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Close Look at Mount Carmel Registers

I'm a firm believer in taking the time to figure out a record set before diving in. Recently, I've been exploring the Mount Carmel Cemetery registers that are available on FamilySearch under the catalog title Interment Registers and Burial Logs, 1900-1955. This blog post will summarize what I've learned and suggest possible ways that the registers might be used.

The Four Types of Registers

Interment Registers: Chronological list of burials providing date, name of deceased, burial location, age, date of death, residence address, cause of death, clergy name, and remarks.

Burial Logs: Arranged chronologically with one page per day. Early registers list time, name, lot, location, box, and undertaker. Beginning in 1940, registers are titled "Funeral Order Register" and list time, deceased, description (lot, block, section), location, box, and notes. Name in "deceased" column may be lot owner. Relationship of deceased to lot owner may be indicated.

Lot Registers: Chronological list of purchasers arranged in alphabetical sections by first letter of surname.

Lot Owners Registers: Arranged by section and lot with chronological entries for lot owners showing interment dates; does not include names of deceased. There is some duplication (portions of Section O are repeated in two volumes, for example) and the dates given in the FamilySearch catalog aren’t particularly relevant.

I'm working on creating a key for my own use that might be helpful to others. It breaks down the catalog entries into register books and includes some information as to coverage to make it quicker to select the right volumes. It also includes direct links. The current version can be accessed here: Mount Carmel Cemetery Register Guide

Using the Registers for Research

So, how can we use these to answer research questions? Here are a few ideas:

Learn Burial Location: If we have a burial date, say from information found on a death record or in an obituary, we can check the interment register to learn where in the cemetery a person is buried. Knowing that Bruns Vidone was interred on 23 June 1924 makes it easy to find his name in an interment register. From the entry, we learn that he is buried in in Section 23, Block 6, Lot 23.

"Cemetery interment registers and burial logs, 1900-1955," digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 23 April 2019), path: 1924-1935, DGS 4372656 > image 811 of 833, Mount Carmel Cemetery (Hillside, Illinois) interment register, 1919-1924, p. 382.

Learn Who is Buried in a Lot: Now that we have Bruno's burial location, we can use the section, block, and lot to consult a lot owners register to see if anyone else is buried with him. These volumes are arranged by section, block, and lot numbers and there appears to be some overlap. We can check the key that I've been working on, make an educated guess, and then take a look to see if we've picked the right volume. If so, great. If not, we'll try again.

In the case of Bruno, we're looking for Section 23, Block 6. I'm going to guess it's in the volume that begins with Section 21, Block 1 because the next volume begins with Section 25, Block 1. From the image below, we see that his grave is owned by Alfred Vidone and that only one burial has been recorded for the lot and the date matches information for Bruno. It's unlikely he is buried with family members, but it is very likely he is connected to Alfred. If we don't know what their relationship is, that might be a starting point for further research.

"Cemetery interment registers and burial logs, 1900-1955," digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 23 April 2019), path: Vol. 10 ca. 1926-1954, DGS 4371547 > image 541 of 812, Mount Carmel Cemetery (Hillside, Illinois) lot owners register beginning Section 21, Block 1, 221.
On the next page of the volume, Lot 28 belonging to Otto Westphal is shown with two burials.

"Cemetery interment registers and burial logs, 1900-1955," digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 23 April 2019), path: Vol. 10 ca. 1926-1954, DGS 4371547 > image 542 of 812, Mount Carmel Cemetery (Hillside, Illinois) lot owners register beginning Section 21, Block 1, 222.

To find out who was buried in the lot, we locate the dates noted in the lot owners register in the interment registers. For example, William O. Westphal, age 1 year, 11 months, 21 days, was buried in Section 23, Block 6, Lot 28 on 7 July 1924. 

"Cemetery interment registers and burial logs, 1900-1955," digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 23 April 2019), path: 1914-1924, DGS 4372655 > image 811 of 833, Mount Carmel Cemetery (Hillside, Illinois) interment register, 1919-1924, p. 384.

Go the Extra Mile: Another avenue for research is to use the lot registers--a chronological list of purchasers divided up by first letter of surname--to look to see if a family member purchased grave(s) during a particular time period. For example, I am searching for death information for an older Italian woman who was living with her daughter in 1920 in Chicago and then disappears. The most likely scenario is that she died before 1930 in Chicago but no amount of creative searching has turned up a death certificate. Her husband was buried at Mount Carmel and it seems like this woman would have been interred there, too. 

We could look through the interment registers to see if her name is there, but looking through the lot registers to see if a family member purchased a grave during the decade is also a possibility. Her husband is buried in a single grave purchased at the time of his death by a son, so it's possible this woman would also be in a single grave purchased when she died.

Now, I hear what you're saying. Why not just check Mount Carmel Cemetery, Hillside, Illinois interment records, 1900-1987, the handy-dandy card index that's also available on FamilySearch? Been there, done that. With no luck. So, in this case, where I'm having absolutely no luck, I want to turn over every stone available in Chicago before I start to brainstorm other death and burial places.

Exploring these registers has been an education--one that I should be able to put to good use as other projects point me to Chicago Catholic cemeteries.

If you use these registers for your own research, add a comment. I'd love to hear about your experiences using the records.


Annie in Austin said…
I've have quite a few family members buried at that cemetery and have had some luck using these records but I found them from entering names into FamilySearch. I haven't yet gone that Extra Mile ... I appreciate your detailed post!

One thing I ran into was what looked like the reburial of a child who had been interred separately in another part of the cemetery, then moved to join his mother in a family group at a later date.

Annie. I'm glad you posted! A few times as I was writing, I thought about adding an of-course-some-of-these-records-are-indexed-so-try-that-first sentence -- but forgot. :)

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