I am sure you know that many university websites sometimes have useful free databases, and
more are digitising some of their resources, how about Warwick's website which offers
some interesting items.
One of which I found helpful a couple of times is the returns of the Friendly Society of
This leads to a good surname search to the obituaries or death notices contained in the
fortnightly returns of the Friendly Society of Operative Stonemasons of England, Ireland
and Wales between July 1836-April 1921. The index contains over 25,000 entries and
includes some additional information relating to applications for superannuation, accident
The obituaries usually covered members who had joined the union's funeral fund, and
who would therefore have received a sum of money from the union towards their burial. The
deaths of wives and (after July 1862) children registered with the fund are also included.
Information given in the fortnightly returns may include the age, place of death or
member's branch, and date and cause of death. It has proved useful for at least three
of my Lancashire masons.
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