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Published 13 Jan 2011

Rick Roberts
UK Burial Records - One record can lead to new discoveries
By: Rick Roberts,   Biography & Archived Articles

This article began as a list of the new burial records that added to their online database in 2010. Once that was finished, I thought that I would expand the article to include a guided tutorial on how the site works. One record from my search sample led to a surprising new discovery.

More burial records added in 2010 with more to come:'s database of cemetery and crematoria records continued to grow during 2010, with bright promise of a multitude of new digitized United Kingdom burial records to be added throughout 2011.

They are currently digitizing about two million burial and cremation records to be added to their website database, from fifteen burial and cremation authorities around the UK. According to Deceased Online they are in negotiation with thirty more organizations, hoping to add five million more records to that total.

List of additions and updates in 2010:
  • London Borough of Camden - Date of last addition: 3 Dec 2010 Names recorded: 286000
  • London Borough of Islington - Date of last addition: 3 Dec 2010 Names recorded: 412400
  • Blandford Forum Town Council - Date of last addition: 30 Sep 2010 Names recorded: 7600
  • London Borough of Merton Date of last addition: 13 Aug 2010 Names recorded: 100000
  • Southborough Town Council - Date of last addition: 1 Jul 2010 Names recorded: 7100
  • Newark Town Council - Date of last addition: 7 Jun 2010 Names recorded: 40000
  • Aberdeen City Council - Date of last addition: 4 Jun 2010 Names recorded: 24000
  • Salcombe Town Council - Date of last addition: 1 Jun 2010 Names recorded: 3000
  • London Borough of Brent - Date of last addition: 1 Jun 2010 Names recorded: 40000
  • Cambridge City Council - Date of last addition: 23 Feb 2010 Names recorded: 175000
Of course, there are many thousands of pre-existing records on the site for visitors to search.

Free searches include data:
Researchers can search the site without cost, and receive a transcription of the name of the individual, the date of burial, location that it was recorded at, and the date of death.

The above is the result of a search for everyone in the database with the DARNBROUGH surname.

I searched the database for anyone with the DARNBROUGH surname. Being a very uncommon surname, the search resulted in only two entries. Not surprising since the family is concentrated in a small area in Yorkshire from which has not yet secured burial records. The good news is that I was able to identify two DARNBROUGH "strays" that I was previously unaware of. There was no cost for the result shown.

More free information:
Next I clicked on the first entry: Bernard Darnbrough. The following screen resulted.

The new screen provided the additional (free) information of the "Site" of the burial records - Salcombe Town Council

Accessing digitized images of burial or cremation records:
The new screen also provided links where a researcher can purchase access to digitized copies of Bernard Darnbrough's burial records.
  • Grave details and 2 other burials (15 credits)
  • Burial Register Scan (15 credits)
Deciding that the original record is preferential and usually more complete than an index transcription, I clicked on Grave details and 2 other burials (for "15 credits"). Because I was not a previous paid-user of the site, clicking on my requested document automatically took me to registration screen. Registering and buying credits turned out to be a simple and inexpensive task. There are several choices of how many credits that you can buy. I chose to buy 100 credits for £9.95 (about $12.00 US). Once I had registered, 15 credits were deducted from my account. I returned to the Burial Summary screen and clicked on the button for VIEW "Grave details and 2 other burials". The interment details screen for Bernard Darnbrough appeared.

Interment Details:

The interment details screen provided information about two additional individuals who were buried in the same site as Bernard Darnbrough - Harry Darnborough and Derek Darnbrough. This was a transcribed record, not a document.

Interment Details screen provided information about two more Darnbroughs in the same burial record

Burial Register Scan:
Next, I clicked on Bernard Darnbrough's name which took me back to the Burial Register Summary screen where i clicked on the VIEW "Burial Register Scan (15 credits)" for Bernard Darnbrough. The Burial Register Scan page popped up with a small image of the scanned register, with easy links to open it up into full size for reading, printing or saving. The same could have been done for the other two Darnbroughs who were listed on the interment Details screen.

Burial Register Scan screen provides thumbnail of scanned burial record with links to full size document

Inspection of the full size scans of the burial register revealed that Bernard Darnbrough died at 4 years of age on September 8th, 1942 on Church Street Salcombe. Seven year old Derek Darnbrough, the adjoining entry, also died on Church Street on the same day. On the same page of the burial register is listed a 40 year old "housewife" named Dorothy Rose Ball, also of Church Street, who died on that day. The following day, 11 month old Kenneth William John Minney died in local hospital. It seems a concentrated number of burials for small town accustomed to one death every month or so.

One record can lead to new discoveries:
This example illustrates that a burial register can tell a bigger story than that which is recorded. It also demonstrates that it is important to always look at adjoining entries in any original record.

On one specific street, in a small town on the English Channel coast, three people died on one day, and another died in hospital on the day following. The year was 1942. A quick Google search using a search reference of "1942 Salcombe bombing" quickly revealed that the town was bombed during World War Two on September 8, 1942. The German Luftwaffe was probably after the boat yard in the harbour.

Salcombe as it appear today -- a view across Salcombe Harbour from East Portlemouth

A firsthand account from the boat yard owner's son
(Found as a result of a Google search)

"This particular attack remains vividly in my mind as I saw the whole attack from start to finish. It was in the late afternoon and I was off Island Quay, rowing a pram dinghy and towing another boat out to the moorings.

I heard a plane and saw a German fighter coming across over Batson with a single bomb slung underneath it. It was flying on a southerly course that seemed likely to take him over the Berry and then towards the harbour entrance. I was therefore watching with a somewhat detached interest which rapidly changed to concern when he reached a point approximately in line with the Church and then banked sharply into a left turn and came straight towards me. I realised at once that he was going for the yard and that I was in a very bad position. However, I was hampered by the boat that I was towing and it seemed to take ages to cast off its painter.

While I was trying to do this I became aware that the water alongside me was being churned up by machine gun fire although I never heard the guns. He was so low that the angle was so shallow that the bullets probably ricocheted off the water and ended up on Snapes Point. Fortunately for me, although he had my range exactly right his fire was about 20 feet too far to the right, no doubt because his first priority was to line up onto the yard, so I was unharmed.

I saw the bomb leave his plane. He had released it a little early so it fell into Church Street and I saw a great cloud of dust and smoke. The plane passed right over me, so low that I could see every rivet. He flew on across the harbour and away over the hill between Portlemouth and Waterhead.

I went ashore and went up the hill forgetting that I had no shoes on. I could not get beyond the junction of Buckley Street and Church Street as Church Street was carpeted with glass and rubble down to there. I could see houses demolished just where the archway goes through to the backs of the houses on the south side of the street. Rescue work started immediately but several people were killed there."

The odds are good, but not certain, that the deaths of Bernard Darnbrough and the others, were a result of that bombing. More research is needed to prove my assumption.

In summary, I look forward to doing many more record searches on I'm sure that they have more burials for me to find during future searches of their database throughout 2011.

Click here to try out

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nor do we receive commission and/or compensation from Deceased Online

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