History from Headstones Online was an innovative project from the Ulster Historical Foundation, delivered in 2002–04, the aim of which was to encourage people to take an interest in the graveyards of Northern Ireland and to provide an online resource for those searching for their ancestors.
One of the central aims of the project was to highlight the importance of burial grounds as historical sources that can be used to study the past. Graveyards are open air museums where it is possible to walk among the exhibits – the tombstones – and examine at first hand art and sculpture from a bygone age.
Graveyards form an integral part of the landscape. Because there are so many of them we can often take them for granted. However, each graveyard is unique. Each was created in its own particular set of circumstances. Each will have its own unique collection of headstones.
History from Headstones has now been expanded to include all nine counties of the province of Ulster. So far, over 1,800 burial grounds have been identified and information continues to be collated on them.