Take a tour of cemetery - online

Twenty thousand Leeds Jewish cemetery records are now available online, along with 13,000 headstone photographs, thanks to a project steered by a nuclear physicist.

Nuclear reactor safety expert Alan Tobias worked with retired dentist Malcolm Sender, amateur photographer Lee White and the late local historian Murray Freedman to produce the free database.

Records from four Leeds cemeteries are now accessible through the jewishgen.org and JCR-UK websites. They provide a virtual tour of rows of graves with records ordered according to geographical location.

But the three-year project has not been plain sailing, with 10,000 corrupted digital files needing to be corrected.

"We wanted to preserve the records of communities outside of London," Mr Tobias said. "Why not make them available to people?" The service had already helped a South African family to name a grandchild through knowledge of a Leeds relative's details. It had also allowed an elderly woman to view relatives' gravestones she had not been able to visit for years. Notable records include the graves of Tory politician Lord Bellwin and painter Jacob Kramer.

Last updated: 1:44pm, February 13 2014