Burial records - frequently asked questionsIf you are having problems using the online search facility to find a burial record, the following questions and answers may help. Or, check the system requirements listed in our troubleshooting page.
If you continue to experience difficulties finding a record, call the Cemeteries and Crematorium Central Office on 028 9027 0296 or email email@example.com for help and advice.
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Can I narrow my search further by entering an exact date of death or burial, rather than just a year?The dates of deaths and burials have been recorded in many different formats over the years, for example, some records use the date style 11/03/78, while others are recorded as 11th March 1978 or 11 MAR 1978.
This makes it difficult to carry out a comprehensive search by date, as some records may be omitted from the search facility as a result of their format.
However, we carry out quality checks of the records contained within the search facility and review date formats as part of this. We hope that this will allow you to search by exact date of death or burial in the future.
I want to find out who else is buried in a particular grave - is this possible?Yes - you can now view who else is buried in a grave by clicking on the grave section and number contained in your search results, for example, Q2 304.
This will display a list of all the grave occupants, reducing the number of individual searches you need to make. We've introduced this feature following feedback from site users, who told us it would make searching for their relatives quicker and easier.
In some cases, you cannot click on the number - this may be because the number is illegible or unclear on the original burial order, or because we cannot tell from the order who has been buried in which grave.
I want to view records for a particular cemetery only - is this possible?Just as with dates, the names of our cemeteries have been recorded in many different formats over the years, for example, Belfast City Cemetery is known as City Cemetery, Belfast Cemetery and several other names. This makes it difficult to carry out a comprehensive search by cemetery name.
However, we are currently carrying out a quality check of the records contained within the search facility and are reviewing cemetery names as part of this. We hope that this exercise will allow us to display results by cemetery in the future.
There are some terms I don't understand. What do they mean?Some older burial records use abbreviations to indicate certain things. For example:
- NK - not known. This could be for several reasons - for example, a field may be blank or it could be that the information contained within the record, for example, grave section and number, has not been checked or updated. For more information, call our Cemeteries and Crematorium Central Office on 028 9027 0296.
- ILG - the information for that particular field is illegible or unclear. This is usually because many of our records are very old, and may have been damaged or have disintegrated over the years.
- Earth burial - a full body burial
- Cremated remains - burial of cremated remains
- Dedicated tissue - burial of body parts.
The search doesn't seem to be working for me. Why is this?If you are having problems using the online search facility, please check the system requirements listed in our troubleshooting page.
When I search for a relative, their last place of residence shows two addresses - why is this?Some burial records have not allowed a separate space for recording a person's place of death and their last known residence. In these cases, both the deceased's place of death and their last known address have been recorded in the same space. Unfortunately, this means there is no clear way of identifying which address is which.
The surname that I am searching for is missing an apostrophe - why is this?Our online burial record information has been captured as seen on the original burial order. So, if the name listed in the original record is missing an apostrophe, then the apostrophe will be missing from the online record details.
If the name you're searching for contains an apostrophe, you may need to search:
- the name with an apostrophe
- the name without an apostrophe
- a space in the name, where the apostrophe should be.
I can't find a particular record. Why isn't it displaying?This may be happening for several reasons:
- some burial records have been damaged or have gone missing over the years, and certain information may be missing as a result. Some handwriting is also difficult to read, which can lead to misspellings in the system. Although we make every effort to ensure the system is correct, we are not responsible for any inaccuracies and errors. If you find a record which is inaccurate or incorrect, please report it to us by clicking on the 'request a change to information' button, located within each record.
- the search facility only contains burial records - it does not currently contain any records of cremations which have taken place in Belfast.
- the deceased may be buried in a cemetery whose records are not contained within our search facility, for example, a church cemetery or a cemetery which is not owned by the council.
I'm looking for records relating to Friar's Bush Cemetery. Are they included?No, the online search facility only allows you to search for burial records for the following cemeteries:
- Belfast City Cemetery - records from 1869 (including the Jewish, public and Glenalina extension sections)
- Roselawn Cemetery - records from 1954
- Dundonald Cemetery - records from 1905.
- Balmoral Cemetery
- Clifton Street Graveyard
- Friar's Bush Graveyard
- Knock Burial Ground
- Shankill Graveyard.
Please note that we also do not look after, or hold records for, Milltown Cemetery or Knockbreda Cemetery. For more information, call Milltown Cemetery on 028 9061 3972 or Knockbreda Cemetery on 028 9049 4500.
The record I searched for isn't correct. How do I report this so it can be updated?We are currently carrying out a quality check of the records contained within the search facility. This is a long process due to the sheer volume of records we hold. In the meantime, you can help to increase the accuracy of the service by reporting any inconsistencies or errors you find, especially relating to the spelling of names or addresses.
You can do this by clicking on the 'request a change to information' button, located within each burial record. Please note that any updates will only be made to the online record, and not to the original burial record held in Belfast City Hall.
Is information relating to burial records covered by data protection?The Data Protection Act 1998 refers to the management of personal information belonging to living people. It does not cover the personal information of those who have died.
How up-to-date are the records?Amendments made to burial records as part of our quality check are updated daily. New burial records added to the search facility will be available to view approximately one month after the date of burial.
Why aren't images available for all burial records?Images are only available for records that are 75 years old or older due to the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. As time passes, more records will become available. For example, images of burial records dated from January 1939 will be available from January 2014.
How much do images of burial records cost?Each image of a burial record costs £1.50. The is no administration charge.
Who do I contact if I'm searching for burial records from before 1869?In Northern Ireland, most information is held by the Public Record Office for Northern Ireland (PRONI) which contains archives dating back to around 1600. Some material can also be searched online through the PRONI website
You can also call them on 028 9025 5905.