Tag Archives: graveyard

Saskatchewan Cemeteries photographed and transcribed online

27 Oct

Ron Isherwood October 09, 1946 – August 09, 2017 enjoyed working on his Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project, and he also had enjoyed doing genealogy research.  Thank you very kindly to the many contributions made by Ron Isherwood, and for his dedication to the Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project, indeed.

burial cemetery cross daylight

The Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project which is now restored and operational online after the hiatus between December 2017 and September 2018.  The Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project is not being updated after 2017, but is kept online in an archived status thanks to Ancestry.com Rootsweb.

 

NOTE  There are a large number of organizations who are currently compiling cemetery information online which can be viewed at https://sites.rootsweb.com/~cansk/Saskatchewan/cemetery.html

The Canada Gen Web Cemetery Project – Saskatchewan Cemetery Project is a separate project from Ron Isherwood’s Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project and the Canada Gen Web Cemetery Project – Saskatchewan Cemetery Project features submitted transcripts searchable by ancestor’s name for all of Canada or Saskatchewan or by cemetery! Check out this cemetery transcriptions/photographs online project.

Ancestor Recognition Project – Cemetery Preservation: Online Cemetery Digitization courtesy of the Sask Gen Web Project

Is my ancestor’s grave marked with a tombstone?

6 Jan
Tears in my Eyes ~ Bleeding Heart by Julia Adamson (AumKleem)) on 500px.com
Tears in my Eyes ~ Bleeding Heart by Julia Adamson

Is my ancestor’s grave marked with a tombstone?

To answer this query, “Is my ancestor’s grave marked with a tombstone,” it is necessary to determine the cemetery used for the burial site. As genealogists start researching by moving from the “known” towards the “unknown” locating a person’s place of burial can be researched in this same method. It is best to consult with relatives, family records, cemetery and church records, newspaper obituaries, professional genealogists and historians. In this way the cemetery can be located, then the next step would be to contact the local infrastructure department, church or private individual who maintain Saskatchewan cemeteries.

Once the internment location has been found, through research it may be that the burial site is unmarked. The plot may not have received a tombstone perhaps due to neglect, inattention, or hard times. The cemetery itself may have a policy of no tombstones such as at Forest Hills Memorial Park in Berks County, Reading, Pennsylvannia. In some cases the family or the person themselves may request no tombstone. Steve Jobs, Apple Inc. founder, has no tombstone. The internment sites of notable comedian John Belushi, and American author, H.P. Lovecraft, remain unmarked, and the family erected a cenotaph in a separate location.

Descendants may decide to erect a gravestone upon discovering this ancestor in their family tree, and honour their ancestor with a memorial. Genealogy societies such as the African Atlantic Genealogical Society (AAGS) joined with the he American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) to honour the unmarked gravesite of Eubie Blake, an African American composer. In researching notable local figures, societies, historians or agencies first must contact family descendants to receive permission to erect a tombstone. A similar project honoured and memorialised the unmarked gravesite of blues guitarist, Tommy Bankhead, by the Killer Blues Headstone Project in St. Louis.

For most of Saskatchewan’s cemeteries volunteers from various agencies have initiated their own cemetery projects to record burials. It is then possible to search internet grave registries to locate internment sites. There are global sites such as Find a Grave, Internment.net, or the Cemetery Junction Directory. In Saskatchewan alone several agencies have come together to compile listings of cemetery burials. These agencies are listed at Saskatchewan Gen Web – Cemetery Records – Obituary Records Just a very few agencies recorded at the aforementioned site are the Ancestor Recognition Project – Cemetery Preservation: Online Digitization, Canada Gen Web Cemeteries Project, City and town infrastructure departments, Odessa Library — a German-Russian Genealogical Library, Doukhobor.org, GRHS (Germans from Russia Heritage Society), International Internet Genealogical Society Library, Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness, Rural Municipality offices, Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project, Saskatchewan Mennonite Cemetery Finding Aid, Saskatchewan Genealogy Society and branches.

