Due to the immense success of Black Country Churchyards and numerous requests for photographs from churchyards throughout the Black Country region, this second churchyards website was established in April 2009. This has provided additional webspace and in combination with our Black Country Cemeteries website, there are now over 2000 images of headstones and graves online. Unfortunately, we are unable to display all the images because web space on the sites is limited and costs now run into thousands of pounds for which we receive no financial assistance.
We have a database which is an ongoing project in respect of over 15000 photographs we hold of the graves in Churchyards and Cemeteries of the Black Country. There are only three of us working on this project, and updates are made quarterly. (Please see the 'Database Subscription' page for full details). Please note that we will also provide copies of the Burial Records from the microfilmed copies of the original 'Burial Registers' if you have subscribed to the Database and find one or more of your ancestors. Please note that most of the photographs include the area around the grave as we do not believe in cropping the image - it also helps to locate a grave if you are able to visit the Churchyard or Cemetery.
This website will continue to be updated so please check back soon. Details of the latest updates appear below.
We wish to thank everyone who has contacted us about Black Country Churchyards and for all the kind comments. Please keep in touch with us either by using the Email Form or by sending an email to: email@example.com
We are now approaching 5000Black Country images available for viewing across our seven websites which are listed below. The six websites have been online for less than 3 years but we have already received over 32000 visits across all websites in this very short period of time. Each of the websites rank highly in Google, with the exception of www.blackcountrywarmemorials.co.uk which will be online by 8 July 2011.
This website is dedicated to providing a free resource for anyone researching their family history and who may have ancestors who died in the Black Country.
We have visited many of the churchyards and cemeteries in the area over the past two years and have a wealth of information, having undertaken the task of photographing the headstones in order to preserve the inscriptions upon them. Not all the stones in a churchyard can be photographed because the inscriptions are illegible. Many of the headstones have been damaged by vandals, many are falling into disrepair due to erosion of the stone through the effects of the weather over the years and many are suffering subsidence caused by tree roots and ground movement. Additionally, headstones which are broken, fall over and become buried and overgrown as some of the photographs show. Unfortunately, stone is not permanent and neither are the inscriptions so the phrase 'etched in stone' is a fallacy as far as monumental inscriptions are concerned.
We also have to take into account the fact that many of our beautiful churches have already been closed and many more face closure. Stones are also removed from a burial ground because the land is being re-developed, or because it makes the churchyard easier to maintain (this is also evident from the photographs on this website).
In addition to this, we understand that many of the grave mounds can be levelled if they are no longer tended, as can the tombstones and kerbstones with inscriptions. However, it is our understanding that a plan of the churchyard should be prepared with the individual graves marked and numbered upon it together with a list giving details of the interments recorded by each memorial.
The three photographs above are an example from a churchyard we visited in 2009 - they display a total disregard for our ancestor's resting places. These stones all bear legible inscriptions but they have been removed and discarded amongst a mound of rubble. We will not name the church but are concerned that headstones that are not even 100 years old, are being destroyed. If you look closely at the second photograph, you can see the headstones peering out above the rubble and branches. We have also been informed that when old graves are no longer tended, some churchyards/cemeteries have the headstones buried and the ground re-seeded!
There are an immense number of graves which portray the circumstances which prevailed in the early 19th century, for example. Large families were extremely common in the Black Country and housing conditions were predominantly poor. Cholera had a massive impact on the area in 1832 when hundreds of people died. The worst affected areas were Dudley, Tipton and Brierley Hill. The Dudley Board of Health put out a notice on 1 September 1832 that on the following day, Sunday, no one who had died of Cholera would be allowed to be buried in either of the Burial Grounds of St Thomas or St Edmund because they were so full. Those who died from Cholera after that date had to be buried in common graves on the north east side of Church Hill, Netherton. No records were kept for these mass burials.
We hope, with the help of others, to provide a lasting memory of our ancestors for present and future generations. We also hope that someone looking at this website may see a photograph relating to a grave in respect of one of their ancestors which otherwise, they may not have been aware of. We will not, however, provide any information that will identify a living relative because we respect your privacy. Additionally, we do not publish photographs of graves that are less than 50 years old unless it has relevance to relatives buried in that grave at an earlier date.
Our aim is, and always has been, to reunite families with their loved ones. However, we can no longer absorb the costs of running these websites and are relying on income from the 'Database' to enable our work to continue because there is nothing like this for the Black Country anywhere else on the Internet. We therefore hope that you will support us because our ultimate aim is to photograph every memorial in our churchyards. (With reference to requests for information from Burial Registers, please see the 'Important Information' page).
We have a vast amount of photographs and information to assist you with your research - the pages available on this website reflect only a few of the photographs we have for each churchyard. Please therefore consider a subscription to the database.
News and Update July 2011.
New content added. 'Database Subscription Page'. July Quarter Edition available by Subscription. April Quarter Edition available to view or download.
Update to 'Links'. New link added in respect of an excellent website for Canadian Headstones.
'Urgent Appeal, St John the Evangelist, Dudley'. New Page. See Flyer below.
Please note that the research we have carried out in respect of the families relating to each Monumental Inscription, is copyright of Black Country Genealogy and Family History and Black Country Churchyards. This may be used for your own personal family history. No part of our research may be used for any other purpose.
Copyright re Website and Photographs:
The design, layout and content of this website is copyright of www.blackcountrychurchyards.com (unless otherwise stated) and may not be copied in full or part. Please note that the images are copyright protected by either Black Country Churchyards or the owners whose names appear where relevant. Under no circumstances may these images be displayed on another publicly available website. Legal action may be taken if any content from this website appears on another website or in any other form of media without our express permission.