How to find a grave

Written by Jan Clark (2022)

This is a brief guide on how to find out whether someone may be buried in Reading Old Cemetery.

The following notes assume that you have some basic information about the person you’re searching for: their full name, their date of birth, the year they died and possibly their address.

If you don’t have all of this information you can refer to online records such as census returns on or

These and the records detailed below are held by the Berkshire Family History Society. The Berkshire Family History Centre is located on the second floor of Reading Central Library and is free to visit and use whether or not you are a member.  The current opening hours are Mondays and Tuesdays, 11 am – 2.30 pm.  Full details of their opening hours and other information can be found on their website.

If you want to undertake research from home, Berkshire Family history society sells copies of transcribed burial records from the cemetery. There are records both the consecrated and non-consecrated sections from 1843 (when the cemetery opened) to 1959.   Each one covers a specific period.  

They can only be used by you and are accessed using your email address each time.  Burials are arranged both alphabetically and by year. Each entry has the full name, age at death, date of burial and address. The information will not tell you in which kind of grave the person was buried or its location or plot number. 

However, Berkshire Family History Society also sells a CD and a download of a record of inscriptions on memorials in Reading Old Cemetery. This contains an alphabetical list of surnames which you have to use to locate the possible section where the grave is. The CD/download has a map of the sections/divisions in the cemetery – which is also on display in the one of the noticeboards at the cemetery. You then have to check and read each entry for the surname to try and locate the person – so, you do need patience and perseverance!

Other helpful resources sold by Berkshire Family History Society include: Burial Records (13th Edition).

A project is currently ongoing to locate at least some of the many hundreds of ‘pauper burials’ in Reading Old Cemetery.  These are burials in common or public graves for which no headstone or other memorial was permitted. This project is in its very early stages and so far it’s only the burial records of those buried from the workhouse who it can be said with a fair degree of certainty would have had a pauper burial. 

Many other people were buried in common graves including stillborn and very young babies. There is one area in the unconcreted section and one in the consecrated section. At present we know approximately where these areas are in the cemetery.

Members of the group are willing to try to help if you’re looking for a particular grave and know its approximate location.

If you are trying to find a First World War grave – visit Cemetery Junction War Graves website

Copyright – Friends of Reading Old Cemetery 2022.