Information for researchers - burials

Entries are arranged in four sheets, one each for the 18th 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. All data within the spreadsheets has been derived from official paper-based Baptism, Marriage, Death, Dissenter and Stranger records (ledgers) held at the Northumberland Archives, Walkergate Building, Walkergate, Berwick. This in effect means that we have not seen the actual original documents unless otherwise stated. Thus, we have not had full access to the additional data these original documents may hold.

With reference to Burial data from 1995 to 2019, we have used the actual current Burial register held under guardianship of the St Helen’s Parish Church Warden (Mrs Susan Lindsay, Cornhill Farm, Main St, Cornhill).

Conventions used in transcription

All data has been replicated as stated within the aforementioned records including terminology and spelling, even where common sense would indicate that it is incorrect. The style and format of the official records has changed over the period of this database; therefore not all records carry the same level of information and detail.

All spelling within the official records is phonetic; therefore it is important to bear in mind that data such as surnames could have altered over the generations, e.g. Willson to Wilson, Wedderburn to Wetherburn, Broun to Brown. Further examples of surname variations include Nuton (Newton), Havery (Harvey), Archbold (Archbald), Dunkan (Duncan), Hogard (Hogarth), Grive (Grieve). There may be more, therefore it is suggested to try alternatives.

When using this database, you may need to alter your search parameters to take into account spelling anomalies/differences/variations across all data fields.

Where any of the fields has a value of ‘not recorded’ this means that that the official records did not detail this type of information.

For the period 1995 - 2019, although we have used the current Cornhill Burial Register, unfortunately due to the writing style, it has not been possible to transcribe the names of some of the 'Officiating Ministers with 100% certainty. Therefore, where the Officiating Minister's name is unclear we have deciphered the details as best we can and placed (stet) next to the entry.

Where the official records states the Burial Date as 'not buried' this generally means that the deceased ashes were scattered or placed as opposed to burial of the deceased’s body.

Date convention

Until 1752 the (Julian) calendar year ran from and to Lady Day, 25th March. For Burial data, any burial that took place between January and end March, the Burial will be recorded in the following years Burial record, e.g. a burial performed on 20 February 1725 will be recorded officially under the year 1726. For this record, we have recorded the Burial year using the modern day (Gregorian) calendar year (1 Jan to 31 Dec). Affected records are noted.

Where the address within the official record is unclear, the annotation against this entry will read ‘not recorded’. Scant address detail is held in most of the official records. Where an address is held, it has has been assumed that this was the place of residence of the deceased prior to death, unless otherwise stated.

From 1695 to 1797 only one date is recorded in the official record. For the purpose of this database it has been assumed that this is the burial date and not the date of death, unless otherwise stated.

Obsolete terms used in the registers

The term relict means ‘Widow of’
The terms late and heretofore usually indicate the maiden name of a female (the surname given at birth) but can also indicate the previous marital name of a woman married more than once.

Spelling variations

Where the official record has the Christian names of deceased or their relatives, the following has been assumed: Hen = Henry, Wm = William, Geo = George, Tho = Thomas, Pat = Patrick, Da = David, Eliz = Elizabeth, Robb = Robert, Jas = James.

Place names have altered somewhat over the years e.g. Twisil/Twisel/Twizell, Longrigg/Longridge, Chillinghame/Chillingham, Foord/Ford, Paston/Paxton, Monilaws/Moneylaws, Heton/Heaton, New Etill/New Etal.

Some definitions of 'Cause of Death' terminology found in the registers

  • Quincy (Quinsy) - an abcess of the throat, specifically a complication of tonsilitis
  • Fear of Thunder - an abnormal and persistent concern about thunder that triggers excessive anxiety
  • Chin Cough - also known as Whooping Cough (pertussis)
  • Consumption - An old and once common term for wasting away of the body particularly from pulmonary tuberculosis
  • Dropsy - An old term for swelling of soft tissues due to accumulation of excess water (oedema) usually caused by heart failure
  • Child Bed - death in child birth, often caused by excessive bleeding or infection.
  • lliac (ileus) passion - Partial or complete non mechanical blockage of small and/or large intestine.