Searching Online for Cemetery Records in Canada

 

 

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Searching Online for Cemetery Records in Canada

When tracing your family tree, cemetery records can be a good source of information on your ancestors, providing such details as the date and place of birth and the names of close relatives. However, finding the exact location of a particular ancestor’s grave can be a time consuming task, especially if you do not live in the area where he or she was buried.

Fortunately, there are three online databases that can help you in your search to locate an ancestor’s final resting place in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Ontario and New Brunswick. These databases may also disclose further details about your ancestors and direct you to offline sources of additional information.

British Columbia

If you are searching for information on ancestors who were buried in the province of British Columbia, the British Columbia Cemetery Finding Aid (BCCFA) is a good place to start. It is an online database recording more than 344,000 interments in 264 cemeteries in British Columbia. Anyone can access and search the database free of charge by following these steps:

Go to: http://www.islandnet.com/cgi-bin/ms2/rsd/search
Fill in the online form with at least one search parameter. You can enter a surname, given name, cemetery, location or region.
Click on the ‘search’ button
A list of search results will then appear, giving the following information on each person:
Surname followed by given name(s)
Cemetery
Location of cemetery
Region of cemetery
Reference
Make a note of all of the details, including the reference and visit this webpage: http://www.islandnet.com/bccfa/addresses.html
Scroll down this webpage until you find the first part of the reference number for the particular grave(s) you are seeking. Below that, you will see the contact details of the association that contributed the information on that grave to the database. For example, if the reference begins with ‘COVA-‘ scroll down the page until you see the eighth organization listed, which is the City of Victoria Archives.
The contributing organizations are mainly local archives and genealogical societies that may be able to give you further information on the grave and/or the cemetery concerned. These societies operate on very tight budgets, so, if you wish to request information, it is important that you include a return envelope addressed to yourself and sufficient stamps or international reply coupons to cover the cost of the return postage.
A map of British Columbia and a list of the cemeteries in each area of the province is also available on this webpage: http://www.islandnet.com/bccfa/cemlist.html

Ontario

The Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid (OCFA) is an online database containing more than two million records of interments in several thousand cemeteries, cenotaphs, memorials and other locations in the Canadian province of Ontario. Anyone can search this database free of charge by following this procedure:

1. Visit this webpage: http://www.islandnet.com/cgi-bin/ms2/jveinot/search

2. Fill in the online form with at least one search term, such as a surname, given name, cemetery, county or township.

3. Click on the ‘go’ button

4. A list of search results will appear with the following information on each record:

a. Surname

b. Given name(s)

c. Name of cemetery

d. County

e. Township

f. Reference

5. Scroll down the list until you find the information you are looking for and note of all of the information, including the reference.

6. Go to: http://www.islandnet.com/ocfa/addresses.html and scroll down the page until you find ‘The Addresses’ section.

7. Refer to the reference number of the grave(s) and search through the list until you find the first part of the reference. You will then see the name and contact details of the association that provided the information on the burial plot. For example, if the reference begins with ‘GCHS-,’ you would scroll down to the ninth reference in the list, which is the Grenville County Historical Society.

8. You may wish to contact the organization that contributed the information to request a cemetery transcription. Remember to include a stamped self-addressed envelope or a self-addressed envelope with two international reply coupons, if you are sending your request from outside North or South America.

9. The OCFA also includes two cemetery lists, arranged by county and township of Ontario. They can be viewed at:

http://www.islandnet.com/ocfa/cem-menu.html and http://www.islandnet.com/ocfa/cem-menu6.html

New Brunswick

The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick maintains an online database of more than 217,000 cemetery records in the province of New Brunswick. At present, the database includes records from 947 cemeteries. For a breakdown of the cemeteries included on the database and their locations, visit this webpage: http://archives.gnb.ca/APPS/NBCemeteries/Stats.aspx?L=EN

The New Brunswick cemetery records database may be consulted free of charge by following these steps:

1. Follow this link: http://archives.gnb.ca/APPS/NBCemeteries/?L=EN

2. Fill in the online search form. For the family name, you can search for either the exact name; names that begin with certain letters; or names that contain certain letters. To do this, select either ‘exactly’ ‘begins with’ or ‘contains’ from the drop-down box to the left of the space for filling in the family name. When searching, bear in mind that the spelling of many surnames has changed over the years and some surnames may have been recorded incorrectly.

3. Click on the ‘search’ button

4. A list of research results will appear on screen with the following information on each record:

a. Name (surname, followed by given name)

b. Name of cemetery

c. County in which the cemetery is located

d. Year of birth

e. Year of death

f. Age

5. Beside the name of each deceased person, there is a ‘details’ link. Click on this link to reveal further information, including:

a. Place of birth

b. Place of death

c. Relationship: any known relationship(s) to other person(s). Abbreviations used in this field include:

i. w/o – wife of

ii. h/o – husband of

iii. s/o – son of

iv. d/o – daughter of

v. f/o – father of

d. Links to other records that may be connected with this grave. For example, the grave of a relative of the deceased.

It is also possible to search the New Brunswick Cemeteries database by cemetery and family name. In order to do this, follow this procedure:

Go to: http://archives.gnb.ca/APPS/NBCemeteries/Cemeteries.aspx?L=EN
From the drop-down box, select the county in which the cemetery is located.
A new drop-down box will appear. From this box, select the name of the cemetery.
From the third drop-down box, select a family name.
A list of the records with that family name will appear.
Click on the ‘details’ link to the left of each name to access the full record.
These online resources will hopefully help you to move forward in your quest to locate the final resting places of your ancestors and to uncover further genealogical information.

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