In Saskatchewan the Genealogy Index Search listing is online by the Government of Saskatchewan eHealth Vital Statistics division providing searchable information on “births registered with Vital Statistics more than 100 years ago, and deaths registered more than 70 years ago”. The burial index is searchable online available from research done by Saskatchewan Genealogy Society SGS members from their volunteer cemetery transcription projects. Many of the SGS transcriptions have been put on microfilm and are held with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Family Search centre.

It may aid the individual to search in the family biography / local history books published locally in the province by various communities during the province’s 50th anniversary celebrations (1955), 75th anniversary, (1980) and 100th anniversary (2005). Indexed books can be searched through the Saskatchewan Resident’s Index SRI or Our Roots Nos Racines to see if there are any family names within these resources. The local history committees who came together to write these books are an invaluable source of information as are the local museum curators and librarians.

If the town or placename that the individual resided is unknown, check the homestead records to determine the legal land location (address) for the pioneering family residence. Pinpointing this location on a map will indicate the closest rural placename and the nearest large centre. Entering these placenames in a library catalogue may assist in finding the relevant local history / family biography book. At times these books will also profer cemetery listings as well as biographies of the local residents submitted by the families themselves.

Locating the homestead on a map is actually very wise to assist narrow down the closest or most likely cemetery for the family to adopt. For instance the Rural Municipality of Excelsior #166 maintains 40 cemetery records and Sliding Hills RM #273 maintains 49 cemeteries. On average a rural municipality encompasses 9 townships each 6 miles by 6 miles square, so the RM itself would be an 18 mile by 18 mile area unless boundaries were altered due to population or natural boundaries such as rivers. Such a cemetery density would offer the family a choice of cemetery locations close to their homestead. They may opt for a church yard corresponding to their religious beliefs, desire to be interred in family plot, or choose a town or city plot if the final years were spent residing in an urban centre near senior’s or healthcare resources.

Without a cemetery transcription nor photographs of headstones available, it may be fruitful to ask the assistance of a professional genealogical researcher or some kind soul on the local mailing list or query board for the relevant region of Saskatchewan to check the cemetery for the ancestral burial site. If this is the case, do not expect an answer during the winter months. Between the months of October and April, snow covers the ground making traipsing through cemeteries difficult, and rendering headstones buried beneath the snow invisible to the sight.

To determine if a person is actually interred in a specific cemetery it would be helpful to consult church records, newspaper obituaries, cemetery burial certificates, census records or perhaps family records.

Cemetery burial records are held by the local administration; city or town authorities usually handle cemetery queries in their infrastructure department, parks and cemeteries. Similarly cemetery plot maps, and internment certificates are held by the rural municipality, the civic administration overseeing private rural farm and ranch lands, unorganised hamlets, unincorporated areas, localities, villages and former towns. Burial registers are held by religious denominations officiating at churchyard burials.

If the cemetery plot is located on private land, it is necessary to contact the private land owners for access to the site. This can be done by contacting the rural municipality office and purchasing an RM map of the area.

At times the cemetery may have unmarked graves, and cemetery owners may indulge in ground penetrating radar surveys to find and document all historic internment sites. If a cemetery has a paper trail, such as death certificates, or obituaries to show that an internment had taken place in the graveyard, then radar technology or grave dowsing may help to locate any unmarked sites.

In regards unmarked older cemeteries, it is necessary to contact the local historians for information and directions to a cemetery. For public cemeteries, a local resident would be able to offer directions to a cemetery currently in use. A rural municipality map purchased from the rural municipality would demark cemeteries, townships, ranges along with current roadways.

If a researcher is fortunate in finding the cemetery gravestones photographed online or the cemetery transcribed on the internet, that may help in locating the gravesite, unless the name is not listed. Such may be the case for the Ogema Cemetery in the RM of Key West 70, located in the northwest quarter of section 22 township 7 range 22 West of the 2nd meridian where both a cemetery transcription and tombstone photographs are online from two different agencies. If the ancestor’s name is not listed from either of these listings, but does indeed show up in the provincial genealogy index search where the Government of Saskatchewan eHealth Vital Statistics division indicates “births registered with Vital Statistics more than 100 years ago, and deaths registered more than 70 years ago”, then it would be wise to follow up with further research.

