What is the NBI ?
The National Burial Index (NBI) is an index of burial entries recorded in parish, nonconformist and cemetery registers between the 16th century and modern times. Over 5.4 million records are included, taken from some 4,440 burial registers. The coverage is best for the period 1813 to 1837, but there are also burials included from a much wider period. No monumental inscriptions are included. Each entry presents the following information, if available in the original source:
- Forename(s) and Surname of the deceased
- Date of burial
- County (historic)
- Name of the church, chapel or cemetery where the burial was recorded
- Data Provider (the society, group or individual who transcribed the record)
The NBI Project
The National Burial Index is published by the Federation of Family History Societies (FFHS), and represents the fruits of five years' work by some 50 member societies and other groups or individuals. Societies appointed co-ordinators who, in turn, recruited transcribers, inputters and checkers. Transcribers were encouraged to record 'as seen' from the source original, microfiches or a printed transcription. This largely accounts for the bizarre spellings sometimes seen in the Index.
The NBI Project continues, and it is hoped that in subsequent editions of the NBI the geographical coverage in particular will improve.
Style of Presentation
Illegible names have been replaced by a ? mark. Illegible parts of words were replaced by three dots (e.g. New … n). Guessed names were followed by a '?' mark; if more than one guess was plausible then each guess was recorded in the NBI. Similarly, alias surnames were recorded as separate records.
For the sake of consistency some minor editorial changes have been made to the NBI records. For example, abbreviation punctuation at the end of words has been omitted, runs of more than two identical letters have been corrected after checking with the original, the space in surnames like Mc Intosh and Mac Clean has been removed and names like Ffrancis have been altered to Francis. These last two adaptations aim to simplify searches. When no forename was available, an attempt to define the sex of the deceased was made, e.g. [son], [daughter]. When there was a discrepancy between and register and the Bishops Transcript's version, the following type of entry was made: Jane (Mary BT).
Checked and Unchecked Records
Some societies found that checking was a rate limiting step to completing their contribution to the project. As a gesture of goodwill, and in recognition of the enormous amount of work offered by inputters, it was decided collectively that some unchecked records could be included in the National Burial Index provided such records could be indicated in the NBI as 'unchecked'. Just under 30% of the data is described as unchecked.
Simply an Index
The NBI does not contain full transcriptions of the burial records - it is an abbreviated finding-aid - an index in fact. Also remember that records were sometimes difficult to read and so transcription errors may have occurred. So, as with the International Genealogical Index, searchers are discouraged from accepting the details of an entry at face value and should check the original source record (see Contacting Data Providers).
With few exceptions, the NBI indicates the denominations of churches and chapels at the time when the bulk of the burials were recorded. This information may be seen for an individual burial record on the Viewing a Record dialogue screen, or for a whole burial ground from the Geographical Coverage dialogue.
Denomination Number of Burial Places Approximate Number of Burials Anglican (i.e. Church of England & Church in Wales) 4,184 5,132,620 Roman Catholic (includes one cemetery) 17 13,436 Wesleyan/Methodist (includes Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion) 39 28,741 Quaker 30 5,228 Other Nonconformist: Baptist 43 8,951 Independent/Congregational 69 16,137 Moravian 3 1,530 Presbyterian 7 2,600 Unitarian 6 7,019 URC (United Reformed Church) (earlier denomination not specified) 3 1,042 Not known 8 305 Cemeteries (mainly civic cemeteries, i.e. non-denominational) 26 195,368 Miscellaneous Hospital & Infirmary burial grounds 3 3,559 Union workhouse burial grounds 3 944 About 71% of the burials in the NBI are stated to be 'checked'