A GROUP with a special link to Moray’s graveyards is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary.
Since 2003, the Moray Burial Ground Research Group (MBGRG) has recorded and photographed monumental inscriptions in churchyards across the area. Over the past decade, members have published – or assisted in publishing – 32 books documenting their work.
Many thousands of tombstones have been photographed thanks to the MBGRG volunteers.
And there is still work to do: out of some 70 sites in Moray with known recordable burials, there are nearly 40 still to record and publish.
The work provides a valuable resource to local historians, people researching their family history, and others interested in the history of their local area.
As well as recording visible tombstones, the group also search for those that are buried, many of which date back to the 1600s and 1700s. In doing so, they follow a strict methodology created in consultation with the Carved Stones Advisor Project and Historic Scotland.
That came about following the 2006 discovery of recycled table stones at Elgin Cathedral.
Speaking of the group’s achievements, chairman Keith Mitchell said: “The genealogical and historical value of what all our volunteers have amassed over the years is surely considerable.
“These published records at present contain in excess of 52,000 individual personal entries, and dataset abbreviations of these are logged into our MBGRG website for use on the internet.
“The overall value of these records can be perhaps best understood by the words of appreciation which frequently appear on our website guest book from various parts of the world, from people who recognize all the hard work our volunteers have put in over the years.”
The 10th year looks set to remain busy, with work continuing on Cullen Old Kirk, Elgin Cemetery (east section), Mortlach Church and Kirkmichael.
Anyone interested in becoming involved can visit the group’s website at www.mbgrg.org or contact field work co-ordinator Helen Mitchell on 01343 546620.
Alternatively, all are welcome to the anniversary AGM to find out more. It takes place on Sunday, March 24, in The Gallery, Elgin Library, from 2pm.
The guest speaker will be Lieutenant General Sir Alistair Irwin KCB CBE, vice-chairman of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, who will present an illustrated talk on ‘The History and Work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’. The event starts at 3pm and all welcome.