In the case of Key West 70 there are 27 local cemeteries, which are listed at in at least two sites online; Canada Gen Web or the Saskatchewan Genealogy Society Cemetery Index . Another note to consider is that the town of Ogema is located in the southeastern portion of the rural municipality there is a chance that the family may have chosen a cemetery in a neighbouring RM such as Norton RM # 69 to the east, The Gap RM # 39 to the southeast, or Bengough RM # 40 to the south.

If one encounters such an experience of finding the death certificate in Saskatchewan with the Vital Statistics division, but no record of the ancestral name in the expected cemetery listings, it may be necessary to apply for the death certificate from Vital Statistics and or the burial (internment) permit from the Rural Municipality or in the case of this example, the Ogema town office. Most rural municipalities, cities and towns have their own individual websites online along with their contact information. The Government of Saskatchewan also has the Municipal Directory System online with contact information. MySask.com and Canada 411 are two online phone (and address) directories.

Officially civic registration of births, marriages and deaths did begin in 1905 with the formation of the province, registration did not become a regular practice until 1920. The government system to register deaths began in 1888 when the area was still part of the Northwest Territories. These early records of the Northwest Territories may be included in the Saskatchewan Provincial Archives or Manitoba Provincial Archives (Hudson Bay records) vital records collection. If the family chose to be buried in a churchyard, the church burial registers may indicate where an ancestral loved one may be found. If the deceased were registered under the terms of the Indian Act, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) maintains the Indian Register containing dates of birth, death, marriage and divorce information.

Equipped with a date of passing provided by the provincial EHealth genealogy index search another venue opens up. It becomes easier to follow up on an obituary search in an historic newspaper. However as indicated previously if families did not regularly register for a death certificate in the early pioneering years, they may not run an obituary, especially if the passing occurred in the dearth of winter, 40 degrees below zero, no plowed roads, actually no formal paved roads at all, and only horse and buggy for conveyance, or ox and cart. However, there were newspapers, and indeed some obituaries were run. Newspapers were published in the Northwest Territories in the late 1800s serving all of northwestern Canada. As settlement expanded out west, additional local newspapers sprang up across the province. Some these newspapers can be researched online as a few historic newspapers have been placed online by Google News for instance. Various editions of historic newspapers are held on microfilm in the provincial archives and public library system.

Additionally, with the known departure date, application can be made to the Saskatchewan Law Courts to search for wills, letters probate, letters of administration, estate titles which are held in the Wills and Estates Registry dating back to 1883. If desiring to erect a gravesite marker on an unmarked grave, it may behoove one to check if there is a will to honour any requests made by the departed if they wished to lie in an unmarked grave.

So in this way, by starting with the known, and working towards the unknown, steps can be taken to determine cemeteries in the locality where an ancestor resided. Searches can be made of transcriptions made by local residents to determine if the internment took place in a cemetery in the region. Many of these transcriptions are coming online. It is wise to investigate several regional cemeteries to cover all the bases. Without an ancestor’s name listed on a transcription made from tombstones, local church or civic registries can be consulted for historic burials in unmarked gravesites. Additionally the death certificate can be ordered from Vital Statics, Ministry of Health. Without a primary source document, to show that an ancestor was buried in the cemetery, it may not be possible to erect a tombstone, in such a case, perhaps a bench, cenotaph, a tree planting or commemorative sign could be placed in the cemetery honouring the relative and acknowledging their unmarked gravesite.

Article written by Julia Adamson

Bibliography

Saskatchewan Genealogy MagazineSaskatchewan Genealogy Web : Sask Gen Web E-Magazine
Answering Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

 

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Who Maintains Saskatchewan Cemeteries?

11 Dec

Rainy Days and Mondays

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

Bibliography:

Adamson, Julia. “Cemetery Preservation: Preserving Landscapes of Memories” https://aumkleem.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/cemetery-preservation-preserving-landscapes-of-memories/ Namaste Aum Kleem. Saskatchewan Gen Web E-Magazine. 2012. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

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.

