Cemetery Recording Project Outline

Cem RecordingMission                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Version March 2022.0
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 Transcript Project (CTP)

For the last 20 years the cemetery DVD has been a major publication of the GSSA. However, “time stands still for no man”, and its popularity has been overtaken by the headstone photographs published free on line by the eGSSA. In addition, the DVD technology itself is being discarded, with many modern computers not having a DVD drive, and the GSSA has taken steps to publish this DVD data via the GSSA Webshop - Cemetery Transcript Project. The decision has therefore been taken to publish Version 20 as the final one in the series - our thanks are due to the hundreds of willing people who have participated in the recording, transcribing and publishing this over the last 20 years. RIP.

(The whole DVD 20 as at 30 November 2021 can be supplied as a download via item 99  of the Product list https://genza.org.za/index.php/en/gssa-products ).

The Cemetery Transcript Project (CTP) is part of the GSSA Webshop, where the data collected over the years on the DVD can be searched for free and selected data purchased on a token basis. As at 30 November 2021 it contained 951,452 names in 3196 cemeteries, and is updated on an ongoing basis. The Webshop is at https://www.genwebshop.co.za/

The CTP Data Coordinators are Peter and Beverley Moss: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
2. The eGSSA Gravestone Project
The eGSSA (the web-based Branch of the GSSA) publishes gravestone photos on the internet; these photo albums are searchable by name, cemetery etc. There is no charge for access. The albums presently contain over 906,000 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
BE AWARE that although names in the datasets do overlap, they are not identical and you should take care when doing a search to check BOTH datasets.
3.  Other features of interest are:
  • The GSSA webpage:
Please also visit the GSSA homepage www.genza.org.za for further information. Select the required tab for PROJECTS / GSSA Cemetery Recording Project. This 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 /  Cemetery DVD Updates and Reports. https://www.genza.org.za/index.php/en/cemetery-dvd-updates-a-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, http://www.genza.org.za/index.php/en/google-earth-cemetery-files  download the .kmz file and see our cemetery locations on a Google Earth platform. You will need Google Earth preloaded on your pc to view this file (free download from https://www.google.com/earth/
  • The GSSA 50k Cemetery Search Project
The 1:50000 topographical maps of SA show thousands of cemeteries marked as  “+”. Walter Smit, at the suggestion of Peter Silbernagl, has created a .kmz file of these points, also indexed by location and farm name. This .kmz file can be read using Google Earth, and clicking on the “+” mark opens a dialog box which gives farm name, GPS coordinates, etc.
The file is available via the GENZA webpage at https://genza.org.za/index.php/en/projects/cemetery-recording-project-begraafplaasprojek/google-earth-50k-cemproject
The “+” marks represented by the existing cemeteries “done” by the Cemetery Project have been deleted from this file, so when loaded into Google Earth the new image shows some 13000 previously unknown cemetery locations. This is ideal for planning cemetery recording.
You will need “Google Earth” preloaded on your computer to view this file (free download from https://www.google.com/earth/
  • About the Cemetery Index
The Cemetery Index is used to manage the recording effort and correlate data between the CTP 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 spreadheet format which saves time at our end) 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
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