in Norfolk Cemeteries
by John Cardiff
Last updated: 08 Aug 2009
The Norfolk County Branch of the Ontario Genealogy Society recently
(Spring 2006) released version 1.0 of a PDF file on CD-ROM which indexes names on stones in Norfolk County cemeteries. It is available from the Branch for $20 plus $5 shipping. Copyright 2006,
the data is current to 2003. I recently got to test drive a copy.
This CD-ROM is a much better resource than the Ontario Cemeteries Finding Aid index. It covers all known Norfolk
cemeteries, not just the smattering online. Moreover, the Branch has re-checked many cemeteries in recent years, so this index should benefit from any error detection.
Whatís in this Adobe Reader-compatible PDF data file? A
1688-page book that alphabetically lists 45 people per page,
double-spaced. Each single-line entry consists of four columns: surname, first name, cemetery name, and transcription page number. The cemetery name column provides the name of the Branchís printed cemetery stone
transcription you may order for a stoneís complete text.
(A separate PDF on this CD lists all publications available for sale
A printed 1688-page document would be awkward to use, heavy to carry, expensive to print, buy and mail, and take up a lot of bookshelf real estate. Having the same data in PDF format
on a CD-ROM solves all those problems.
Thank you, Norfolk Branch.
provides the ability to re-size the page -- handy for those who
struggle to read small type. You can also cut-and-paste
selected entries into another document, to build your own
family-specific list. A big plus is Acrobat Readerís ability to search this document for whatever text you choose to enter.
Enter a surname and it returns a list of everyone in every cemetery with that surname, plus an entry count.
Counting Elizabeths won't help you much, but counting Thompsons
might. Enter the name of a cemetery and it returns an every name list of those buried there, plus a count of names found in that cemetery.
Surviving spouses frequently put both names on the stone in anticipation of also being interred there. My fatherís stone also lists my mother although she is still living. Both names appear in this PDF, just as they do on the stone, suggesting both are deceased. A search for Cardiff returns a list of
that surname on
stones in all cemeteries, regardless of the number of stones, or the true status of those
This PDF can save genealogists tons of time and effort. Too bad it was so long in coming.
The Branch has had a printed version of this PDF available for in-house research for
more than a
That said, nothing in this world is perfect. Obviously, unreadable stones could not be transcribed and
therefore are not included. The omission of an alphabetical
table of contents with starting page numbers, which would have made
document navigation easier, is perhaps my biggest regret. (Click
here to see ours.)
Transcription errors and omissions are another problem. David Weatherly is on a Doanís Hollow Cemetery stone. But the surname in this index is spelled with an extra
e -- Weatherley. There are stones for both George Jackson and his relict Elizabeth in St. Johnís Anglican Cemetery, but neither is listed in this publication. Infrequently words like Cemetery are
misspelled, which can throw a cemetery name count off.
One of Norfolkís prettiest cemeteries is Evergreen Cemetery in Lynedoch. This cemetery is
where remains from the areaís old Methodist burying ground ended up. While
everyone else refers to this cemetery as "Evergreen,"
which is the name over the entrance, OGS/Norfolk has chosen to use a more accurate, but less search-intuitive name:
"Old Methodist & Evergreen."
A more serious
reservation is surname transcription inconsistences.
For example, this Adobe PDF document spells McCall both Mc Call and
McCall, inserting a space that does not appear on the stones.
Transcriptions are seldom, if ever, perfect, but this error occurs in
over 10 percent of McCall listings -- maybe 30 out of 230. OGS/Norfolk really ought to
stress proof-reading more. These McCall spaces have been reported
to the Branch time and again during the past dozen years, but remain
The foregoing not
withstanding, my highest praise is reserved for those who produce
truly useful, reasonably priced resources. This CD-ROM definitely
Names in Norfolk County Cemeteries (2003) ver. 1.0 in PDF format on
is available from Norfolk Branch of Ontario Genealogy