The Project

The Jesuit Online Necrology project is a free, collaborative, and fully searchable database of personal information for the more than 32,000 men who died as members of the Society of Jesus between 1814 and 1970. This database provides the dates of birth, entry, and death for all the men who lived and died as Jesuits in the century and a half following the order’s restoration.

Using the contents from the Catalogus defunctorum in renata Societate Iesu, this database allows for the searching of the men’s surnames and their places of birth, entry, and death. Users can filter search results through numerous facets -- such as places, date ranges, and the grade within the Society at the time of death. In addition, the aggregation of this personal information is expressed through different maps and visualizations. Explanations are available for the conventions used in the original Catalogus as is technical help for exploring the database.

The Jesuit Online Necrology is a collaborative effort among three Jesuit research centers and archives -- the Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu, the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies at Boston College, and the Woodstock Theological Library at Georgetown University. Adrian Vaagenes of Georgetown and Seth Meehan of Boston College serve as the project’s editors.

The Jesuit Online Necrology, launched in Summer 2021, was developed at Boston College Libraries. The database was built using open source technology and features a Ruby on Rails framework with a Blacklight discovery interface, PostgreSQL, and Solr index. All of the code used for this database is available in the Libraries’ GitHub repository. For a larger discussion of the technical aspects of the project and its visualizations, see our project praxis page. Members of the development team at Boston College were: Ben Florin, Library Applications Developer; Jesse Martinez, Library Applications Developer; Matt Naglak, Digital Scholarship Librarian; and Allison Xu, Data and Visualization Librarian.

The data collection phase began in August 2019, and was led and reviewed by Adrian Vaagenes, and transcribed by the following students and staff at Woodstock Theological Library: Alexander Kiley, Mitchell Fariss, Caitlin Frazier, Delia Cervantes, Emma Morris, and Isabel Rassel. Additional transcription work was done by graduates of the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies--Rebecca Hammock and Michael Infantine--while Cristiano Casalini and Claude Pavur, SJ, both of the Institute, helped with geographic terminology and Latin translation, respectively.