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In 2005 Bill Drever accompanied by J Kennedy, both inhabitants of Abernethy, Perthshire, conducted a research project to survey the graveyard. The village has been on its present site for many hundreds of years and features a round tower, one of only two in Scotland dating from the early 9th century. (More information about the village and the surrounding area can be found at www.museumofabernethy.co.uk and www.abernethyvillage.co.uk. ) . The grveyad has been in use for an unknown period but undoubtedly there have been many graves which have been used severl times over the centuries and the earlier records are now lost. On this site you will find access to all the data which they could establish about each lair and you will find reproductions of the text which they were able ot decipher on the various headstones still standing in the graveyard. You will also find maps which will help you to place a particular grave in the graveyard. These maps are large with much detail on them so we have adopted a presentation which restricts the data shown to "slices" of the original maps or plans. Hopefully these will stil let you identify the location of any grave in which you have an interest.

Locating the Deceased in Abernethy Churchyard

There are two distinct sources of information which may help you to locate the graves of individuals in this ancient burial site: -

(a) The Abernethy Churchyard Register of Burials
(b) The inscriptions on the gravestones

(a) The Register of Burials

To date only one register relating to the old churchyard has been found. It covers the period from c. 1860 to the present day. Since the graveyard has been used since medieval times, or even earlier, there must have been earlier records, but these are presumably lost.

The Register contains information under the following headings: -

1. Plot (or "Lair") Number
2. Name of Deceased Person
3. Place of Residence
4. Date of Burial
5. Depth of Grave

Each page has at its top a space for "Head of Household". This gives the name of the person (or institution) who bought or booked the lairs numbered on that page. Typically a page lists the occupants of about four lairs. Each lair may contain about six bodies, sometimes more, sometimes less. The index included here relates to the "Head of Household" surnames. This may be of some use in locating a name, though not all surnames on a page are necessarily the same as the "Head of Household" surname.
Note that the Register contains no other index or means of locating an individual. A page may contain entries from the 1880s right through to the late 20th century. There are c.250 pages. The Register also contains a fold-out map detailing lair numbers. A copy of this map is included in this web site. The numbering system in the Register is different from the system used for locating the gravestones.

The Abernethy Churchyard Register of Burials contains information relating to about 2000 individuals. It is kept at Perth Crematorium, Crieff Road, Perth . Anyone wishing to refer to the register should first phone the crematorium and make an appointment (01738 446 865).

(b) Gravestone Inscriptions

A survey of the gravestones took place in 2004. All the written information was noted by W Drever and J Kennedy and typed out line by line, according to the arrangement of text on each stone. The information was also entered on to a computer database under the following headings or "fields": -

Stone Number
Row Code Letter
First name
Second name
Other Names
Date of Death
Month of Death
Age at Death
Abernethy Location
Other Location
Person Number

A map was made to accompany this survey. It helps to narrow down your search by fixing each row of stones to a letter code (A to Z) and by stating the gravestone numbers which each row contains. Note that this numbering system is different from the numbering system connected with the Burial Register.

The Churchyard contains about 300 stones, some of which are broken, badly weathered, or illegible. They give information relating to about 1000 individuals. An index of surnames has been created from the database, as well as other listings and graphs. Anyone wishing to locate names on gravestones should first refer to the surname index, which will reveal which stones contain a particular surname. Having located the position of the relevant stones on the map, the searcher should find it a simple matter to track down the actual stones in the graveyard.

It should be borne in mind that: -

  1. Not every death is recorded on a gravestone. Perhaps only about 50% in fact are thus recorded.
  2. Over time gravestones break and may be removed,
  3. Stones may contain information relating to persons buried not in this graveyard, but in foreign lands.