For those searching for information on Jewish burials, the lack of a central database recording details of some 88,000 Jews who now lie buried under Australian soil has posed a significant challenge.
There are 300 burial sites ranging from single graves in lonely outposts to over 21,000 graves at Rookwood NSW.
Australian Jewish Historical Society (AJHS) has taken on the task of consolidating as much information as possible in one large searchable database.
The basis of this database has been the work carried out over a period of 28 years in the late 20th Century, by Beverley Davis OAM and previously available at bd-bd.info.
Beverley, with the support of Society members, built an invaluable online resource the Beverley Davis Burial Data Collection known as the BD-BD. Beverley transcribed over 40,000 Jewish headstones and burial records from cemeteries in Australia and New Zealand, plus Australian War graves overseas. Today this collection is over 82,250 records and is still growing.
Sometimes, there are discrepancies between the information provided by Chevrei Kadisha and the family’s inscription on the headstone. In this case, both are recorded.
Given the vast amount of information, we have created some different viewing options to suit different search requirements.
‘Quick Reference’ view minimises the number of columns and therefore scrolling. It’s ideal for searching for basic information about an individual. Each record also has a ‘View’ button which enables you to see all the information extracted from the table about a single entry on one screen.
‘Inscription’ view where you can easily see and search through the inscriptions on headstones where available.
‘Mobile Reference” view is for users of personal electronic devices with limited screen space and just shows name and cemetery. Again using the ‘View’ button takes you to the full information on that burial
‘Detailed’ view presents all the information in a table format providing the extensive search options on all fields.
We welcome corrections and additional information and will incorporate these in subsequent updates. You can use the Suggested Edits feature button on the far right of the screen to send details including additional relevant images. If you are referencing a particular person, it is best to do this when you are viewing the single page view, which you do by clicking on the view button on the far left of any entry in the tables.
If you would prefer personal information currently being displayed for a direct relative be removed, please use the ‘Suggested Edits’ button on the right of the screen. Please provide your contact information, the records to be removed and the reasons.
Please click on the headings below for more information pertaining to some of the columns, to assist in your understanding of the logic used to develop the database and help with your research.
The database may be sorted by any field(s). Each field is text searchable using ‘magnifying glass’ filters at the top of each column.
Full Names are displayed on the View screen in the format Surname, (Honorific), Given Name, (Post Nominal)
e.g. JOEL, The Hon Sir Asher KBE AO
Names are in separate columns for Surname and Given. In addition, the Detailed Table includes fields for Honorifics and Post Nominals.
Generally these are alternate spelling and versions of names, or nicknames.
Contains maiden names and former names before Anglicisation or name change.
Transcriptions include Hebrew names in Roman text, relevant dates and genealogical information. We have attempted to be as accurate as possible, but many older headstones are faded or damaged and inscriptions may be incomplete or incorrectly transcribed. Sometimes, there are discrepancies between the information provided by Chevrei Kadisha and the family’s inscription on the headstone. In this case, both are recorded.
Gender has been specified either where known or where gender can be deduced from the English given name e.g. David and Michael are assumed male; Susan and Edith are assumed female. Hebrew names are gender specific i.e. ben indicates son e.g. Shmuel ben Moshe is male; or batindicates daughter e.g. Rivka bat Avraham is female.
In cases where the given name is unknown or not commonly in use in English, we have left the field blank.
Similarly many names today are not definitively male or female e.g. Alex. These have also been left blank if there is no other indication of gender such as an inscription on the headstone referring to husband of.
We have gathered information from multiple sources. In many cases, the information about a burial is a composite from multiple sources. If an explanation is required for the source of any burial record please contact AJHS via the Suggested Edits message form including the ID number shown on the View screen to identify the particular record.
e.g. BD is from the original Beverley Davis Burials Database (BD-BD)
SCK is Sydney Chevra Kadisha
SCK201812 is extracted from Sydney Chevra Kadisha Dec 2018.
AJHS appreciates the contributions of many Chevrei Kadisha and individuals in providing burial information. A few of the major source contributions are from BD (the original Beverly Davis list), MCK (Melbourne Chevra Kadisha), SCK (Sydney Chevra Kadisha) , Rook (Jewish Cemetery Trust Rookwood), ES (Emanuel Synagogue).
For many records we only have partial dates or approximated years. To allow researchers to specify a date range for searches or to sort on dates requires a complete date including day and month even when not known. In keeping with common practice, Jan is inserted if the month is unknown and 1st if the day is unknown., Births shown as 1st January should especially be treated with caution.
Cemetery Naming, Cemetery Code and Cemetery Group
We have tried to standardise on naming cemeteries first by city/suburb and state and then by common name
e.g. Centennial Park in Adelaide is listed as Adelaide SA, Centennial Park
Often there are multiple cemeteries with different names within a commonly used name for a cemetery area
e.g. N08 Raphaels Ground
N11 Rookwood Old
N12 Rookwood Jewish
are all consolidated into the Cemetery Group N11 Rookwood
While this database focuses on burials in Australia, on occasion Australian Chevrei Kadisha prepare remains for interment overseas. As these records may be included in the information provided, we have incorporated this data where available. The country where known appears in the field Cemetery Country. The Cemetery Country field can also be searched for overseas military burials of Australians who died in action during the Boer War, the Great War and WWII.
This data has been extracted from the inscription on the headstone.
e.g. Daughter of Lewis & Selah [Celia] (nee Beer), Wife of Benjamin Ernest
Exhumations and reburials of whole cemeteries in central city locations occurred when early colonial period cemeteries were cleared for reuse for other purposes, such as at Devonshire Street Cemetery (Sydney), Queen Street Victoria Markets (Melbourne) and Harrington Street Cemetery (Hobart). Notes on these are in the Transfer Notes field, often with duplicated records for the cemeteries of the initial burial and of the later reburial. Exhumations and reburials were at times also arranged from regional non-Jewish cemeteries to the more major Jewish cemeteries in cities.
For internal administrative purposes only.
This is a unique identifier which is a composite of the first two letters of surname plus first letter of given name plus date of death or date of funeral if date of death is unavailable. The date are in reverse format (YYYYMMDD).
An optional A or B is appended if there have been multiple interments.
e.g. AAJ18651204A for Aarons, Joseph who died on 4-Apr-1865 and was reinterred from Devonshire St to Raphaels Ground.
If you have some additional information (including any images or documents you wish to submit) or would like to suggest some edits to an existing entry, please complete the details below.