“Bylaw No. 6453. “http://www.saskatoon.ca/DEPARTMENTS/City%20Clerks%20Office/Documents/bylaws/6453.pdf City of Saskatoon. 2012. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Cemeteries Act, 1999. Ministry of Justice. Government of Saskatchewan.” http://www.justice.gov.sk.ca/Cemeteries-Act-1999 1999. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Cemeteries Act, 1999” http://www.qp.gov.sk.ca/documents/English/Statutes/Statutes/C4-01.pdf Chapter C-4.01* of the Statutes of Saskatchewan, 1999 (effective November 1, 2001) as amended by the Statutes of Saskatchewan, 2000, c.L-5.1; 2002, c.R-8.2
; 2009, c.T-23.01 ; and 2010, c.E-9.22. Government of Saskatchewan. Documents. 1999. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Cemeteries, churchyards, and burial grounds” http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20110118095356/http:/www.cabe.org.uk/files/cemeteries-churchyards-and-burial-grounds.pdf National Archives. United Kingdom Government. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Cemetery Regulations, 2001” http://www.qp.gov.sk.ca/documents/English/Regulations/Regulations/C4-01r1.pdf Government of Saskatchewan. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Cemeteries legal definition of Cemeteries. Cemeteries synonyms by the Free Online Law Dictionary.” http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Cemeteries. Farlex, Inc. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“City of Yorkton. Cemetery. ” http://www.yorkton.ca/dept/leisure/cemetery.asp City of Yorkton. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

Desmond, Paige. “Perpetual care? Cities struggle to meet public expectations on cemetery maintenance” http://www.therecord.com/news-story/4036717-perpetual-care-cities-struggle-to-meet-public-expectations-on-cemetery-maintenance/ The Record. Metroland. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Death in the Family” http://www.plea.org/legal_resources/?a=249&searchTxt=&cat=28&pcat=4 Public Legal Education Association – Legal Resources. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“FAQ: CanadaGenWeb’s Cemetery Project” http://cemetery.canadagenweb.org/faq.html#cem CanadaGenWeb’s Cemetery Project 2004-2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“FAQ. Western Canada Cemetery Association. “http://www.westerncemetery.com/default.aspx?page=3 Western Canada Cemetery Association. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Funerals Entire Collection. Canadian Consumer Handbook.” http://www.consumerhandbook.ca/en/topics/products-and-services/funerals
Federal-Provincial-Territorial
Consumer Measures Committee. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

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.

Morgan, Don, Q.C. Minister of Justice and Attorney General. “Saskatchewan’s Historic cemeteries.” http://www.otcommunications.com/images/issue/sept10net.pdf Network Magazine. Canadian Cemetery Management. September 2010. Volume 24 No. 10. 2010. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Municipal Directory System” http://www.mds.gov.sk.ca/apps/Pub/MDS/welcome.aspx Government of Saskatchewan. Municipal Directory System. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

Ontario Gen Web Project Cemetery Records. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~canon/research-topic-cemetery.html Ontario Gen Web Project. [Though for Ontario, a report on cemetery records, access and information available] 1997-2013 Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Refer to Bylaws and Regulations. City of Regina.” http://www.regina.ca/residents/cemeteries/cemetery-regulations/ City of Regina. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

<aref=”http://www.regina.ca/residents/cemeteries/cemetery-regulations/&#8221; Refer to Bylaw and
“SGS Cemetery Index” http://www.saskgenealogy.com/cemetery/Cemetery_Index.htm” Saskatchewan Genealogy Society. 2010. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Saskatchewan looking to preservation of Cemeteries. Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter.” 2009. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

Saskatchewan Provincial Government Wants to Preserve Forgotten Cemeteries. http://www.genealogyblog.com/?p=7215 Genealogy Blog. Canada, Cemeteries, Saskatchewan. 2009. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

