From time to time I receive e-mails asking questions from; how do I locate a certain person's burial site to aren't you creeped out about going through cemeteries?
So here are some frequently asked questions along with my answers:
Q: How do I found out who is buried in a certain cemetery, or how do I find a certain name?
A: If you are just looking for general information for a cemetery in Ontario, you can consult a cemetery transcript. Transcripts are found in local libraries that have a Genealogical Section and are published by the Ontario Genealogical Society. Transcripts can be purchased for a small fee through the OGS, but they are not published on line.
Q: What is the difference between a transcript and burial record?
A: A transcript is completed by someone actually visiting a cemetery and recording the information from the existing headstones or memorials. Therefore, it may not have names of all who are buried there. Consequently any unmarked burials will not be included. There is also the legibility issue with old headstones some are very hard to read and mistakes do get made in the transcription.
Burial records are kept by a cemetery board, parish or church trustees. The information contained within a burial record will usually have the name of the deceased, date of death and burial along with plot or lot location.
Q: Do all cemeteries have burial records?
A: The modern day ones certainly do, but if you are looking at the old cemeteries from the 19th century that's another story. In most cases the burial records have either been lost or never existed. This is were the transcripts may help.
Q: Are all these pioneer cemeteries accessible to the public?
A: No, some are on private property and may require permission from the property owner to go on to. This is common with family burial grounds or plots. Be sure to check before you attend that you will not be trespassing. Also keep in mind that some of the old church buildings adjacent to some of these old parish cemeteries are now private homes. These cemeteries in most cases have been severanced from the private property and are maintained by a township or municipality. But do not take this for granted, always check.
Q: Why do you not have information on some of the larger modern cemeteries?
A: This blog is not about modern cemeteries.
Q: Do you think any of the cemeteries that you have visited are haunted?
A: No I don't. But I always say a prayer of remembrance and thank those who rest there for letting me visit. It doesn't hurt to show respect.
Q: I noticed in an old cemetery near where I live that some of the headstones are broken or laying flat on the ground. Is this because of the weather etc., or vandalism?
A: Both, the elements will eventually cause the headstones to crumble and crack. However, there are some idiots who think its funny to desecrate an burial place. Desecration is illegal and punishable by law regardless of how old the cemetery is. If you should know of any such activity, contact the police.
Q: Is it okay to take pictures of any grave?
A: There should be no problem in the old pioneer cemeteries, but if you happen to be in a cemetery that is still active, please be mindful when using a camera. Don't be surprised if someone asks what you are doing. My rule of thumb is not to take photos of any modern burial site.
Q: I found a broken headstone in an old cemetery and took a piece home. Should I have done this?
A: Excuse Me!!!!! The only thing you should take is a photo. Under no circumstances should anyone be removing anything. What were you thinking!!!!!!!!
Q: I would like to go to some of the places that you have mentioned in your blog. Can you provide me with directions?
A: Click on location at the bottom right hand corner of the post.
Q: How long have you been doing this and what got you started?
A: I have been collecting information for this blog since 2009 its a work in progress. I got started when I bought my first digital camera. I would often see these old cemeteries as I was driving around. It then became a passion.
Q: Have you ever seen a ghost?
A: Yes, but not in a cemetery.