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Can't bury my mum, as nobody knows grave owner.

84 replies

NameChangedForTheDay · 09/12/2019 12:09

Hi all,

Not a AIBU, but shamelessly posting for traffic.

My mum died in April. She always said that when she died, she wanted to be cremated and returned to Liverpool and be buried in the same plot as her own mother.

I spoke to the cemetery. I learn that there's actually six people in that plot, including my mum's grandmother and some of grandmother's maternal family.

The issue I have is the cemetery has no record of who owns the plot and I need their permission to inter my mum's ashes. All they could give me was the address of the last person buried there in 2000. Sadly nobody by that family name lives at that address any more.

So I contacted the council, but they don't own the cemetery and told me to contact the Catholic burials phone number. But they have no record of who owns the plot either.

They did give me the name of the funeral directors that did the burial in 2000, but the funeral directors don't have records that far back.

I've also posted on a FB group in the area where the chap who died in 2000 lived, appealing for any of his family to come forward. So far, no replies.

Has anyone had this situation, or similar?

Is there anything else I can try?

My mum and I really didn't get on and weren't talking when she died due to alcoholism, but I do want to fulfill her final wish still.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

PrittSticky · 09/12/2019 12:12

Could you scatter the ashes over the grave?


NameChangedForTheDay · 09/12/2019 12:13

You still need permission for that @prittsticky

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littlepaddypaws · 09/12/2019 12:15

i'd scatteron the grave or dig a small hole for them on the grave and plant some bulbs or wintering pansies, that justifies you digging then.


littlepaddypaws · 09/12/2019 12:17

name who would know though ? once they are scattered you can hardly remove them without taking grass / soil and that might need permission too.
there is the thing to consider that the ownwer might be dead as well, chicken and egg.


NameChangedForTheDay · 09/12/2019 12:18

@littlepaddypaws it'd be hard to do that without being caught. Also it would mean no service for the interrment, or plaque / stone, which my family do want. :(

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NameChangedForTheDay · 09/12/2019 12:20

@littlepaddypaws the grave ownership just passes to another family member, so hopefully someone who owns it is alive. :)

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GlamGiraffe · 09/12/2019 12:20

I think @PrittSticky has a great idea. It meas you cannot put a plaque or stone up, but if this foesnt matter and it's just a case of fulfilling your mums wishes, that's the way to go. Ashes can be sprinkled anywhere, no permission is needed. (If some got buried whilst you were found doing a bit of grave gardening and maintenance, that's just a coincidence 😉).


GlamGiraffe · 09/12/2019 12:21

Crossed thread. Internet searches of the family name of last known owners in the area?


GlamGiraffe · 09/12/2019 12:22

Which area?


NameChangedForTheDay · 09/12/2019 12:23

@GlamGiraffe that's true I guess. But it will all feel a bit flat, no service, no stone, 20 people looking dodgy while fulfilling her wishes. Guess I might not have any other choice though. :(

Was hoping someone might have more ideas on how to trace owners, before we do a reenactment of The Great Escape, like when they are surreptitiously scattering the earth!!

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fascicle · 09/12/2019 12:25

Could you search will and probate records for the person buried in 2000 and find out who dealt with their estate? Might be a route to finding out the information you need:


NameChangedForTheDay · 09/12/2019 12:25

@GlamGiraffe I have access to the electoral register and have searched, it's difficult to find any family as the last person buried has a common first name and surname.

I guess I could help at write to all of them that have that same name in the same area of Liverpool.

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NameChangedForTheDay · 09/12/2019 12:26

@fascicle Ooh. Thank you. Will do that now.

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TreeMenDos · 09/12/2019 12:26

A few weeks ago a man next to my nanas grave was digging a small hole and putting ashes in.

He said he wasn't pay hundreds to do it properly.
We agreed it was absurd and that was that.

I would do the same tbh.


Clangus00 · 09/12/2019 12:27

To be honest, I think I’d do what @littlepaddypaws suggests too.


DontCallMeShitley · 09/12/2019 12:27

Use Google and search obituaries and death notices, also use the websites that have any kind of family history on, there are many more than you think once you get started. Sometimes you can find the family members if the person you want is deceased.

Also search probate listings as they give you details you may not find otherwise. If I find the ones I used I will come back and update.


Dowser · 09/12/2019 12:30

Yes I’d go for the putting ashes in the grave with a few bulbs in there.


Dontsweatthelittlestuff · 09/12/2019 12:31

Is the graveyard attached to a church?
If so could you try talking to the parish priest. Ash if if he will say something at mass one Sunday as maybe one of the older parishioners will remember the family.


Dowser · 09/12/2019 12:34

My cousin arrived out of the blue , as he does, asking for a trowel to bury his mum in his grandmothers grave.
Apparently the cemetery wanted x number of pounds so him and his brother did it themselves..with my trowel
I just happen to live in close vicinity of the cemetery and his brother came from Canada and I’m not sure where he was from..he has form for doing this lol.


Singletomingle · 09/12/2019 12:34

So as I understand no one actually knows who owns the plot, so if great uncle Norman turns up and says he is the plots owner and of course it can be used there would be no problem?


Toddlerteaplease · 09/12/2019 12:38

If it's a catholic cemetery, could you try the Archdiocesan archives?


Toddlerteaplease · 09/12/2019 12:38

Presuming that old parish records will be stored there.


Aycharow · 09/12/2019 12:40

I agree with another poster. Since you have the name of the person last buried there, perhaps you could search the death notices in the local paper, and if you have the date of burial, there could well be annual 'in memoriam notices in the local papers as well. That could give you a lead to the names of surviving relatives.

Alternatively, contact your local family history society - they may have records, you never know.


IfWishesWereFishes · 09/12/2019 12:41

My cousin took his sister's ashes to the cemetery and put them next to their mum's grave without permission (actually he sneaked them back from abroad on a flight first). They go yearly and have a little gathering on her birthday. Nobody would know if you did it; who is going to be any the wiser?


NameChangedForTheDay · 09/12/2019 12:41

@Dontsweatthelittlestuff regarding the priest. Great idea. Thank you.

@Singletomingle I like your thinking, but the owner has a deeds document I believe.

@Toddlerteaplease I spoke someone within archdiocese this morning, they said they have no record! I don't see how.

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