The burial registers provide detail on cause of death for each person, which is recorded under the field entitled ‘Disease’. In many of the older registers, the terminology used is archaic and it can be difficult to work out exactly what the cause of death was in modern terms.
Visit our glossary pages for more information about a number of the terms recorded as a cause of death in the burial registers:
- Bright’s Disease
- Mental Health
- Natural Decay
A list of all of the causes of death recorded in the registers is available to browse on the Leeds General Cemetery Burial Registers Index.
Records cover a historical period during which infant mortality was common. Babies and children dying in infancy were frequently buried together in common graves. Often these children will not have a name registered in the burial records. While this may be distressing from a modern perspective it is important to understand that it was traditional during the nineteenth century not to name a child publicly until there was a good chance of their surviving early infancy, a practice which continued in some quarters into the mid twentieth century.
Leeds Maternity Hospital
The first entry in the cemetery records which lists Leeds Maternity Hospital as the residence for the deceased dates from 12th June 1909. The majority of babies and infants who passed away at the hospital were buried in the Leeds General Cemetery. The entries for these burials in the records can be particularly distressing as they often detail multiple interments of babies who died in infancy in the same common grave and whose burials were undertaken by the hospital rather than by the families. For many of these entries the age of the individual may be in minutes or hours.
The records for Leeds Maternity Hospital are held by the West Yorkshire Archive Service