Who Maintains Saskatchewan Cemeteries?
To purchase a cemetery plot in the same cemetery as one’s family, to make a donation to the cemetery or to erect a tombstone for an ancestor it may be necessary to know the contact information for the owner/operators of the cemetery. Many cemetery owners and operators rely upon the sale of burial plots to fund maintenance and development of their cemetery land tracts. Technically “the operation of cemeteries in Saskatchewan,” reported Morgan, Don, Q.C., Minister of Justice and Attorney General, “falls under the purview of the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General.” The genealogist or family historian is offered more than just this one path of locating the cemetery owner, operator in order to discover if an ancestor is interred in a cemetery in Saskatchewan. wonderfully there are numerous organisations involved in transcribing around 3,500 cemeteries across the province.
To determine who maintains a cemetery in Saskatchewan, one way would be to contact the local funeral home. This information can be located in the phone directory located at either Mysask.com Directory Search or through Canada 411.
There are different levels of cemetery ownership in the province. Homestead pioneer interments may be located on private land. religious denominations may establish their own cemetery and care for them within their spiritual community. The Right Honourable George John Diefenbaker (a former Prime Ministers) is an historic site listed in Government of Canada’s Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada . Diefenbaker is interred beside the Diefenbaker Canada Centre, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Community or public cemeteries are usually owned at a municipal level. Cities may have a parks a parks and infrastructure department to look after cemeteries. Saskatchewan has 16 cities including Lloydminster, which traverses the provincial border with Alberta, but not including Flin Flon, which traverses the provincial border with Manitoba. The cities are (in alphabetical order) Estevan, Flin Flon, Humboldt, Lloydminster, Martensville, Meadow Lake, Melfort, Melville, Moose Jaw, North Battleford, Prince Albert, Regina, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Warman, Weyburn, and Yorkton. Towns, and villages also maintain their own cemeteries.
Smaller communities may be cared for the by the rural municipality consisting of reeve (undertaking a similar capacity to the mayor of a city), councillors and administrator. Rural cemeteries may appoint a cemetery committee for the seasonal upkeep of the public cemetery grounds, weeding, mowing and general care, repair and grooming.
The Saskatchewan Genealogy has recorded the legal land locations, and names over 3,430 cemeteries in the province which is online “SGS Cemetery Index.” This index identifies the owner operator where known, and also if the transcript is available through the family search library maintained by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
There are a number of organisations actively involved in transcribing, documenting and photographing cemetery tombstones. The Saskatchewan Gen Web has a listing of them online.
So now lets take an example. Suppose that in using the Canada Gen Web Saskatchewan Cemetery Projet that one finds the Richard Cemetery is located near Speers, Saskatchewan at legal land location SW quarter of section 08- township 43- range 12 West of the 3rd meridian in the rural municipality of Douglas 436 which happens to be in the northwest area of Saskatchewan. Who would maintain this cemetery? Going to the Saskatchewan Genealogy Society Cemetery Index and searching under he , one finds that in fact there are two Richard Cemeteries, however the ownership of both of them are unknown and neither have been transcribed by the SGS nor or they available on microfilm at the family search libraries through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. If the cemetery had been transcribed by the SGS it would be a simple matter of searching the burial index. Now conducting a search on the Saskatchewan Gen Web Cemetery pages, to see if any other organisation has transcribed cemeteries for either the RM of Douglas or the Richard Cemetery near Speers, by using the “find feature” on your internet browser (pressing the control key and the key “f” at the same time), then it comes up that the transcription is in fact online.
To go on to help in different scenarios. If a cemetery happened to be looked after by a spiritual organisation – look to that organisation, the church archives, or the synagogue webpages for burial registers. If the cemetery transcription still is not found, one can search each organisation’s individual listing, or use your favourite internet web search engine, ie google, bing, yahoo search, etc, to see if the cemetery, closest community or rural municipality is online. Another option available to the family historian would be to Search Saskatchewan Placenames to discover which regional provincial gen web would have resources for the area around the cemetery, in this case looking up the name “Speers”. In so doing, one finds out that “Speers, Saskatchewan” (previously named New Ottawa) is located within the Saskatoon Regional gen web. Now the resources on the regional pages are also available and access to the Saskatoon Gen Web mailing list and the Saskatoon Gen Web posting (query) board where many many folks come together who also may be able to answer your query on a local regional level. It is also interesting to note that the Saskatchewan Gen Web Cemetery pages list other resources to locate an ancestor such as the death certificate searchable index, searchable obituaries, etc.
This helps the genealogist, but we have not found the folks who maintain the cemetery to make a donation for the cemetery upkeep, to purchase a cemetery plot or arrange for a tombstone for an existing internment. The cemetery owner can be traced by contacting the rural municipality in the Saskatchewan “Municipal Directory System” , in this case searching for the RM of Douglas 436. The other way to find the folks who maintain the cemetery would be to search for the funeral home in Mysask.com Directory Search or through Canada 411. In this example searching for a funeral home near Speers, Saskatchewan. The selection of the first and closest funeral homes which come up are in the city of North Battleford, 56.47 kilometres (35.09 miles) away, which would be able to offer assistance.
As noted on wikipedia, “cemetery authorities face a number of tensions in regard to the management of cemeteries.” Owners face issues relating to cost, limited amount of land, and the perpetual maintenance of historic monuments and headstones. If contacting a rural municipality office please consider a donation to help the cemetery operators realize the full potential of the special environment of the individual burial ground, and their improvements.
|“Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs;
Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth,
Let’s choose executors and talk of wills”
~ William Shakespeare, Richard II
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Adamson, Julia. Saskatchewan Gen Web Saskatchewan Gen Web Project – Church / Any Spiritual Affiliation Genealogy Resources. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cansk/Saskatchewan/church.html Retrieved December 11, 2013.
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; 2009, c.T-23.01 ; and 2010, c.E-9.22. Government of Saskatchewan. Documents. 1999. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
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Adamson Julia. Saskatchewan Gen Webmaster. “Landmarks and Geophysical Saskatchewan Placenames. Quiz Two.” http://aumkleem.blogspot.ca/2012/06/landmarks-and-geophysical-saskatchewan.html “Quiz Two answers. Uncovering Historical Census and Cemetery Records.” http://aumkleem.blogspot.ca/2012/06/uncovering-historical-census-and.html Namaste Aum Kleem Saskatchewan Gen Web E Magazine. 2012. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
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<aref=”http://www.regina.ca/residents/cemeteries/cemetery-regulations/” Refer to Bylaw and
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|“The graveyard was at the top of the hill. It looked over all of the town. The town was hills – hills that issued down in trickles and then creeks and then rivers of cobblestone into the town, to flood the town with rough and beautiful stone that had been polished into smooth flatness over the centuries. It was a pointed irony that the very best view of the town could be had from the cemetery hill, where high, thick walls surrounded a collection of tombstones like wedding cakes, frosted with white angels and iced with ribbons and scrolls, one against another, toppling, shining cold. It was like a cake confectioner’s yard. Some tombs were big as beds. From here, on freezing evenings, you could look down at the candle-lit valley, hear dogs bark, sharp as tuning forks banged on a flat stone, see all the funeral processions coming up the hill in the dark, coffins balanced on shoulders.”~ Ray Bradbury|
Delicate Beauty Phalaenopsis Orchid by Julia Adamson