Burial registers before 1813

In very early registers it was not uncommon to record a wife's burial as simply "The wife of John Smith was buried", without recording her name, but after a while, she would be mentioned by name.

Below: "Margaret the wife of John Neepe buried the 2d of December 1666"
This would normally be interpreted that the husband John was still alive.
(Note that "ye" is really the way that "the" was written, the "th" being combined into what we would think is a "y".)

When a husband was buried, there was no reference to his wife, as in the above example:
"Robert Cutlowe buried the 8th day of Febry 1666"

Above: "Jane Neepe buryed the 25 of February 1667"
This would normally refer to a single woman over the age of 21, but could be a widow.

Above: we can easily differentiate between the burial of a widow, and that of a wife whose husband is still alive. She will normally be referred to as "widow of ..." or "relict of ..."

"Mary the relict of Will. Butler buried the 3rd of December 1669"
"Frances the wife of John Neepe buried the 16th of December 1669"

Above: the normal way of recording the death of a child under the age of 21 years.
"Robert the son of John Neepe buried January the 9th 1667"
"Frances Watkin the daughter of Jos Watkin buried Febry... "

Note that Jos is an abbreviation of Joseph.

By this time, it was common to also record the wife's name when a child was buried.

"Frances the daughter of George Gregory & Frances his wife was buried
the 7th day of August 1668"

All of the above examples are from one page of the burial register for the parish of Winkburn in Nottinghamshire.

Some burial registers are little more than a list of names. For example the Southwell, Nottinghamshire burial register  for 1723 reads:

Nov 12

Mary Watts


Mary Sininshire


Tho. son of Benj. Reinolds


Wm. son of John Neep


Millicent wife of Tho. Little


Mary da. of Wm. Crampton


Martha da. of Corn. Neep


John Stenton


Tho. Walker

Dec 5

John Yates


... of Rob. Walsin


Samuel Lowe Esq.


Ann Blundel


Ellen da. of Mr. Hollis Pigot


.... of Mr. Hoyland

Note that some entries are even incomplete, as if it was intended to fill in a name later. "Mr." and "Esq" (Esquire) denotes a person of some standing in the community. A gentleman.

Copyright ©1999 Rod Neep - all rights reserved