pass away at an advanced age will be returned to where their spouse was interred, especially women who have gone to live with relatives in another area possibly will be returned to be buried next to her husband.
The case of Robert Shute is one example. The Shute Shield is the premier grade rugby trophy in NSW and was struck in honour of the late Robert Elliott Stewart Shute, who died on June 6, 1922, following a match at Manly Oval. Robert played for Sydney University and the University Club had the shield made following his death and donated it to the NSWRU to be used as a perpetual trophy for the Sydney first grade competition. As his death was registered as happening in Manly, it was assumed he was buried in Manly. We were asked to ‘locate’ him. When I considered other information about where he lived, studied and played sport, I soon found that he was actually buried in Waverley Cemetery.

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