Saturday, July 3, 2010

Find an Ontario Cemetery

Very often we have problems locating a cemetery accurately. A user, Allison Nelson, has advised me that every cemetery in Ontario must be registered and licensed with the Province. Therefore, the Province maintains a complete database of licensed cemeteries which can be searched online at
This database is no doubt our most accurate method of pinpointing any cemetery in Ontario.

Thanks, Allison!

1 comment:

GordSK said...

Hi Jim -- I serendipitously found your blog and this post "Find an Ontario Cemetery" on it. It happened in my attempts over the last few days to locate two cemeteries -- the Brentha Cemetery in Timiskiming District (northern Ontario) and "Beach's" in the Welland area. Bingo with the first but a flop with the second.

The reasons seem complex -- but seem rooted in the fact that the Legal name of the cemetery (in the Govt database) may not be it's common name. The address of record in the database may not be the same that a searcher might use.

ALSO, cemeteries closed to new burials appear not to need a license and are not necessarily in the database. HOWEVER, I found some called simply "Abandoned Cemetery" in the database with no indication of its proper name before it was abandoned.

The database is unforgiving of variations in spelling (e.g. Emmanuel vs Immanuel; Beach's vs Beaches vs Beachs)... AND if a Cemetery is RENAMED there is no "chain of ownership / change of names" in the file -- just what "IS", not what "WAS".

There is a slightly out of date downloadable pdf file of the complete database (1.2 MB, 377 pages) [link is above the search box]. I noticed a typo in it Emannuel(sic) for Emmanuel -- that could be in the master database.... which does not help a searcher.

HOWEVER, the PDF FILE includes additional contact person names, name of a Cemetery Board or other governance (and pdf readers can search the file better)

ALL THAT SAID... this database IS a useful tool in a researcher's arsenal.

Others cemetery finding tools include: The OCFA (Ontario Cemeteries Finding Aid); LDS cemetery listings in the WIKI "locality research guides" (e.g.,_Ontario#Societies_and_Libraries ); the Canada GenWeb Cemetery Project; Some OGS branches and local historical societies (including some libraries and municipalities websites) -- and of course your CanadianHeadstones, the Gravemarker Gallery (Canada only) site -- and finally and (these do both Canada & the USA).

In closing.... thanks for your Blog, this new link in my toolkit, and especially for the CanadaHeadstones site itself!! I wish you every success with it.

Gord Hines (in Regina SK)