Historical burial details for Thanet district scanned

Details of 146,000 burials and cremations in the Thanet district, dating back more than 150 years, have been scanned onto a computer.

The details were held in books showing 86,000 burials dating back to 1856 in St John's cemetery in Margate and the Ramsgate and St Lawrence cemeteries.

They also contained details of all 60,000 cremations since 1966 when the area's crematorium first opened.

The books contained the only surviving copies of the information.

Work to preserve the information began last autumn when it was initially put onto microfilm which has a life of 500 years.

Vital work

The microfilm was then digitally scanned and indexed providing each bound volume as a multi-page pdf image.

Thanet District Council's registrar's team can now view the records from their computers.

Councillor Martin Wise, cabinet member for environmental services, said the project had been a huge undertaking and a vital piece of work.

"Until recently, those volumes were the only record of the area's history dating back to the 19th Century," he said.

"If anything had happened to them, we would have lost not only details of all cremations and thousands of burials, but perhaps just as importantly, we would have lost records of where the graves in our area are located.

"Now, with this work completed, we know that we have back-ups in place and the information is secure for many generations to come."

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