Deceased Online. I have been a big fan of Deceased Online from the moment it launched onto the genealogy scene some years ago. It’s right there on my computer bookmark bar next to FindMyPast and Ancestry which shows how many times I use it in the course of the week. I can remember a time pre-Deceased Online when I applied to a London Borough for a search of their records for a burial, I had the death certificate and was pretty sure that the burial had taken place in the local council run cemetery – imagine my surprise when I was told that the search would cost £30 and another £10 for a photocopy of the entry in the burial register. I don’t think the whole funeral including the grave plot cost that much in 1856 !
Then along came Deceased Online in 2009 and gradually over the years they have gone from strength to strength as more records have been added to their database. The company concentrates on digitising records from cemeteries not church yards.
Deceased Online – what is it?
Deceased Online is a pay to view or subscription website which offers access to a huge database of cemetery records for the UK, Republic of Ireland and a small collection of records for Cyprus, Egypt, Malta and Singapore. I think, but can’t find out for sure, that these overseas cemetery records are some that are held at The National Archives. Deceased Online enter into contracts with holders of these records, generally local authorities, and digitise and index the burial registers. They also have some photos of headstones, but coverage for this isn’t extensive and of course not every grave has a headstone. Most of the records are from the mid Victorian period, but there are a few earlier ones. Additions to the website are very regular with particular excitement from the genealogy community when a London cemetery and/or crematoria is released.
For many of the cemeteries you will be able to find the following – it all depends on what is made available.
- burial and cremation register entries in computerised form
- digital scans of register page
- grave details and other interments in a grave
- pictures of graves and memorials
- maps showing the section or exact location of graves and memorials
The basic search is free, you don’t even have to register to use it.
To use the advanced search you need to register and to buy either a yearly subscription £89 or credits. Credits can be bought in lots of £5, £10, £25 & £50. Credits over £5 do get a bonus number of free credits. They do have a time limit for use, but if you top your credits up then you retain your unused credits. Deceased Online contact you when your credits are about to expire and invite you to top up your account. This is what I do, topping up £5 at a time. Unless you are going to use the website a huge amount then I recommend start out with credits and then topping up.
Each scan, photo or map is charged for separately, however if there is a scan and a transcript then you only get charged once. Most scans cost £2 each, a list of who else is in the grave is £1.50, the cost of a map varies depending if a royalty to Ordnance Survey has to be paid and there are a few collections which can be browsed and the charge for this varies. You will be notified of these charges before you click through to see the record, so do read before you click!
Deceased Online – how do you search?
First of all I suggest that you do a simple search and see if any of your family names comes up. Also you can click on the “database coverage” button on the lower right hand side of the home page and check that they have records for the area where your ancestors lived.
If these two searches show that your family names are coming up on the search in the areas where your ancestors lived then you need to register and buy some credits. This is very simple, it is just the usual of name, address, contact phone number and credit card details. Having got an account with some credits paid for you can then use the advance search.
The search page is very easy
- First Names
- Country has a drop down box
- Region – this box shows after you have chosen your country
- Year from and to. I generally don’t enter anything into these boxes
You can chose whether to search all records, burials only, cremation only, headstones only. I recommend that you search all records and only narrow your search down if you need to because of a large number of returns.
If you click on the person’s name you get taken to another page which shows what type of record is on offer and the price your account will be charged for that record. Be aware that the “Grave details and other burials” records will only give you names of those in the grave. This can be useful if grave only holds one or two other burials as these are likely to be related, but if the grave holds more than 3 (and they can hold up to 2 dozen) then this is a strong indication that this is a communal grave where the other burials are unlikely to be related to your ancestor.
The record that you do want to purchase is the Burial Register Scan as they usually hold a lot of information. The registers used varies, but can include
- Name of Deceased
- Date of Death
- Date of Burial
- Plot Number
- Name of Celebrant
- Name of Undertaker
- Next of Kin
Depending on the date of the burial or cremation certain information may be blanked out under the privacy act.
Deceased Online grows in importance to the genealogist with every passing year, it strength for me is it’s collection of London Cemeteries. Burials within a city may take place in a different part of the city from where the person was living as parishes/local authorities purchased groups of plots in large cemeteries. This makes it difficult to find out where your ancestor was buried.
If you use the Database Coverage button and then click on a cemetery/crematoria of interest you will get a full description of the history of the establishment and the time period etc of the records on offer. This is valuable background information.
The pricing structure is, I think, fair as you just pay for what you want to view. The simple and advanced searches generally give enough details to identify if an individual is your ancestor. The indexing is good, I have yet to see an error and I use this site a lot. The images are clear and the information shown is often not easily available elsewhere. I can recommend this website to MadAboutGenealogy readers. Give it a trial run using the basic search and see what it comes up with!