Bishopwearmouth Cemetery was the successor burial ground to Bishopwearmouth Saint Michael’s and Rector’s Gill Cemetery, and was the largest burial ground in the historic county of Durham. This release of data covers the period from the opening of the cemetery in May 1856 to the middle of 1871. These cemetery registers provide the address of the deceased, the names and professions of the fathers and sometimes mothers (in the case of children) or the spouse (in the case of a married woman). Sometimes a cause of death (‘Cholera’, ‘killed on the railway’, ‘drowned at Roker’) is also given.
One remarkable feature of Bishopwearmouth cemetery was the habit of the officials of stating the religion of Roman Catholics, Quakers and Jews, who all had their own separate sections. The listing of Roman Catholics was soon dropped (1864) because of the sheer numbers, but Quakers and Jews were still noted. Because Jewish tradition dictates a separate burial ground, the cemetery also contains people from all over the county, for this was the first burial ground in County Durham with a separate section for them. Folk from the tiny and long forgotten Jewish congregations in Stockton, Darlington and Hartlepool were all brought to Bishopwearmouth. This info is likely to help those researchers whose Jewish ancestors have gone missing and whose graves cannot be found near their place of residence.
The registers also mention if a person died at the Union Workhouse or the Union Infirmary. These terrible places were the only assistance given by the state in the 19th. century and were part of the fabric of British society until the 1930s