Monday, February 26, 2024

More Central Otago cemeteries go digital

Digitisation of Central Otago district cemetery records is continuing, with Ranfurly Cemetery now completed and Roxburgh Cemetery just begun, Central Otago District Council has announced.

The digitisation of Council cemeteries started some years ago, with the online database containing records for the Alexandra, Clyde, Omakau (Blacks), Nevis, Cromwell, Litany St (Cromwell) and Naseby cemeteries.

The process means the public can search for relatives and people of interest online, and older paper records are future-proofed.

At the Ranfurly Cemetery, there was only one unknown grave where the occupant could not be identified, which was uncommon, according to Council’s cemetery team. It means the record keeping was excellent from the time of the first burial on 27 October 1907 until the present day, Council said.

The bulk of the work at Ranfurly was carried out by Central Otago District Council cadet, Jocelyn Ryan.

Council says the work involved fact checking, grave checking – that the names matched the plot as per the record – and checking the number of people in the grave.

“It was a very satisfying project because it’s humane,” Jocelyn said.

“I’m giving people a name since they no longer have a voice of their own.”

Jocelyn photographed every headstone on the cemetery’s 700 occupied plots.

Digitisation of Roxburgh Cemetery, now operated by Council and previously run by the Roxburgh Cemetery Trust, is underway.

Roxburgh opened in1860. The records up to 1901 were lost in a fire many years ago, and for the 1901-1980 period, are tricky to decipher at times, Council says.

“We’re expecting this project to be a lot more challenging because of the age of the information and because the cemetery is a lot older,” Jocelyn said.

St Bathans Cemetery is next on the list.

For information about the Council’s Cemetery Record Search, go to:

https://www.codc.govt.nz/do-it-online/cemetery-record-search

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