DID YOU KNOW
Tombstones don't always list all of the people buried there.
For whatever reason (perhaps depression times) graves were often re-opened for an additional burial with no corresponding stone update.
When this happens, transcribers cannot record the information and consequently the grave information will be excluded from online databases so if you are having trouble finding a grave, this might be why.
Start with a grave of the missing burial for a known near relative, such as spouse or parents.
Visit or contact the cemetery office and ask to see the transaction record for that grave. They should have physical records for every plot detailing names and date buried and will look it up for you. Note: Sometimes a body buried in the plot but not listed on the stone.
Find a grave index or stone
Family Search's Billion Graves Index is a good place to start. It's free but this is just the index. For images you'll need to go to the Billion Graves website. The index will redirect you automatically or you can visit directly and search there. New records are uploaded all the time so keep checking back.
Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid OCFA
Start here if you do not know the name of the cemetery where your ancestor is buried.
The OCFA searchable database is free of charge and contains approximately 3.4 million Ontario burial records.
All you need is a surname (forename not required). It's a great tool.
Canada Gen Web Cemetery Project
Can't find a cemetery?
If you still cannot find the cemetery, try the original death certificate or register as they often show burial details. If you know the name of the funeral home, they may still have files as well if still in business. Old newspapers often include the place of burial in the obituary.
TheMount Pleasant Group now has online search aid for finding a grave within their cemeteries. The Group includes the following cemeteries - Beechwood, Duffin Meadows, Elgin Mills, Meadowvale, Mount Pleasant, Pine Hills, Prospect, Thornton, Toronto Necropolis and York . (Note: Potters Field graves were moved to both Necropolis and Mount Pleasant). The search results show name, burial year, age at death and plot location details including a google map. It's a great tool that cuts hours and hours of physical search time. Search here
Original death registers
These are the original handwritten registers that list names, plot owner, dates of death and burial and location. They're not searchable but you can use the index at Family Search Name Index then go to the scanned registertry pages or view on microfilm at the Ontario Archives for full death details.
Start with the manual alphabetical (for the most part) index. Note the registry number. Then go to the manual registers and look for the registry number on the left side of the page. The register entries are by year then registry number order.
Early Toronto Burials
FamilySearch Org has early Toronto burials (York prior to 1834. You can search the index and view the original burial register images. Index name Search.
The indexed records include:
- Potter's Field (Also known as York General Burying Ground) 1826-1855
- Necropolis Cemetery, 1850-1912 (the index will continue to 1935)
- Mount Pleasant Cemetery, 1876-1933
- Prospect Cemetery, 1890-1935. Currently this collection is 67% complete and includes records from Necropolis Cemetery. (Ongoing project - Additional records will be added)
St James Cemetery is still in use today. It's a beautiful spot smack in the middle of urban Toronto. Worth a stroll among the tombstones even if you have no ancestral connection. There is much sadness in these old cemeteries during a time when child and young adult deaths were all too common.
The Cathedral maintains its own Archives and Museum.
Contact the Archives and Museum at 416-364-7865 ext 233, or email email@example.com to arrange access.
Some graves have been uploaded here St. James tombstones
This site commemorates the approximately 1,700,000 men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the two world wars and are buried in some 153 countries. Search by individual or cemetery.