Albury Cemetery Burial Records

February 1886 to January 1899

In December 2001 a Burial Record book for Albury Cemetery was discovered in with some other personal things leftover from the days when Harry Peck was caretaker of the Cemetery. Needless to say it was an exciting discovery. It was like a voice from the past answering many of the questions I had about Albury and the thinking in the 1800s.

The Records are in a small book form, measuring about 2 cm by 9 cm (9-1/4" by 3-1/4") and it is all very yellow with age and very delicate. There were probably 175 pages originally. It looks like the last 15 pages have been lost. One repaired loose page was with it, which was scanned and is available here, (it is a biggy as you need the size to make it out). The writing across the page on the right hand side is: "D.B. Robison, Belleville, District Registor". These signatures began to show up in 1897. Prior to that the only side writing was "Fee Paid 10 ". The earliest date is February 22, 1886 and the latest is January 21, 1899.

The base data recorded was like the following example:
Name: Lewis E. Ostrom
Place of Birth: Rednersville
Age: 17 years 5 months
Place of Death: Rednersville
Date of Death: January 8, 1893
Cause of Death: Inflammation
No. Plot: 31 No. Section: West
Relatives: J.R. & S.A. Ostrom
Residence: Sidney

The "Relatives" were usually one or both parents, however, brothers or sisters were also listed.

One look at the condition of the book indicated that it was not something to leaf through at random. I decided to go through the book twice: the first time to make a burial records database, and the second time to modify the Albury Cemetery records. Both of these passes were made with no damage to the book.

To permit better sorting in the database, I broke the name into surname and given names. I also added a spouse's surname and spouse's given name as this was sometimes given. For the wives, the maiden name could be seen most of the time from the Relatives line as parents were listed. This maiden name was entered. For example, Sarah Margret Rosebush whose parents were William and Mary Weese, was listed with the Weese surname and the spouse's surname of Rosebush.

The entries are in pencil and for the most part in two hand writing styles. My guess is that the death details are in my Great Grandmother Nancy Jane Peck's handwriting. The plot information is in a heaver hand and probably by Great Grandfather John Greer Peck. Both would be judged as a fair hand for the day, and today as well.

One thing that stands out today is the spelling mistakes which tells something about the person giving the information and the one recording it. The spelling is phonetic with "hart" for "heart", "bowls" for "bowels","Cansor" for "Cancer", "More" for "Moore", "Garbett" for "Garbutt", etc. so it is not hard to figure out what was intended. If the person knew the spelling of their last name, then it stands to reason that they would have corrected it at the time. It was a time when the spoken word was king.

There were some mistakes or differences in the plot numbers. I noted these in the Section part enclosed in square brackets, such as [111] which would indicate that although the Burial Record was given for plot 112, the actual plot is 111 from the Official Cemetery map and from tombstone data. The other liberty I took was to use the plus sign instead of the ampersand to indicate "and" to save the grumbling from the HTML language which uses the ampersand in other ways. I show, for example, "John + Mary" instead of "John & Mary".

The two important things which the records answered for me were: there was no plot numbering of the 1825 Gift Section; and the area immediately to south of the Gift area which we call 1877 Centre was referred to consistently as the Old Extension. It would be more properly called the 1840 area rather than the 1877 area, as the first burial in it was John Tice in 1841.

The 1825 area plots were sometimes referred to by the plot owners name, such as W.F. Weese plot. There are burials in the 1825 area which cannot be placed at the present because there are no stones to indicate who is buried in the plot. Some family names are new to Albury records such as Scamihorn, Darling, Oke, and Hall and a good guess would be that some are in the four plots on the most eastern row of plots for which we have no names. There are other plots in the other plot rows with no stones or markers to give clues to those buried there.

There were 169 records in Burial Record book. They are mostly in chronological order. There are six records with no death date. Of the 169, 57 were not in the Albury Cemetery Records reconstructed from tombstone data. That is about one-third were not found using the tombstones. The natural question from it is how true does that hold for other areas.

If you remove 1886 and 1899 as incomplete years for the data, there are 151 recorded burials. However, if the Albury Cemetery data is counted for 1887 to 1898 inclusive, there are 189 listed. From where did these extra 38 persons come? Did we require at that time that all burials had to be done and recorded by the caretaker? Could a family bury someone themselves? Are any of the tombstone records of someone who was buried somewhere else and simply added to an Albury stone to preserve the name? I have no answers.

The burial record data in a tabular form at bdata.htm,. It can be linked directly without this explanatory page.

Lorne Bowerman, January 6, 2001.