The history of Coffin Plates or casket plates is a long but not very well documented one. Generally made of a soft metal like pewter, silver, brass, copper or tin, coffin plates are decorative adornments attached to the coffin that contain information like the name and death date of the deceased. The oldest ones that I have seen date from the 17th century (1600~1699) and were reserved for people of some stature. As time went on more people were able to afford the luxury of a Coffin Plate and with the coming of the industrial revolution the cost of the plates went down so much that by the middle of the 19th century almost every family could afford them.
At the same time that use of coffin plates was increasing the practice of removing the plates from the coffin before burial increased. The coffin plates were often removed to be kept as mementos by the loved ones of the deceased. This practice started in the late 1840s and peaked in the late 19th century (1880~1899).
In some more rare cases the plates are removed when the grave is disturbed for some reason like cemetery relocation. This is more common in Europe were space for graves is at a premium.
These plates are an overlooked free genealogical resource. They often contain the Birth Record and Death Record and can be used as a substitute for vital records. (Well technically they are not a substitute for vital records as the person giving the info might not have known for sure when the deceased was born. But it's a good place to start.) If you want to know more about what things qualify as a true Vital Records there is a good article at the Olive Tree. In some rare cases the plates can contain even more information like place of birth or the occupation of the deceased.
Unfortunately these valuable resources are scattered and there has not been a single repository for this valuable free genealogy resource until now. It is my intention to create a coffin plate database and a home for the unwanted plates themselves.
The index below is only a partial listing of the casket plates that you will find on Ancestors At Rest.
Sarah A Adams 1824~1877 Found in U.S.A.
Mary M Atherton Found in New England
Ada L Baker died 1865 Found in U.S.A.
Jacob Baker Found in New Hampshire
Emma Ball 1870~1934 Found in NY, NY. USA.
Peter Banta 1866~1889
William Barry 1811~1850 Found in New York
Edith E Barton 1863~1863 Found in Maine
Eliza P Barton 1822~1897 Windsor, Kennebec, Maine
Rufus P Barton 1817~1896 Windsor, Kennebec, Maine
Sarah K Basford 1785~1859 Found in New Hampshire.
James Bigalow 1821~1844 Found in U.S.A.
Vera Irene Bigham 1901~1904East Zorra, Oxford County, Ontario, Canada
Mary Billings 1824~1854 Massachusetts
Theophilus Blake 1774~1863 New Hampshire
Philander Bodwell 1818~1863 Born in Vermont or New Hampshire died in Massachusetts
Carmela Bonello 1900 ~1935 Found in N.C, U.S.A.
Michele Bonello 1898 ~1924 Found in N.C, U.S.A.
Lyman P Bradley 1815~1875 Found in the U.S.
Benjamin A Bridges died 1860 Massachusetts and Maine.
Geo E Bridges died 1870 Massachusetts and Maine.
William Broderick 1823 ~ 1870 Found in U.S.A.
Joseph Brown Found in New York State U.S.A.
Samuel Brown Found in Illinois
Albert Bruner died 1894
Wingas Buragas 1867~1904 Found in Pa
Mark Burgess 1825~1886 Found in Maine
Sabrina E. Burnham 1853~1870 Milford, Hillsborough, New Hampshire.
Nancey E. Burnham 1827~1871 Milford, Hillsborough, New Hampshire.
Eddie G Butler 1875~1877 Found in Rochester, New York
Elmer A Butler 1873~1875 Found in Rochester, New York
John Cameron 1795~1887 Ontario, Canada.
Peter Cameron 1824~1901 Found in New York State
James Carvill 1803~1876 Twin Falls, Idaho
Violet Cattanach 1892~1915
Roy A Chafin 1889 Found in Massachusetts
Henry Chanler 1843~1898
Alfred Clark 1821~1901 Found in Ontario Canada
Benjamin F. Clark
James Clark 1873~1903 Found in Ontario, Canada
Mary C Clark aged 22 Found in Canada
Mary Etta Clark 1874~1910 Found in Ontario, Canada
Lowell N Clifford 1806~1885 New Hampshire
John Cochran 1788~1881 Found in Canada
Phoebe Cochran 1789~1886 Found in Canada
Anna M Connors 1885~1895
Capt Samuel Crockett 1793 ~ 1862 Found in Connecticut. May be from Maine.
Rachel Cul??n Died 1881 Found in U.S.A.
Thomas Edward Culverwell 1856~1936
William j Custance Found in Maine
Edgar E Davis 1861~1866 Found in U.S.A.
Josef Davis died 1862 Found in U.S.A.
John Davis 1837~1894 Found in New England
Henrietta Lizzie Davis 1857~1857 Found in U.S.A.
Nancy Davis 1819~1862 Found in U.S.A.
Nancy Davis 1847~1862 Found in U.S.A.