Town of Biggar, Saskatchewan. Bylaw No. 99-613. A Bylw to Acquire, maintain, regulate and control the Biggar Cemetery. http://www.townofbiggar.com/DocumentCenter/Home/View/221 Town of Biggar. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“367/09 Cemetery Bylaw | Town of Stoughton 367/09 Cemetery Bylaw | Crossroads of Friendship” http://stoughtonsk.ca/36709-cemetery-bylaw/ Town of Stoughton. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Weyburn. The Opportunity City. Services. Cemeteries.” http://www.weyburn.ca/modules.php?name=Sections&op=viewarticle&artid=22 Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“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

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Cemetery Preservation: Preserving Landscapes of Memories

20 Dec

Graceful Delight

Cemetery Preservation: Preserving Landscapes of Memories

This is part 1 of a 7 part series

Cemeteries are revered as consecrated, sacred places in the community, a place of value to the residents in the community. The Saskatchewan Genealogy Society has launched the SCCMP “The Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program”. The program guidelines, and application information are available online. Through this project, the SCCMP provides matching grants as assistance to restore, and care for cemeteries which are in need of assistance.

As a first step of assistance, please ensure that all cemeteries are registered with the Saskatchewan Cemeteries Registry as per The Cemeteries Act of 1999. The Saskatchewan Genealogy Society has placed a Saskatchewan Cemetery Index online which records the designated Rural

Municipality for the area. All cemeteries need to be registered to protect burial sites in order to maintain and preserved these unmarked sites. Contact the Municipality Clerk in the Rural Municipality office.

As genealogists, archaeologists and historians are aware, cemeteries and their tombstone markers face many hazards, from weathering, commercial expansion, neglect and abandonment. Cemeteries in jeopardy benefit greatly from record creation. Multiple agencies across the province of Saskatchewan are transcribing, video taping and photographing over 3,430 cemeteries. Additionally cemetery indexes area available through Amicus at the Library and Archives Canada. However, the Registrar of Cemeteries has 406 cemetery plans 12% of recorded cemeteries, and the Land Titles Registry notes 700 cemetery land locations, 20% of known cemeteries. In many cases the rural municipality office will have cemetery plot records, however old cemeteries or older cemetery sections may have no known plot records available.

“The common conception that the cemetery holds the memory of all who died and were buried before us is a false one,” writes Meredith G. Watkins. Cemeteries have undertaken Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to ascertain the completeness of their cemetery internment records. The town of Langham, for instance, undertook such a venture to identify burial sites which would correlate with existing cemetery plot records. Such GPR surveys also prevent disarticulation in an inactive cemetery or where cemetery plot records were lost due to office fire or calamity. The resulting cemetery sketches and survey maps are invaluable tools showing all landscape features, height and age of vegetation, terrain type, contour, slopes as well as all burial sites.

Note: This program (Saskatchewan Genealogy Society ~ Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program SCCMP ) has been discontinued, however it ws intriguing, so the information is left here in this blog online

Additional Resources:

Links

Canada Gen Web Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project

Network Canadian Cemetery Management September 2010 Vol 24 No 10

Saskatchewan Gen Web Cemetery Resources and Organisations

Saskatchewan Genealogy Society Cemetery Index

Saskatchewan Historic Cemetery Manual

 SCCMP “The Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program”

Books

Victorian cemetery art by Edmund Vincent Gillon

Bibliography:

Links to sources are embedded in text above.

Additionally:

Redfield, Robert, Ralph Linton and Melville J. Herkovits

1936 Memorandum for the Study of Acculturation. American Anthropologist 38(1):149-
152.

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Cemeteries, the silent historian

20 Dec

Graceful Delight

Cemeteries, the silent historian

This is part 2 of a 7 part series

Cemeteries do indeed, silently document the past local histories and biographies. As William Dollarhide, notes, genealogists do make ancestral discoveries at cemeteries, and are not “obsessed with death, burials, or other ghoulish activities.” It is from the cemetery records or tombstone inscriptions that an ancestor can be located with certainty, unless there are no records, no tombstone erected or if the cemetery is unkempt. In Saskatchewan, it is invaluable to learn legal land nomenclature, the township, range and meridian survey system, to augment Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and view historical placenames in the vicinity of the cemetery. These placenames lead to compiled family histories published mainly for the 75th anniversary of the province (1980), however some books went to print in 1955 (50th provincial birthday) and others in 2005 (the 100th anniversary). These local history, family biography books contain a variety of records, cemetery history and occasionally the cemetery transcription as well. The imperative of keeping proper citations, digital records, differentiating between primary source and secondary source records is noted the book Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian written by Elizabeth Shown Mills for genealogists.

