In Ireland, cemeteries have historically included church burial yards, public municipal cemeteries, commercial memorial parks and family burial plots.
As an initial step in searching death records, you may wish to search for obituaries online. There is a searchable database of nearly 10 million obituaries online at www.rootsweb.com. In addition, some cemeteries in Ireland have compiled transcripts of the inscriptions found on every tombstone in the graveyard. Check the local Heritage Centre to see if their holdings include indexed transcripts of tombstone inscriptions. To find out whether a particular graveyard has been surveyed and transcribed, visit the Irish Times website, where you can search for graveyard inscriptions by county in Ireland. For an online database of nearly 4 million graveyard inscriptions, visit http://www.interment.net.
Visiting Cemeteries in Person
Cemetery tombstones may yield information about children and wives that are not available anywhere else. Gravestones also provide accurate dates of death for looking up probate records, wills, and obituaries, as well as more accurate name spellings. During a cemetery tombstone search, bring along your list of surname variants (i.e., alternate spellings), a list of the maiden names of the women in your family tree, and the dates your family members resided in that area. Be sure to look all around the cemetery for other people with the same surname or a variant thereof. With a little more research, these people might become candidates for inclusion in your family tree.
There is a right way and a wrong way to capture gravestone information. Some people use vinegar, shaving cream or powder in the process of obtaining a rubbing of the tombstone. Doing any kind of rubbing can permanently damage the stone. The best method is to use a camera to photograph the stone, utilizing a mirror if necessary to bring forth details that may not initially be visible through your camera's viewfinder.