The details of 70,000 people buried at the 167-year-old Mount St Lawrence Cemetery in Limerick are set to go live online. The searchable database will include their names, ages, addresses, dates of death, and the position of the graves.
Limerick City archivist at the Limerick City Council, Jacqui Hayes, told SiliconRepublic that the database will be an invaluable resource for anyone conducting genealogical research on the Limerick area.
She said, “The records also offer a unique tool for those conducting research into the social history of Limerick and mortality rates for all ages in Limerick City and its environs for over a century and a half.”
For two years the staff from Limerick City Archives and the History Department of Mary Immaculate College of Education have been manually transcribing thousands of handwritten records of those buried at Mount St Lawrence Cemetery between 1855 and 2008.
According to the cemetery’s burial register, more than more than 70,000 people have been interred at Mount St Lawrence Cemetery and Hayes believes this number is in fact higher.
Mount St Lawrence graveyard, located in the South Liberties, has been the primary place of burial in Limerick City for all strata of society since its opening in 1849. Its development began as burial ground capacity elsewhere in the city was placed under pressure following cholera epidemics in the 1830s and the Great Famine in the 1840s.
An extension to was opened in 1960 and the management of the cemetery was transferred from the Church to the Limerick City Council in 1979.
Councillor Kathleen Leddin, the Mayor of Limerick said the database is part of the City’s preparations to become Ireland’s first National City of Culture in 2014.
The Mayor added, “There are few people in Limerick City and surrounding parts, including southeast Clare and Co Limerick, who do not know somebody or do not have a relative who is buried at Mount St Lawrence Cemetery.”
Hayes confirmed there is work underway to develop an online map of all burial plots at Mount St Lawrence Cemetery. That map will be available to the public.
“This project represents the next phase of our online records project, and involves pinpointing each plot with global positioning system technology,” Hayes said.
“By April of next year, members of the public will be able to click onto a person’s name and learn where their burial plot is located. The new system will also enable people to click onto a point on a map and discover who is buried there.”