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Cemetery Recording Project

Logo 21 Sep 2017

The Genealogical Society of SA

                                                        Cemetery Recording Project Outline 
                                                                                                  March 2018



 To preserve the genealogical information contained in cemeteries of South African interest and make the information accessible to genealogical researchers.

Scope and objectives of the project

• The Project is an initiative of the Genealogical Society of South Africa , a non-profit organisation manned by volunteers
• The aim is to preserve information by the collecting, recording, processing and safekeeping of cemetery data. This is achieved by recording  the genealogical information, including birth, death and burial data plus any personal historical data (e.g. occupation,  marriage or any other family relationships) contained in the cemetery data.
• The data is collected from all cemetery type sources, including headstones, burial registers, memorials and cremation plaques.
• The project covers all cemetery data of South African interest, inside and outside of South Africa.
• A prime focus of the Project is the collection of information from the very many farm cemeteries that exist throughout SA. These have no burial registers and the headstones are more subject to neglect and damage than the town cemeteries (which are also under    threat).
• Credit and acknowledgement will be given to Recorders.


The Project is organised in two parts:

1             The GSSA Cemetery DVD Project

The DVD Project transcribes name information from various sources (headstones, memorials, registers etc) and publishes this annually as an Index in DVD form. The Index is searchable by name, cemetery etc; DVD 16 published in March 2018 contains 929,529 names from 3011 cemeteries.
In addition to Cemetery Recording efforts at the various GSSA Branches, we have a large number of individuals who record data and assist with data processing.
The DVD can be ordered from the GSSA at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , OR on-line via the eGSSA web page - enter the Shop, go to Original Records, select item (Cemetery Recording Project DVD edition 16 (2018)
The DVD Data Coordinators are Peter and Beverley Moss: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Work is in progress re publishing the DVD data on line.

2             The eGSSA Cemetery Photo Project


The eGSSA (the web-based Branch of the GSSA) publishes headstone photos on the internet; these photo albums are searchable by name, cemetery etc. There is no charge for access. The albums presently contain over 732,000 photos, with many more photos still to be processed.
Riana le Roux can be contacted at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. please request postal address
• The eGSSA library web page is at:
• Search albums for Names at
• Search albums for Cemeteries at
• The eGSSA also publishes Church BMD (Births, Marriage and Death) data, this information can be found at the link
• Instructions for photographing headstones are at the link



The GSSA webpage Other Project features of interest are: 

Please also visit the GSSA homepage  for further information. Select the required tab for PROJECTS / Cemetery Project. 
The DVD Project area contains various reports giving the status of the cemetery recording effort, which cemeteries have been recorded, etc. This cemetery recording status is recorded in excel files on the web page, go to Projects / Cemetery Recording /  Cemetery DVD Updates and Reports.  These files are updated monthly.

  • The GSSA Google Earth Cemetery Initiative

Explore the GSSA cemetery locations live on line! Visit the GSSA web page and click on GSSA Google Earth Cemetery Initiative, 
where we display our cemetery locations on a Google Earth platform. You will need “Google Earth” preloaded on your pc to view this (free download from

  • About the Cemetery Index

The Cemetery Index is used to manage the recording effort and correlate data between the DVD and eGSSA projects. It contains 3 main areas:
1.       Cemetery names, including CemID, where we use the farm name / number as found on the 1:50000 maps of SA. There can be more  than 1 cemetery location on a farm (see 3.)
2.       Documents, including DocID, which tracks recorder and submitter names, dates entered, etc. There can be many documents for a single cemetery, due to revisions, updates etc..
3.       Cemetery locations, including GPSID, which contains the GPS coordinates, links to eGSSA photo albums, etc, and provides    data for the Google Earth Cemetery Initiative. There can be multiple cemetery locations on a farm.





Cemetery Locations


  • Recording – please help

We request that recorders send in headstone photos, or provide a transcript of the headstone information (preferably in our standard excel format which saves time at our end, now included in the DVD), and also provide GPS coordinates with a view photo of the Cemetery.
Photos can be saved on DVD and posted to us, but we encourage the use of Dropbox which is much quicker and easier.
If you are interested in helping with photographing and transcription of Cemetery Registers, or addition of captions to headstone photographs, please contact Peter Moss at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Riana le Roux at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
If you are interested in helping with recording work, data processing or any other aspect of the Project, please contact the Coordinators noted above for further information.


                                            Thank you for your interest
                                         The Cemetery Recording Team