Albert W Dean died 1880 Found in Ontario, Canada
Charles De Bragg 1846~1857 Found in Mass
Carrie B DeWitt Died 1875 Akron Ind
Edward C Dexter 1847~1865
Martha Dougherty 1833~1912
Jennell Douglas 1833~1883
Minnie Jane Drake
Betsey L Drew 1798 ~1854
James Dudley 1795~1867 Found in Manchester, Maryland
John A Duncan 1839~1916 Found in Kingston Ontario Canada
Abner Dunton 1786~1867
Patrick Earley died 1888
Alice Earley died 1888
Susanna Edwards 1774~1861 Found in New York State
Helena May Elgie Found in Perth County, Ontario, Canada
John Elgie Found in Perth and Middlesex County, Ontario, Canada
Clara N Elwell 1843~1862 Found in Maine
Mahitable Evans 1795~1869 Found in N.C, U.S.A.
John Fadden 1891~1893
Patrick Feeny 1806~1882
Samuel Flower died 1902 Found in Feeding Hills, Mass
Sollomon Ford 1779~1866 Abington, Plymouth, Massachusetts
David Gay 1800~1872 Found in N.C, U.S.A.
James Gibbens 1852~1887 Found in Lawrence, Massachusetts
Jessie Gillman 1869~1891
Michael Gollinger 1819~1893
Herbert Goodnow died 1857
Walter Goodnow 1866~1869
Charles P Gould 1828~1868 Found in Connecticut
Harriet N Gould 1820~1876
Nellie Graybourn Found in U.S.A.
Abner Graves died about 1900~1910
Thomas Green 1826~1896 Found in Westport Ontario Canada.
Rosana M Groom
Charles W Grocham 1877 ~ 1891
Bridget Grutsch Stratford, Ontario and O'Neil, Nebraska
Frances Hanipan 1911 ~ 1911
Joseph Harvey 1877 ~ 1903 Found In Colorado
Anna Hayden 1877~1923 Found in Buffalo New York
Charles H Hayden 1828 ~ 1865
Charles Hermance 1829~1864
Benjamin Hodgkins 1795~1868
Lena Hood 1867~1897 Found in Massachusetts
Franklin Hunter 1838~1898
Martha Huntington 1719~1774
Samuel Huntington 1731~1796
Freddie B Huntress 1868~1869 Found in Connecticut
James-Hutchings 1811~1881 Found in Wilbraham, Massachusetts
Frank Jackowski 1869~1929
Martha E Jennings 1841~1885 Found in N.C, U.S.A.
Sarah A. M. Jennings 1809~1898 Found in N.C, U.S.A.
John W Jessee 1854~1930 Found in U.S.A.
Richard F Jones 1844~1881 Found in Connecticut
Thomas Joseph Keleher 1897~1898 Found in U.S.A.
James Kelly 1821~1877
Annette V Kendall 1849~1863 found in Conn
Ann M Kimball 1811~1852 South Carolina and Alabama
Homer C King 1870~1877 Found in New Hampshire
Henry Kingman 1792~1864 Found in N.C, U.S.A.
Jessey King 1856~1925 Found in U.S.A.
William Kingdom 1863~1883 York, Ontario.
Henry Landholm died 1916
C Adele Lester Aged 22 New York State.
Emily Lester Aged 82 New York State.
Mary ? Lester New York State.
Mary J Lester 1841~1891 New York State.
Volney Lester 1821~1892 New York State.
Elmer G Libby 1888~1890 Found in Maine.
Bernhardt Lippold Found in IL.
Joseph Laughlin Found in U.S.A.
Henry Liewellyn 1856~1908 Found in Hartford CT U.S.A.
Daniel A Macfayden 1896~1917 Found in Nova Scotia
John Mac Leod 1876~1914 Found in California U.S.A.
Flora May McAlpine 1885~1887 Found in U.S.A.
Ebenezer Mc Mullin 1815 ~ 1894 Found in Ontario Canada.
Lydia Marshall 1786~1869 Found in U.S.A.
Sarah M. Martin 1830~1866
Robert B Mahar 1825~1871 Found in Maine
George D Matteson 1815~1876 Found in R.I.
Lydia M Matteson 1830~1851 Found in R.I.
Mary A Matteson 1833~1871 Found in R.I.
Urban Matteson 1863~1866 Found in Rhode Island
Mrs W.H. Matteson Found in R.I.
Charles Mayness 1856~1886 Found in the U.S.A.
Victoria McIlmoyle 1878~1898 Ontario, Canada
Caty Ann McKinnon
Peter Milkins 1825~1885 Westerlow Albany County New York
Suzannah Milkins 1830~1890 Westerlow Albany County New York
Julia M Miller 1850~1890 Found in N.C, U.S.A.
Esther J Monell Found in U.S.A.
Francis Montgomery 1834~1898 Found in Detroit
Joseph Montgomery Found in Ontario
Viola Montgomery Found in Ontario
Ann Montgomery Found in Ontario
Alma Moore 1861~1878
E Julialite Morin 1906~1907
Alva Morrison 1809~1863 Clinton, Kennebec, Maine
Capt John C Murch Found in Maine
Mary N Nash 1820~1867 Found in U.S.A.
Louisa (Lawson) Neilson 1824~1904 Esquesing Twp, Ontario
Ethel Beatrice Nickerson 1885~1888 Found in Conn.
