Unlucky in my search for graves

In my search for graves I have had mixed results when I arrive at the cemetery or graveyard as to whether I will find the plot I am looking for.

My first unsuccessful find is my great-grand uncle William Rogers. The information I received from a relative on Ancestry said that he had died in February 1939 and that he was buried in Canford Cemetery.

One visit to the Canford Cemetery office later, I now know that the grave is located within the V section, which has been designated as their wildlife, and as such is cleared less often.

Using the provided map I believe I located the area the grave is in, but I couldn’t find a headstone. There was some nearby, but they were covered in thick brambles and I was unable to locate William’s grave.

On the same trip to the Canford Cemetery offices I enquired about the grave of my two-times great-grandparents George and Mary Rogers buried at Greenbank Cemetery.

Upon arrival at Greenbank Cemetery I aimlessly wandered around until I phoned the ground keeper who helped me find the location of the grave. It was at this point I was told that in this part of the cemetery many of the graves had the headstones removed.

Location of the grave of George and Mary Rogers, Greenbank Cemetery

Back home I sent off an email Canford Cemetery Offices asking what had happened to the headstone, and this was their response:

For certain sections where all graves were out of their lease, masonry was removed and disposed of, and a log was taken of the details of what was present on the grave. In this instance there was not a headstone on the grave at the time of the removals, but there was a marble kerbset, a marble ashler, four posts, a vase, and a broken concrete base. There was no inscription recorded on any of the masonry.

In a later email I was told that “the last time these removals took place was in the late 1980s”. Great, almost 40 years too late!

My final grave hunt was for my three-times great-grandparents George and Elizabeth Lambourne. I had found a source saying that they were buried in St. Mary’s Church in Shirehampton.

As the church is only a 5 minute drive from where I live I thought I would go down and search the graveyard.


I emailed the church office asking if they had any information about the grave I was looking for, and this was their response:

I have checked the names provided below and have discovered that your ancestors are certainly buried here.

Back in 1928 the church building was burnt down and a new building was built, which was completed and dedicated in January 1930. As the parish had grown substantially since the times of the original building, a larger church was built, at a different angle to the original building. This unfortunately meant that some graves were covered over by the building, and some gravestones were moved.

Your ancestors , among others, are now buried beneath this church and are commemorated in our Memorial Chapel. The names of all those whose graves are beneath the church are engraved in a memorial there. I have just found your ancestors’ names on that memorial.

I have just taken a photo of the memorial and a closer one of their names, since I expect this will be of interest to you. It is really sunny here at the moment, so there is some reflection coming through the Memorial Chapel window that is affecting the quality of the photos. If you would like me to try again and send other photos through, please let me know and I will try again on another day.

St. Mary’s Church Memorial Chapel

What a result, I now know for certain that my ancestors are buried there and why I couldn’t find the grave

So far these have been the only times I’ve not been able to find a grave, but the further back I go the more unlikely I will be able to find the graves I am looking for.

Visiting the grave of Frederick and Eliza. Ann Lambourne

In this video I am at Shirehampton Cemetery to visit the grave of my two-times great-grandparents Frederick and Eliza Ann Lambourne.

Frederick was born in 1871 to George and Elizabeth Lambourne, he was the youngest of three children.

Eliza Ann Lambourne, née Butcher, was born in 1876 she was the second child of eight children born to Henry and Sarah Butcher.

In 1898 Frederick married Elizabeth Butcher, and by 1920 had seven children. Sadly their third child, George Henry died in 1914 aged 8 years.

More details about Frederick’s life can be found here.