Tracing a burial can be a particularly tricky aspect of genealogical research as there are no hard and fast rules which govern final resting places. The following is a source guide to material within Archives, Heritage and Photography which relates to burials in Birmingham and the surrounding counties. All of the resources mentioned (with the exception of the suggestions for further reading) contain names and details of individuals. The resources are arranged by type.
A useful starting point is to read the brief guide to tracing a burial on our website: http://www.libraryofbirmingham.com/tracingaburial
Unless marked otherwise, these records are available in the Heritage Research Area (the open access section of the department).
- Microfilm copies of Cemetery Registers are held for all local authority cemeteries in Birmingham from the dates of opening to the mid 1980s (1973 for Brandwood End).
- Contact details for the 11 municipal cemeteries and 3 crematoria can be found here: www.birmingham.gov.uk/cemeteries
- Key Hill Burial Index 1837-1855 (Microfilm Cabinet 2)
Church of England Burial Registers
- Burial Registers for the present-day Birmingham Diocese are held here and many have now been digitized and are available to view on Ancestry. Our Parish Register index is available to view and is also available on our online archive catalogue. A list of churches and covering dates that are available on ancestry can be seen here: www.libraryofbirmingham.com/article/familyhistory/familyhistorywebsites
- Burial registers for areas outside Birmingham – see card index in our Heritage Research Area for details of holdings of printed parish registers. Those for Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire and Shropshire are on the open shelves. Those for other parts of the UK need to be ordered in advance.
Non-conformist Burial Records
- Non-conformist registers prior to c.1837 are held at the National Archives but are now available online on Ancestry. A list of the coverage and dates is available on the website.
- Microfilm copies of these registers are also available.
- There are other miscellaneous records relating to deaths & burials amongst our collection of non-conformist material including Baptist, Congregational, Methodist, Presbyterian and Unitarian records – some of these are available on microfilm.
- Quaker/Society of Friends burials – our collection of Quaker material is not fully catalogued at present but a box list is available on request.
- Digest Registers of Births, marriages and burials for England & Wales 1650-1837 (Microfilm only)
Roman Catholic Burial Register
- Burial Register of St Chad’s Cathedral 1807-1849 (Microfilm only)
National Burial Index (3rd edition) – CD Rom (Currently unavailable to use)
- A list is available showing extent of inclusion of Birmingham Burials in the NBI.
- Records of Singer’s Hill Synagogue In Archives
- JA/2/D/1 Death certificates and Burial orders 1866 – 2003
- JA/2/D/2/2-4 Registers of Interments in Witton Cemetery 1826-1997
- JA/2/D/2/18 Burial orders 1964 – 2001
- JA/2/D/3/2 List of graves in Brandwood End Cemetery 1947 – 1961
- Records of monumental inscriptions from most C of E church graveyards in Birmingham, plus Bull Street Quaker Burial Ground, Christ Church Catacombs, Key Hill Cemetery, Park Street Burial Ground and St Joseph’s R.C. Nechells. (West Mobile Press, Heritage Research Area.)
- Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Staffordshire Monumental Inscriptions are also held but need to be requested in advance. See Library Catalogue.
- Record of the inscriptions of the gravestones in Saint Mary’s churchyard taken in February 1882 prior to its being laid out under the Birmingham Burial Grounds Act. (West Mobile Press, Heritage Research Area.)
- MS 1493/1 Transcription with index of monumental inscriptions in the burial grounds of the Baptist Chapel (from 1811) and All Saints, Kings Heath (from 1859) (Archives only)
- MS 1493/2 Copy transcription of monumental inscriptions in the burial ground of St. Bartholomews, Birmingham (from 1761) (Archives only)
- Beale, Catherine Hutton. Memorials of the Old Meeting House and Burial Ground, Birmingham. Copied, collected, and illustrated by Catherine Hutton Beale (Birmingham: Printed for the subscribers by White and Pike, 1882). BCol 18.4
- See also Removal of Graves & Graveyards
Records of Rubery Hill Hospital(Archives only)
- HC RH/5/1 Burial Register 1884 – 1909
Records of Sir Josiah Mason’s Orphanage and Almshouses (Archives only)
- MS 1609/12/17 Photographs of memorial plaque at Mason Court [Witton Cemetery] Children who died at the orphanage were usually buried in a burial ground there. When the orphanage closed in 1960, the remains of many of them were disinterred and cremated at Perry Barr crematorium. Two separate plaques were erected in Witton Cemetery.
Records of Littlemore Asylum, Oxford (Archives only)
- MS 2015 Typescript extracts from the record of burials in the burial ground at Littlemore Asylum, Oxford 1886 – 1953.
- Consisting of 2 pages, relating to patients who died at the asylum between 1886-1953 and who were formerly from Birmingham and transferred from Rubery Hill or other Asylums particularly during the War years.
Removal of Graves and Graveyards (Archives only)
- MS 943 Public Works Department: Graveyard clearance records including monumental inscriptions and registers of removals relating to Christ Church, New Street; Old Meeting House; Park Street Burial Ground; St. Bartholomew’s Burial Ground; St. Martins Burial Ground; St. Marys, Loveday Street; St. Paul’s Church, Hockley; St. Philips; and Zion Baptist Church.
- The war dead of the Commonwealth, the register of the names of those who fell in the 1938-1945 War. Series 940.5465 GRE (needs to be ordered in advance by name of cemetery).
Any of the above sources marked as “In Archives only” are currently available to view in the Wolfson Centre by prior appointment only. Some of the catalogues are available to search online at http://calmview.birmingham.gov.uk but not all. Please contact Archives, Heritage and Photography if you would like details of collections that do not appear online.
Resources outside of Library of Birmingham for Birmingham burials
Archives of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham (Records of Catholic Church burial grounds and Oscott College Cemetery).
Quaker Burial records (including some for Birmingham) held at The National Archives in collection RG 6 can be searched at BMDRegisters.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission – records of over 2500 war graves within Birmingham cemeteries. Also burial records of Birmingham servicemen and women who are buried overseas.
- Birmingham Burial Registers (see Church of England Registers)
- England & Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1567-1970
- England & Wales, Quaker Birth, Marriage, and Death Registers, 1578-1837
Suggestions for Further Reading:
Brickley, Megan; Buteux, Simon et al (2006) St. Martin’s uncovered : investigations in the churchyard of St. Martin’s-in-the-Bull Ring, Birmingham 2001. Oxford: Oxbow. BCol 14.11
Manning, E. H. (1915) Guide to the Birmingham General Cemetery; together with biographical notes on those interred therein. Birmingham: Hudson & Son BCol 45.5
McKenna, Joseph (1992) In the midst of life, a history of the burial grounds of Birmingham. Birmingham Library Services. BCol 45.5
Southwell, Brian (2008) Historic cemeteries of the Jewellery Quarter : an introduction to Key Hill Cemeteries. Birmingham: Friends of Key Hill and Warstone Lane Cemeteries LP45.5
Southwell, Brian (2010) Historic cemeteries of the Jewellery Quarter : an introduction to Warstone Lane Cemetery. Birmingham: Friends of Key Hill and Warstone Lane Cemeteries LP45.5