Loretto Noll 1884~1887 Found in U.S.A.
Marry Anna Noll 1853~1917 Found in U.S.A.
Peter Norris died 1899 Michigan
Elisabeth Ofeffer 1834~1889
Ole M Olsen 1849~1913
James Parker 1844~1901 Found in Indiana, Pa
William Peel 1822~1901 Found in Arkansas
Jesse B Perkins 1879~1901 Found in Epsom, New Hampshire
Mrs Sophia Hosford Phelps Found in the U.S.A.
Julia Pigot 1835~1875 Found in Ontario
Edourd Plante Found in Maine
Joseph Treffle Plante 1886~1886 Found in Maine
Thomas Pratt 1775~1864
Mary Provest 1863~1893 Found in Westport Ontario Canada.
Lydia A. Quint 1852~1876
Fred Rau 1863~1896
John E Reed 1869~1873 Found in N.C, U.S.A.
Adolph Riedlinger Found in N.Y, U.S.A.
Alexander Rice 1810~1864
Samuel Robert Rice 1860~1894 Found in NY.
Susan M. Rice 1839~1856
M.M. Rich 1828~1878
William Rich 1828~1891
Almeda Richards 1844~1854 Found in U.S.A.
Alfred Richardson 1840~1925 Found in U.S.A.
Maggie E Rivrs died 1881 Found in U.S.A.
Anna J Roberts 1874~1926 Found in Boston, Mass U.S.A.
Frederick H Rosekrans 1803~1883 Schoharie County, New York
Mehatible Ross 1777~1849 Found in New Hampshire
Content B Rouse 1811~1864 RI
George Rouse 1801~1865 RI
Charles Rudolph died 1924
James Rutherford 1819~1891 born Perthshire Scotland. died Carleton County, Ontario Canada.
Peter Rutherford 1841~1901 born Scotland or Ontario. died Kent County, Ontario, Canada.
August S. Schaffer 1873~1906
Frank Schaffer 1873~1917 Found in Maine.
James Scribner Jr Found in Connecticut.
Jenny Scott died 1861 Found in Connecticut.
Laura Scott 1806~1865 New Hampshire.
John Scott 1797~1867 New Hampshire.
Emely L Scott 1842~1887 Found in U.S.A.
John Frederick Seugling 1831~1894 New Jersey
Mary G Sharp 1873~1874 U.S.A.
Anna Shattuck 1779~1863 Found in New Hampshire
Chrishania Sherwin 1810~1886 Found in New Hampshire
John J Shipman 1823~1904 Found in New England
Angelo Michele Stinziano 1862~1942 Found in New York State
Ann E. Smith 1825~1872
Annie A Smith 1860~1877 Wells ME
Emma Willis Smith 1855~1857
Luey A. Smith 1832~1848 Found in U.S.A.
Robert Smith 1851~1927 Found in New York City
William Henry Smith ...New York
John Spindley Found in Conn
Clinton Stevens 1840~1853 Found in Conn
Jane Stinson 1843~1917Found in Ontario, Canada
Grover Strout 1891~1922Found in Maine
Thomas M Strope
Vincenzo Tatta died 1913 Found in U.S.A.
Electa Terry 1851~1902 Found in U.S.A.
Godfrey Thibideau 1863~1918 Nova Scotia, Cumberland, Springhill, Canada
Rose Thibodean 1901~1923 Nova Scotia, Cumberland, Springhill, Canada
Eliza Thompson 1812~1852 Found in Massachusetts.
William Townsend 1804~1888 Found in Quebec, Canada
William Tull 1857~1934 Found in Berlin, Pa
Rebecca G Varnhum 1829 ~ 1856 Found in Chichester, New Hampshire
Martin Vickers 1824 ~ 1902 Found in Canada
Martha L Vining 1800~1879 Found in Maine
Elezabeth Vinten 1842~1895
Joseph C Vonce
Hannah M. Ward 1847~1879
John Watson 1836~1904 Found in Ontario Canada
Anna Wayman 1869~1924 Found in U.S.A.
LL Weber Found in U.S.A.
Stephen Welch 1840~1860 Found in U.S.A.
Henry Wesp 1875~1904
Owen Wickes 1805~1890 Found in Texas
Deacon Harris Wight 1794~1869 Norwich and Buckland, Mass
Mary Ann Wood Found in PA.
William Wright 1854~1859 Found in Maine
Eliza Woodman 1803~1882 From Maine.
Eliza J Woodman 1842~1861 From Maine.
Eliza M Woodman 1847~1884 From Maine.
Joshua Woodman 1807~1876 From Maine.
Nathan L Woodman 1875~1876 From Maine.
William Manly 1809~1893 England.
Martha Manly 1813~1875 England.
George Frederick Manly 1847~1875 England.
This Data Base is an ongoing project and I have many more coffin plates to add so check back often.
Share Your Family Genealogy Records
To submit a transcription or a photo of a genealogy document such as a coffin plate, funeral card or family bible please email Brian (Replace AT with @ in the email address)