HUNDREDS of thousands of Bolton burial records will soon be available online for the first time.

Bolton Council is thought to be the first in Greater Manchester and Lancashire to introduce such a comprehensive online register, which will contain 420,000 burial and cremation records.

The new service allows people to view grave details, digital scans of registers, detailed cemetery maps showing where gravestones are and photographs of some memorials.

It costs £1.50 to access burial and cremation records and from £2.50 for more detailed information.

More than 211,000 records from Tonge and Heaton Cemetery, dating back to 1856, have already been uploaded to — an online database for burial and cremation records.

Data for Astley Bridge, Blackrod, Farnworth, Horwich, Westhoughton and Overdale Crematorium are due to be uploaded over the next few months.

The most recent records on the site will be from 2009 and new records will not be able to be viewed until they are three years old due to sensitivity issues.

Richard Gray, from Deceased Online, said: “We are delighted Bolton is the first council in Greater Manchester and Lancashire to join Deceased Online in becoming part of a growing national database for these records.

“Keen family historians and those tracing their ancestry can now access the data easily and we have registered users in 75 countries worldwide.”

Brian Tetlow, chairman of Bolton Civic Trust added: “Any system that provides information which can be used by people in pursuit of genealogy is very welcome.

“There’s a great deal more information available than there was in the past and, because of TV programmes on the subject, people have developed a great interest in tracing their family history.”

Overdale Crematorium’s West Chapel has also recently undergone a £171,000 refurbishment.

Cllr Akhtar Zaman, Bolton Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “We have also listened to what the public want and, when we carried out a survey in 2011, 89 per cent of those consulted were in favour of accessing burial and cremation records online.”