Copyright 2012 Keith & District Heritage Group. KDHG Scottish Charity Number SCO. 33492.
There are two cemeteries in Keith, the Old Cemetery down by the Auld Brig over the River Isla, and Broomhill Cemetery out the Banff Road from Keith.
KEITH OLD CEMETERY
The Old Cemetery of Keith is located down by the River Isla adjacent to the 400 year old Auld Brig. It's not entirely clear when it started to be used as a cemetery but some of the gravestones and some old drawings of the area show that it was in use in the 1600's. Since that time it has been remodelled and extended and in doing that some of the oldest stones have been moved from their original positions.
The burial records consist of three large books. The oldest and largest of these has the information "Begun on 1st January 1829" inside its front cover. The other two books have the starting dates of 1871 and 1885 embossed on their respective spines. The entries in these books were not created at the time of the burials, instead they were copied in the mid-1940's from the gravediggers record books. Because of this, small groups of entries are sometimes in the wrong date order and inevitably there will have been transcription errors at that stage.
In 2008/2009 the books were photographed and the information typed up in the form shown here. Again, whilst every care was taken to ensure accuracy it is inevitable that some errors will have crept in. It should be remembered that most of the burials recorded here would have taken place at a time when most of the families of the deceased and the officials involved would have been relatively poorly educated because the Scottish Education Act didn't come into effect until 1872. Presumably because of this the spelling of names varies considerably and in a single Lair you might see a surname evolve from McKonachie to McConachie and then to McConnachie. The writing in the books is usually very good indeed but the forming of some letters sometimes makes them difficult to decipher. For example, J and I, and o and a are often difficult to separate. Because of this, when you are searching for the name of an ancestor you should try various spellings and if that doesn't work try searching by date instead.
The cemetery was created in two stages. The oldest is the higher part. This is recorded in the 1829 book and is accompanied by a map which shows the position of the Lairs and gives the Lair number and the name of the original Lair owner. The lower part was opened in 1870 and it too has an accompanying map. However, this map shows only the Lair numbers.
Finally, be aware that not all Lairs have headstones, sometimes because there never was a headstone and sometimes because the headstone had been broken and later discarded by the cemetery authorities. In other cases the reverse will be true; there will be a headstone but if it records burials before 1829 there will be no burial record. Even when both burial records and headstone are available for a Lair the entries might not completely match up. For example, it is common for family members who have died in faraway places to be commemorated by entries on the headstone although they are not actually buried here.
To view the contents of the three books and their associated maps click on the headings below.
This burial record book was started in 1829 and is the first record of burials in the cemetery. The cemetery was used long before that date and some old grave stones mark much earlier burials. s far as is known no records of those burial exist. All the burials recorded in this book took place in the upper or raised part of the cemetery. It was the only Keith cemetery until the lower part of the cemetery was created in 1870 but burials continued to take place in the old part right into the 2000's, although at a gradually decreasing rate.
This shows a map of the old, upper part of the cemetery. It shows the position of the Lairs and gives the Lair number and the name of the original Lair owner.
This burial record book was started in 1871. All the burials recorded in this book took place in the lower part of the cemetery.
This burial record book was started in 1875. All the burials recorded in this book took place in the lower part of the cemetery.
This shows a map of the lower part of the cemetery created in 1870. It is not as detailed as the 1829 map and shows just the layout and the lair numbers.
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