by E.B. Lapointe
Canada, over the years, has been at the forefront in transcribing cemetery records.
Started by various genealogical societies across the country as one of their special projects, the societies have continuously encouraged their members to transcribe all the cemeteries in their area and, because of the hard work of their members, some have obtained nearly 100 percent coverage in the transcriptions of the information contained on the tombstones. Some societies have drawn maps of the cemeteries. Scattered throughout the Internet are a few photos of tombstones in Canadian cemeteries.
And, most important of all, not only have they transcribed the cemeteries, but have also published the results in books, many of which are available at a very inexpensive price from the societies themselves.
A listing of provincial genealogical societies and their addresses may be accessed at the National Archives of Canada website at http://www.archives.ca/.
Also, there are two special resources to use on the Internet if the interments happen to be located in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and/or British Columbia.
There are over 2,000,000 internment records on-line which can be researched for free at http://www.islandnet.com/ocfa. The inscriptions are from cemeteries, cairns, memorials and cenotaphs in the province of Ontario, and on-line contain the surname and given name(s) of the individual, the name of the cemetery in which he/she is buried, the county and the name of the township in which is located the cemetery, and very important, the code of the entry so that the researcher can locate the name of the society, and its address, which has been responsible for the transcription. From my own research at the site, simply place the surname in the search engine, and all people with that surname in the database will be listed. If the researcher requires more information, it is suggested that they contact the society directly.
The same is true at the website for the province of British Columbia at http://www.islandnet.com/bccfa, where 340,000 names and related information has been transcribed from cemeteries, cairns, memorials and cenotaphs. As with the website on the Ontario inscriptions, there are also listed the addresses of societies which have contributed to the website, so that they may be contacted directly.
Special Note: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has placed the 1881 Canadian Census on their website at http://familysearch.org. The website is a free searchable database and can be searched by surname only. Recently, I searched using only my maiden name of Barclay in Nova Scotia, and they were all there.
The website gives the name as it was taken in the census, the date of birth, place of birth, age at the time of the census taking, marital status, name of the head of household and the personís relationship to the head of household, plus the fatherís and motherís names.
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So Where is My Canadian Ancestor, Eh?
"A former newspaper reporter in Canada's capital, Ottawa, I
became interested in writing about genealogy when researching my own
ancestor, Andrew Barclay, an American Loyalist from Boston, Massachusetts,
early in 1990. Quickly, my interest spread beyond my own family, and by 1994,
I was editing a genealogy newsletter and by 1997, I was editing the Sourcing
Canada series of books. Since then, I have gone on to write "My Ancestor Was
French Canadian" and a series of booklets on Canadian genealogy. I love to
travel the Canadian and American countryside looking for interesting people
and places to photograph and to write about." - E.B. Lapointe