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
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.
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
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)
Location of cemetery
Region of cemetery
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
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:
b. Given name(s)
c. Name of cemetery
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
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
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
A new drop-down box will appear. From this box, select the name of the
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
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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- Searching Online for Cemetery Records in Canada
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