As the smaller church cemeteries became full, during the nineteenth century, it became necessary to rethink the way in which burials within the city were managed.
In 1836, a 12-acre plot of land, just outside the city boundary and off Canning Street to the north of the Derby Road, was set aside as a General Cemetery for the surrounding area, and the first interment took place the following year. In 1856, a second 16 acre site was opened, to be known as the Church Cemetery, lying at the top of Forest Fields, near Hyson Green on the Mansfield road. A mortuary chapel was added to the Church Cemetery in 1879.
By 1881, nearly all burials in Nottingham took place within these two grounds. By 1912, the General Cemetery had expanded to 18 acres. The General Cemetery contains over 29,000 graves, and has seen upwards of 148,000 interments, with the last new grave dug in 1959 (some family graves are still in use). The Church Cemetery contains nearly 14,000 graves, and has seen over 44,000 interments with, again, some graves still in use. Many graves were communal graves, though a large number were purchased privately and used through the years for several members of the family. It is these latter graves which can be of most use to the family historian.
The Nottinghamshire Archive Office holds indexes to the interments, and the graves at both cemeteries. By consulting the surname index (entries are arranged chronologically under the first letter of the surname), the enquirer will find the grave number. The grave index will then show the interment numbers for the various people buried in that grave, which will then lead to the full interment certificates of those people. It is not unusual to find that several members of an extended family, spread across three or four generations, have been laid to rest together.