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Research guide: cemeteries

Cemetery records and headstone inscriptions provide valuable genealogical information.  Gravestones will usually provide birth and death dates, as well as names of spouses and other family members.  Cemetery records, or registers of burial, are maintained by cemeteries and may contain more detailed information than is found on the gravestone.  Cemetery records are especially important if the person was buried without a headstone, or if the inscription has become illegible over time.

Where to find cemetery information

Library Resources


Gravestone inscriptions for many cemeteries have been transcribed and published, notably by the Ontario Genealogical  Society.  Ottawa Public Library’s genealogy collection includes many cemetery transcriptions.  To find these:


Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid

  • Search by name; provides name of cemetery and contact information for requesting further details

Deceased Online

  • United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland burial and cremation registers, mainly 1850 onwards.  Search is free, but there is a charge for viewing more information

The following websites allow you to search for a burial by name, and include either a transcription or a digitized image of the headstone.  Try more than one site, as they cover different cemeteries.

Find a Grave

Canadian Headstone Photo Project