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Why use this source: Monumental inscriptions often name more than one family member and their relationships. Sometimes the information may be difficult or impossible to find in other sources.
- Findmypast.com (search for the word "monumental" or the county where the deceased was buried then browse the list of options to search)
- BillionGraves.com (start with the name search then add filters for United Kingdom & Wales)
- Search WorldCat for the burial location, subject of cemeteries or monumental inscriptions. This website will show the library closest to you with a selected publication.
- ParishChest.com sells transcripts & indexes for some family history societies
- Welsh family history societies have recorded monumental inscriptions and sell the details for a small fee through their websites.
Dates covered for this record: Most date from the late 1700s to the present.
Content: The information varies but as a minimum expect to find names and dates. It is not unusual to find three or four people named and often a farm or house name.
Tips and strategies
- Find the death and/or burial details first.
- Start with published information if possible unless you live near the graveyard.
- No complete collection of monumental inscriptions exists online or in print. You may need to try several options, even visiting the graveyard yourself.
- Visit the cemetery personally to verify what was published or record information not available in other ways.
- Reading monumental inscriptions early in the morning or late afternoon may help highlight inscriptions making them easier to read.
- Look at all the graves near the specific one you are interested in. Relatives are often buried near other family members although the surnames may be different due to marriage.
- If a burial is not found, consider that it may have happened further from where a person lived than you expect.
- In some cases inscriptions were recorded many years ago, before erosion had damaged the stones. These early transcripts may be available at a local library or archive.
More Details About Cemeteries and Monumental Inscriptions
Cemetery records (including burial records, monumental or memorial inscriptions), sometimes provide birth, marriage, death, and occupational information. They sometimes give clues to military service, residence, and cause of death.
To find cemetery records, you need to know where an individual was buried. The person may have been buried in a church, city, or public cemetery—usually near the place where he or she lived or died. You can find clues to burial places in church records, death certificates, or family histories.
Before the Burial Acts of 1852 and 1853, most people were buried in church cemeteries. If the person was buried in a church cemetery, you may need to use church burial records.
Welsh family history societies are transcribing the cemetery inscriptions from their local areas. Some societies have also compiled the indexes from several cemeteries. Check with the society in your area of interest to learn more about their work.
It is also possible to gain access to cemetery inscriptions through the Internet. There are lists of people on the Internet who volunteer to search various types of records for certain areas free of charge. You can locate these lists through the GENUKI website at:
From the above site:
- Click [County of your choice]
- Click Genealogy
- Click Look-up Exchange
The Family History Library has copies of many transcriptions of cemetery inscriptions including many from Glamorgan, Gwynedd, Dyfed, Clwyd and Gwent. Look in the Locality Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:
- WALES - CEMETERIES
- WALES, [COUNTY] - CEMETERIES
- WALES, [COUNTY], [PARISH] - CEMETERIES
The following inventory will identify cemetery records which may not be found in the FamilySearch Catalog:
- Smith, Frank. Smith’s Inventory of Genealogical Sources: Wales. 14 vols. Salt Lake City, Utah: Family History Library, 1994. (Family History Librarybook 942.9 D23s; fiche 6110529;). This is a subject and surname index to items within selected periodicals, books, and films.
- Find burial records and monumental inscriptions for Wales
- Welsh Gravestones, for an English translation of common monumental inscriptions in Welsh.
- Wales Church Records, for more information on burial records
- Societies, for more information on family history societies
- Municipal cemeteries in Glamorgan
- Wrexham Cemetery on-line search
- Wrexham Church Graveyard Search
- Various cemeteries in Glamorgan & Monmouth
- Wales Cemetery Records
- Awbery, G. M. Tracing family history in Wales: how to read the inscriptions on Welsh gravestones. Llwyndyrys: Llygad Gwalch. 2010.
- Greenwood, Val D. The researcher's guide to American genealogy. Baltimore, Md: Genealogical Pub. Co. 1990.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Research Outline: Wales (Salt Lake City: Corporation of the President, 2000), 13.