There are around 20,000 burials in the cemetery, most in unmarked graves, with around 3,500 marked by headstones. These date from the early memorials of the late 1840s to 1949, when the cemetery was declared full. Since then, the only new burials have been in family graves which have space remaining.
The cemetery land is divided into plots belonging to 10 modern parishes (the original number was 13 – see map) to the south and east of the River Cam, each allocated a specific area within the cemetery boundaries (see map). Generally, people were buried in the plot of the parish in which they worshipped or lived. However, specific graves can be difficult to locate, as some headstones are covered with thick undergrowth, brambles and ivy, or have tumbled over on to other plots.First steps
In 2001, the names and inscriptions on all the gravestones in the cemetery were recorded in the CFHS Survey of Monumental Inscriptions at the Parochial Burial Grounds, Mill Road, Cambridge
by Cambridgeshire Family History Society
(CFHS). You can access the survey free at Cambridgeshire Archives
in Cambridge. It is organised by parish, each with its own index, with an additional general index of names at the back, making it possible to find out in which parish area a person is buried. The CFHS also has a CD-Rom of Monumental Inscriptions for the City of Cambridge
(£12, available online) which includes the inscriptions and parishes of those buried in Mill Road Cemetery and elsewhere in Cambridge. Burial and grave registers
Even when the parish area of a particular grave is known, it can still be hard to locate. To find out the row and number of the grave, it can be helpful to consult the grave and burial registers, many of which are kept at Cambridgeshire Archives. Each parish continued to record burials in their burial registers, handwritten books organised by date. In addition, they kept registers of graves, arranged by plot, and divided according to the size of the area. Unfortunately, these are often badly written, incomplete, and do not use a standardised plot layout. They were not kept chronologically, so death dates are often difficult to determine. However, they can be helpful in pinpointing a grave site to within a few metres. References can be found in the Summary Guide to Parish Registers
. War graves
There are 38 war graves
in the cemetery. Those searching for relatives who died on active service during the two World Wars can also explore the registers of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
and the Cambridgeshire Family History Society.Cambridgeshire Archives
As well as the above documents, Cambridgeshire Archives
, at Shire Hall, Cambridge, also holds information about the history of the cemetery, including the minutes of the Cambridge Parish Burial Grounds Committee. You can visit and access records in person with a reader’s ticket. These are issued free of charge with proof of name and address (driver's licence, passport or utility bill). It is advisable to make an appointment before visiting. Can you help us?
There are many gaps in the parish grave and burial registers. For example, in the parish of St Andrew the Less, the burial registers stop at 1913, and no grave registers have yet been traced. Cambridgeshire Archives would welcome any burial records or cards relating to this section of Mill Road Cemetery. If you have any written information about someone buried in the cemetery, please contact Cambridgeshire Archives
For further information about searching for graves, contact the Federation of Family History Societies