Miscellanea

How much did a funeral cost in the 1880s? Thompsons of Waterford.

A question often asked during graveyard surveys is ‘how much did a funeral cost in the past?’ - to which I’d often reply that we need to see a undertaker’s account books to get an answer. The first undertaker’s accounts I have seen were shown to me by C J Destelle-Roe of North Tipperary and that account book contained a lot of important clues to understanding early 20th century Templemore.

Now, Waterford County Council have combined with Thompson Funeral Directors (opened in Waterford in 1786) to put their historic registers online. This is an excellent resource and a quick examination gives immediate reward.

Reading the registers it strikes me that literacy was just as much an issue for undertakers clerks as it was for stonecutters. The 19th century register is written with phonetic spellings - elm is ellim, car is care, hers for hearse so that lesson we have learned in graveyards is repeated here- the actual spelling doesn’t overly matter once you convey the intended meaning.  Read more »

Where to look for burials in the Tuam Union Workhouse?

There could be human burials anywhere within the site of the Tuam Union Workhouse -  especially dating to the mid-nineteenth century before the formal burial ground was established in the nearby townland of Carrowpeter. Delaney (2012) refers to information in Claffey (2009) that the Poor Law Commissioners were unhappy with the Workhouse burial ground being located within 90 feet of the fever sheds and the formal burial ground subsequently being established in Carrowpeter. Read more »

Archaeology, the Tuam Workhouse & St. Mary's Mother & Baby Home - a personal perspective

This post is written in the interests of taking a measured archaeological approach to the current debate about the Mother & Baby Home in Tuam. Two key issues underlie the whole matter from an archaeological perspective;

1. the lack of a clearly identified burial ground in the Tuam Union Workhouse.

2. 19th and 20th century burial practices relating to the Workhouse &St. Mary’s Mother & Baby Home.

  Read more »

Brian Chester Robinson

With Jim & Waltie Murphy we read the  timber grave memorial for young Brien Chesters Robinson in the Old Church (Ardmore townland), Passage West, Cork Harbour. I was amazed to see the rare timber grave memorials and with the aid of the Lenser P7 flashlamp we were able to read most of the epitaph carved into the wood.  Jim took the bare details of name and date and did some research. He found the Robinsons in the 1901 Census and they were a large family and servant living in 12 Maulbawn, Monkstown, which is the townland east of the graveyard. Read more »

Headstones as Postcards from the Past

Notes below

These are the prompts used during the talk and not an exact script.

Nick Maxwell (www.wordwell.com) recommended that we focus on 'harder' topics in local history and archaeology, citing Tom Dunne's book (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rebellions-Memoir-Memory-1798-ebook/dp/B006ZOYNL...) as an example of high quality history writing. Keep this in mind when telling stories of the past. Read more »

Dowsing and historic graveyards

Dick Eastman is intrigued by the possibility of using dowsing to find forgotten graves. Reading his post I am reminded of a colleague telling me they used dowsing to layout a trench in an historic graveyard excavation in Wales. They needed to avoid a buried foundation and used dowsing to detect, mark and avoid the foundations. Now, field archaeologists are very sceptical, often by nature and always by training. We believe it when we see it! Therefore I am not certain my good friend and colleague was not pulling my leg and maybe we should try and replicate his experience. Read more »

5 Most Read Posts From 2012

The Historic Graves Project have had a very busy and exciting 2012 working with rural and urban communities to record their historic graveyards. The database of graveyards, memorials and stories is growing rapidly and new entries are being added everyday. The national map is filling up and you can explore and search the databse freely as communities add their survey records. Read more »

Qr Codes in Historic Graveyards

QR codes are square barcodes which when scanned with a smartphone open a webpage. You need a QR code generator and a QR code reader to make it work. A funeral director in Dorset, England, is now offering to add QR codes to grave memorials for £95 and has garnered a lot of media interest as a result. Read more »

Pioneers in Irish Graveyard Recording - Robert M Chapple

This blog post is one of a series about people who have been working in historic graveyard research in Ireland. Previously we wrote about Dr. Jane Lyons (http://historicgraves.ie/blog/miscellanea/pioneers-irish-graveyard-recording-dr-jane-lyons) who pioneered publishing graveyard data to the internet while this post is about archaeologist Robert M Chapple. Read more »

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