Difference between revisions of "Jersey Cemeteries"
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== Available records
== Available records ==
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Revision as of 14:53, 4 February 2013
Cemeteries in Jersey
The first true cemeteries came into existence in the early years of the 19th Century: until then burial had almost all taken place in graveyards surrounding the historic parish churches. However, capacity was rapidly running out in St Helier, and because the centre of the town is built on reclaimed marsh, there were concerns that putrefying bodies would cause pollution of the water supply and the spread of disease.
The first new cemetery was opened at Green Street, not far from the town centre, in 1827. However, the site was not a large one, and at the time the island population was growing rapidly. Two further cemeteries - Mont à l'Abbé, at the top of St John's Road, and Almorah, overlooking the Vallée des Vaux - opened in the late 1850s. These came close to capacity after the Second World War, so a new cemetery at Surville, on the boundary of St Helier and St John, was opened in 1949 and is still in use.
Jersey came late to the idea of cremation - the States did not pass a law permitting in until 1952, and the crematorium was finally opened at Westmount in 1960. However, neighbouring Guernsey opened a crematorium at Le Foulon in the early 1930s, and more than one local funeral director was willing to send bodies for cremation there, with the ashes either being scattered in Guernsey, returned to Jersey, or in a few cases scattered at sea.
The Jersey Archive received a substantial collection in 2009 from a local undertaker: it included books of accounts and funeral records from seven constituent companies, the oldest of which go back to about 1820. A team of volunteers is transcribing the names of those buried, and this list will be added to the Archive's OPAC. It will thus be possible to at least identify if a person either died here or was buried here, allowing users to request the fuller record from the actual book.
In addition to this, a member of the CIFHS, Vic Geary, has worked with the St Helier Parks and Gardens department (the department responsible for maintaining cemeteries in St Helier) and has transcribed all available cemetery records for Almorah and Mont à l'Abbé as far as 1949. These records include both the names of individuals buried and also the owners of plots. Vic's research folders are held at Jersey Archive.