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National Burial Ground Survey

Here's a full progress report on the National Burial Ground Survey (NBGS) project within the Diocese of Ely.


The National Burial Ground Survey project was announced by the Church of England in September 2021. The Diocese of Ely signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which gave endorsement for AG Intl Ltd to survey each churchyard, photograph all visible memorials and digitise current and archived parish registers, where the individual parish consented. The results will be connected to the Church Heritage Record and all of this will be carried out free of charge to the church.

Following launch events in Spring last year, AG have been collecting consent from each PCC to take part. Unfortunately, to date, only 18% of the Diocese of Ely have responded to our communications and so we hope to hear back from more parishes before progressing.

If your PCC has not yet provided consent, please complete the e-form here: Without this consent from each PCC, we are, unfortunately, unable to include your church in the project.

Recent Updates

There have been some significant improvements to the project of late, which may be of interest:

Firstly, AG Intl Ltd are no longer in partnership with Family Search; all of the work is now being managed by AG Intl Ltd, with no involvement from Family Search.  Secondly, following feedback from parishes across the country, the original subscription model has been reviewed and parishes will now be able to access extensive functionality free of charge – only the highest-level functionality will remain covered by a subscription (for example, using the system to record health and safety inspections of memorials). This means that the list of tools which will be freely available to parishes has now been extended to include many more basic map features, free of charge, without the need to subscribe. This includes allowing parishes to add new burial, baptism and marriage records (where applicable), add new memorials and associated photographs, record reservations, enter full memorial inscriptions and record biodiversity free of charge upon map publication and a subscription will no longer be necessary for this access. A user guide and support will be available upon publication.

An example of a completed Burial Ground Management System (BGMS) can be found here: This example is from outside Ely Diocese, but to the same specification. This is a public-version, so parishes will have more functionality than is available in this example.

Benefits of Opting In

The NBGS will:

  • provide a detailed, up-to-date and accurate on-screen churchyard map showing the location of each memorial, the footprint of the main church building and other details such as trees, paths, buildings and benches
  • provide parishes with a highly efficient tool to help manage their churchyards and maintain their burial records, with all record data integrated with the precise geographic location of matching memorials
  • help visitors to find their relatives' graves – for older enquiries, the PCC will be able to share a public link to the map for the general public to search for information themselves; for more recent enquiries the PCC will be able to conduct a simple search to find all the relevant information in one place at the click of a button, saving time on responding to genealogy requests
  • mean parish registers are backed up safely and securely and ensure all records and information are of a consistent standard across the Church of England
  • provide information for faculty applications and churchyard management plans, including the ability to export copies of the map for printing
  • enable measurements of distance and area, which can help when managing maintenance contracts or planning for future projects at the church (both inside and outside)
  • help parishes manage future burials and provide confidence about the reservation of grave spaces
  • help with management of the biodiversity of churchyards
  • become a tremendous asset to schools, education and research.

More information

You can find more information about the National Burial Grounds Survey and the other work  of AGIL here: (new website launching soon).

Page last updated: Wednesday 24th April 2024 10:36 AM
First published on: 19th April 2024
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