Cemeteries around Central Otago have moved further into the 21st century, with Ranfurly becoming the latest to have its records digitised, and Roxburgh soon to follow.

The digitisation of Central Otago District Council (CODC) cemeteries started several years ago and the online database contains records for the Alexandra, Clyde, Omakau (Blacks), Nevis, Cromwell, Litany St (Cromwell) and Naseby cemeteries.

The public can search for relatives and people of interest online, meaning some of the older records are not just on paper, future-proofing the information.

The bulk of the work at Ranfurly was done by CODC cadet Jocelyn Ryan.

Much of her work included fact-checking records and making sure a plot’s name and number of buried matched the records.

Ms Ryan said the work to digitise the cemetery was ‘‘hugely’’ satisfying.

“I’m giving people a name since they no longer have a voice of their own.”

At the Ranfurly Cemetery there was only one unknown grave where the occupant could not be identified, which was uncommon, according to the cemetery team.

Such a low number indicated excellent record keeping, from the time of the first burial on October 27, 1907 until the present day.

The plot is in Block Three in what was the Catholic part of the cemetery, inthe northwestern corner.

Anyone who has any information about the grave isasked to get in touch with the council.

Digitisation of Roxburgh Cemetery, which opened in 1860, was under way.

The records up to 1901 were lost in a fire many years ago.

Records for the 1901-1980 period were tricky to decipher and incorrect information was sometimes supplied meaning identification could be difficult.

“We’re expecting this project to be a lot more challenging because of the age of the information and because the cemetery is a lot older,” Ms Ryan said.

St Bathans Cemetery will be the next to be digitised.