St Pancras and Islington Cemetery records go online for first time

PEOPLE hoping to trace their family history can now do so from their armchairs after records for St Pancras and Islington Cemetery were put on line this week.

Details of those buried, scans of original registers, photographs of headstones and memorials, and maps showing the exact locations of graves are being uploaded onto the website

The cemetery in Finchley is the largest in the UK, and the computerised records mean thousands of Islington and Camden residents will now find it much easier to follow in the footsteps of the celebrities in the hit BBC series Who Do You Think You Are and research their own ancestors.

Richard Gray, head of marketing at Deceased Online, said: “Everybody likes to know where they came from. At any one time something like 25 or 30 per cent of the population are researching their family history, and Who Do You Think You Are is the most popular history programme on TV because everyone can relate to the celebrities as we all have our own story.

“We all want to know whether there was some notoriety or royalty or great sadness in our past. Most of us find out our ancestors were agricultural labourers but often people learn that their great grandfather had two brothers who died in the war or things like that which are absolutely fascinating.”

St Pancras and Islington was created in 1854, with novelist Thomas Hardy one of its key architects. Among the many famous and infamous people buried there are artist Ford Madox-Brown, original Pearly King Henry Croft, Islington’s first mayor Sir William Crump and tragic alleged murder victim Cora Crippen, wife of the notorious Dr Harvey Crippen.

In total 800,000 people are buried there, but the new database makes it a lot easier to find them.

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“In the past you would have had to phone up the cemetery office, find out if they could access the burial records and pay as much as �50 or �60 to obtain a photocopy of the record,” Mr Gray explained. “Or you would have had to go to the office and try to find it yourself.

“Now you can sit at home on the computer, check if your family member is buried at St Pancras and Islington and take it from there.

“You might put in the name of your great uncle and find his burial record and get some extra information like his age, address where he lived and the name of his spouse. Often there will be more than one person buried in the same grave so you might get the name of another family member and that will give you another lead to follow up.

“It will also be useful for people in families that have become estranged because or arguments, and for people raised in Islington or Camden that have since moved out of London or to another part of the world who are interested in researching their family history.

“And their will be people in places like India or the Caribbean who want to fin out what happened to relatives who came to England during the last century.”