Simeon Street entrance to Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch, NZ

Simeon Street entrance to Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch, NZ

While I was in Christchurch last June for the NZSG conference, I was determined to finally discover the resting place of my 2 x great grandfather, Martin Burke.  (There’s a picture of Martin in an earlier blog post.)  My first attempt with my aunt back in 2012 was not successful.  From Christchurch City Council’s cemetery database I knew he was buried in Sydenham Cemetery on 28th November 1918, and I had a plot number, but no map of the cemetery.  Major fail.

This time I had both!  However, it still wasn’t that easy to pinpoint his actual burial site.  While I could find the right block and row, none of the graves were numbered, so it was a case of using my phone and the online database to work out who was buried where, and narrow down his exact burial spot.

And what my aunt had thought was a walkway, was in fact our ancestor’s grave.

Burial site of Martin Burke, Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch, NZ. [Block 22B, plot 63]

Burial site of Martin Burke, Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch, NZ. [Block 22B, plot 63]

Later that weekend, I met up with a Burke cousin at the conference, and they were also going to search for Martin’s grave.  However, they had been in contact with the council and had a plan with the names and gravesite numbers marked on it.  Smart!

Plan of Block 22B of Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch, NZ

Plan of Block 22B of Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch, NZ

We’re not sure why Martin doesn’t have a headstone on his grave.  Perhaps there was no money for a memorial, or some ill feeling amongst the family.  At least we now know where he rests.