Search the Archives' Burial Ground Records
Welcome to Galway County Council Archives' index to entries in burial ground registers. The database aims to provide free access to every record of a burial in County Galway from the records held in its Archives.
Handwritten entries from the registers have been indexed in a database consisting of first name, surname, interment date and burial ground.
Galway County Council Archives holds an extensive but incomplete collection of registers for the burial grounds in the county owned and managed by the local authority. These generally date from the mid-1940s to modern times. Older registers, dating from the late 1880s, are held for the Ballinasloe and Tuam town cemeteries.
Two different types of registers are held:
- Registers of Interment (GC/Env2/), which chronologically record details of burials in a cemetery, and
- Plot Books (GC/Env1/), which record similar details together with details of the plot location.
More of the former are held in the Archives than the latter. Details of the full holdings are available on the online catalogue.
The management of Burial Grounds is governed by various health legislation and regulations, such as Rules Applicable to Burial Grounds Provided Under the Public Health (Ireland) Act, 1878, and Rules and Regulations for the Regulation of Burial Grounds etc (as Amended). The control and management of burial grounds was originally undertaken by Burial Boards, which were sub-committees of the various Poor Law Unions. In 1889 the function was carried out on behalf of the local authority by the Rural District Councils, and then from circa 1923 by the Boards of Health & Public Assistance. From the early 1940's the function was the direct responsibility of the County Council. Initially the function was administered by the General Purposes and Water Service Sections of the Council. Upon the establishment of a separate Environment Section in the mid-late 1990s the function was transferred to it.
Galway County Council is involved with the appointment of caretakers, and the provision and maintenance of graveyards. The day-to-day management of burial grounds is carried out on behalf of the County Council by local caretakers. They are responsible for completing the Registers, recording details of interments, taking payment for the purchase of burial plots, and so on.
Some Caretakers only had/have Registers of Interment. These record chronologically record burial details but do not give the plot location details.
There are 225 graveyards in the ownership of Galway County Council and it is estimated that there are in the region of 250 further burial grounds in the County that are not in Council ownership. Children's burial grounds which are locally called killeens/ ciliní or cillachaun/killahauns form a considerable proportion of the burial sites that are not in Council ownership.
The surviving burial registers for Council owned burial grounds generally back only to the mid-1940s. There are a few Registers which are slightly earlier, such as for Ballinasloe and Tuam.
Unfortunately for the genealogist, written burial records only exist for a limited number of the burial grounds. In the case of the remaining burial grounds, historians can rely on the headstones and memorials only. In which case the graveyard memorial inscription and digital mapping project and database managed by Galway County Council's Heritage Office may be of interest to researchers.
In addition, the Local History section of Galway County Libraries holds copies of memorial inscriptions for various cemeteries in the county, which were compiled by FÁS Galway Family History societies in the 1990s.
Transcription & Indexing Project
Each handwritten entry in the Registers of Interment (GC/Env2/) and the Plot Books (GC/Env1/) has been transcribed and is searchable in the database. Each transcribed entry is then linked to its corresponding page in the relevant digitised register.
Given the wide date range of the Registers, and varied quality of handwriting and compilation of the data in the Registers, together with the condition of the originals, deciphering the text is in some instances difficult or impossible. While every effort has been made to provide as complete and accurate a transcription as possible, any errors / omissions etc are unintentional.
- Spellings are as they generally appear in the Registers (caretakers spelling skills vary, so variants of names should be searched, e.g. Murry and Murray; Donnellan and Donellan; Redington and Reddington.
- Where the date is not recorded in a Register but the year is assumed '00/00/yy' is usually indicated or indeed where no date is indicated in the original register '00/00/00' or '?' is indicated.
- Generally, where a name is not given '[Blank]' or '?' is indicated.
Some minor corrections / amendments have been made, primarily in the interests of Data Protection.
Sample entry in the Plot Book for Moylough Burial Ground (GC/Env1/22), which for Data Protection purposes has the name & address of the owner of plot redacted.
Sample entry in the Register of Interments for Meelick, Eyrecourt Burial Ground (GC/Env2/71), which for Data Protection purposes has with name & address of the owners of the grave plot redacted.
This extensive transcription and indexing project, which involved converting over 37,000 handwritten entries into the database, has been funded by Galway County Council and was carried out over a number of years. The database will grow on a gradual basis as and when new Registers are deposited with the Archives. The availability of the data online will facilitate wider public access, while also aiding the ongoing preservation of the original records.
Search for a Burial
To search the database simply insert in the relevant search field the information to hand. If only the surname is known, then insert the surname in the relevant search field. If different variants of the name appear below it, select the one required. In the sample here Smyth is chosen, with 54 results given.
To narrow the search, select, for instance, a burial ground or indeed first name. In this instance Drumacoo is selected, reducing the number of search results to 5.
To view the entry in the page of the original Register click on the link icon on the left of the entry.
To clear the search fields and start a new search click on Reset.
To increase the size of the screen, click on the icon on the bottom right of the screen, and click again to revert to normal size.
Copyright of all the documents and data included in the Registers and the transcribed lists remains with Galway County Council. No part of the registers or list may be copied or distributed without the prior consent of Galway County Council, other than for research, non-commercial purposes or private study only. Use of images and documents is for informational and non-commercial purposes only. No images may be modified in any way.
The graveyard memorial inscription and digital mapping project and database managed by Galway County Council's Heritage Office may also be of interest to family histories, genealogists and others.
Galway County Council Archives would like to acknowledge the involvement of Mallon Technologies Ltd. and the Galway County Council's Information Systems team in this project.
For queries regarding historical burials or graveyards contact Galway County Council Archives firstname.lastname@example.org .
For all queries in relation to current or proposed burials, please contact the Galway County Council's Environment Section on 091 509 559
BTC/2/1 for 1885-1994, and BTC2/2 for 1886-1993
GC/ENV2/27 for 1882-1902; GC/ENV2/28 for 1902-1920; and GC/ENV2/29 for 1920-1943, 63)