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Zion United Cemetery Video Commentary
by John Cardiff

Please Note: Our video of this cemetery includes a transcription error: George, was son of John & Sarah A. Shepherd, not Sherpherd, as transcribed in the video.

Zion United Cemetery [GPS:59.775/23.245], 1656 Windham Road 2, about 1 km west of the Brantford Road intersection, on the south side of the road, near the north end of historic Windham Township in Norfolk County.

The Ontario Genealogy Society/Norfolk Branch's CD-ROM of Names in Norfolk Cemeteries, lists over 150 names on Zion United Cemetery stones. This cemetery is no longer  in use.

This cemetery's name may be misleading. The United Church of Canada was founded by the merger of Methodist and Presbyterian congregations in 1925. Yet all but five of those buried here were interred before 1925. So presumably their obituaries and other documents of the day would have referred to this cemetery under some other name. No evidence survives on the site today to suggest there was ever a church on this property.

The earliest death date on a surviving stone is 1852, the most recent is 1959. Ninety-seven percent of all interments occurred before the First World War, i.e. between 1852 and 1914.

Many of the surviving historic stones are still fairly readable. Unfortunately, others (and not always the oldest) are weather-worn and/or have been vandalized over the years and can only be read today with great difficulty.

Norfolk County has assumed responsibility for this abandoned cemetery and re-arranged surviving stones in the ground or in cement, to facility grounds keeping.

Cemetery stone transcriptions should not be taken as "gospel." Cemetery stones are not considered primary sources. Volunteers from both the Norfolk Historical Society and the Norfolk County Branch of the Ontario Genealogy Society as well as yours truly have all transcribed stones here, and transcribed the some stones differently. You have been warned.

Although well over a dozen stones can be transcribed by pausing the playback of our video when appropriate, our video is meant only as an overview of the cemetery itself, not as an alternative resource to cemetery stone transcriptions.

When it comes to cemetery transcriptions, older is frequently better, particularly when looking at the earliest stones. Volunteer transcribers from the Norfolk Historical Society transcribed this cemetery in the 1960s. A copy of that typewritten transcription is on file and available for viewing in the Reading Room of the Eva Brook Donly Museum. However, the NHS' Zion United transcription omitted at least one stone that both the OGS and I subsequently transcribed.

The Norfolk Branch of the Ontario Genealogy Society subsequently transcribed this cemetery in 1988, then updated that effort in 2005. Their updated transcription is available for sale from their web site: Ontario Genealogy Society/Norfolk Branch. (See their "Published Resources" web page.)

Our videos are merely sneak peeks -- not exhaustive treatments -- of their subject. Hopefully they will provide a touch of perspective for those who live at a distance until they can visit.

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Copyright 2007-2009 John Cardiff