Opening Death Data for Genealogists and Other Historians

Open Data image with logos

Open Data Day is an annual celebration of open knowledge all around the world. On Saturday third March teams from all over the world will create native occasions on the day the place they may use open knowledge of their communities. It is a chance to indicate the advantages of open knowledge and encourage the adoption of open knowledge insurance policies in authorities, enterprise and civil society.

All outputs are open for everybody to make use of and re-use.  Analysis Knowledge is one in every of 4 themes for this yr’s Open Knowledge Day.

All three of our present initiatives include data which is invaluable to household historians and different researchers. The indices to the registrations of demise in England and Wales are, after all, freely obtainable on Civil registration solely began in 1837, so to search out deaths which occurred earlier, you possibly can look on, to see Church of England and different burials.  Later burials are there too, from the Church of England Registers and a rising vary of spiritual organisations and secular our bodies.  Most not too long ago, we now have acquired photographs of burial registers from Lancashire which are awaiting transcription – sign up here to assist get them on line sooner!

Image of a desk with genealogy paraphernalia

Surprisingly, maybe, the census information we transcribe and share on even have details about demise. On you possibly can search by occupation, and this contains those that labored in numerous features of the companies surrounding demise.  Proscribing the search to Cornwall, in 1841 there was only one (funeral) “undertaker” recorded (in St Austell) In 1851, 4 undertakers are recorded:

Image showing details of four undertakers

In 1861, only one once more is recorded, and in 1871 5 together with Jabez Parkyn.  A decade later, the Parkyn identify turns into much more seen, as the kids of the household (proven beneath within the 1871 census) continued the household commerce, all three describing themselves as “Builder & Undertaker”:

1871 Census, Parkyn Family

However in 1891, though the quantity had grown to 11, none of them was a Parkyn.  Jabez senior and Jabez junior (now spelled Parkin) are recorded purely as Builders, Jabez William A had change into a painter.

Parkin 1881 census

This transient look raises many questions – many undertakers had a couple of occupation (carpenter or mason being frequent).  Have been others who have been recorded solely as masons or carpenters additionally arranging funerals? We now have not but enabled a search-by-occupation function on FreeCEN2 – we’d love to know when you would use this function, and how you desire to the search of occupations to work there.

I restricted the information to Cornwall, as we now have permission to share this dataset as Open Knowledge – please contact us to request entry to this dataset. Sharing this knowledge as Open signifies that the historical past of endeavor in Victorian Cornwall will be undertaken (excuse the pun!) far more simply than for different counties.

Please be part of us in exploring our information on third March, commenting right here or on our Facebook event.  We might like to know something you’re doing with the information of demise – for instance in case you are researching the Enterprise Parkyns of Cornwall, exploring longevity, or if you want us to transcribe the information of your church or share the transcriptions from a graveyard survey.