Locating homestead locations will help to ascertain the locale, city or rural municipality. Then the cemetery, funeral home, newspaper used for an obituary and death certificate fall into place. However cemetery and probate records may fall short if the ancestor decided upon cremation or drawing up a personal will. Sharon Debartolo Carmack  delves into additional records of death such as “autopsy and coroners’ records, death certificates, obituaries, death notices, wills and probate, prayer and memorial cards and funeral home records, and mortality schedules.”

The practice of erecting a grave marker made of wood in the shape of a cross was erected to commemorate a grave site may have succumbed to one of the numerous prairie fires which historically ravaged the prairie grasslands in blazing sweeps hundreds of miles across. The lack of stone or permanent grave markers, erosion, surface land cultivation, landscaping, prairie fires, exodus of local families and the subsequent deterioration of community and services contribute to the neglect of a grave site, the location unknown to future generations. As John P. Nickel notes, “in the early days when there were no cemeteries, many burials were done in school yards, gardens or fields.” ” “When people died, they would essentially bury them there, wherever it happened, everywhere. There were no cemeteries,” said Germann in a CBC news report, “With settlement and erosion, these things get exposed.”

“Ever wonder what happens when a church closes, members move away, and a cemetery is left uncared for?” asks the Heritage Cemeteries Project. Unmarked cemeteries are particularly hard to find, and derelict abandoned cemeteries quite often have no burial register, cemetery plot map, death certificates, grave markers or other markers such as the case for Efremovka and Spasovoka Doukhovor Cemeteries. “In some cases, a burial spot may be an abandoned cemetery,” reports Colorado Cemeteries, “when the owners of the property have left the area, and the property is no longer the responsibility of anyone.”

Typically there are family cemeteries, church owned, private, national, city, town and municipal cemeteries. Cemeteries may have undefined property boundaries, no signage or access roadways creating difficulty when locating graveyards.

The dates of cemeteries can be reflected by the types of monuments demarking the grave sites. Tombstone markers have evolved from wooden markers, stone mounds or circles, sandstone slabs, marble stone work, granite tombstones and the contemporary polished granite and marble. Additionally, in a cemetery, there may be headstone, footstone, ground tablet, basal table grave, ruin, cross, pedestal obelisk, pedestal column, Funeral home plaque, or bedstead set in an urban, country, family, private, isolated or rural setting. Mausoleum architecture, be it Romanesque, Gothic Revial, or Art Deco, they, too, reflect time periods in history, social values and chronological trends.

From the inscriptions, the names and dates are vital to the genealogist assembling a family tree. Additionally, symbols, backgrounds, art, Religious iconography, accomplishments, commemorative items, epitaphs, carvings, and sentiments are recorded by those remembering their dearly departed. These symbols may indicate a social identity such as membership in organizations giving way to additional information and further genealogical research. Family burial plots show groupings or symbols indicated they are related in some way.

According to Robert Redfield, “acculturation” is the “phenomena which result when groups of individuals having different cultures come into continuous first-hand contact with subsequent changes in the original cultural patterns of either or both groups.” The adaptions of ethnic bloc settlements is evident in their burial customs, cemetery tombstone styles and the language chosen for the tombstone inscriptions.

Young pupils do not have to wait till University, they can be exposed to archaeological studies by visiting a cemetery and studying the culture of the community and the changes it its culture. Cemeteries tell the story of the deceased, those who mourned them, their views of death, and the society in which they lived.

Trends and customs in burial customs of ethnic, cultural and spiritual communities demark cemetery sections or complete graveyard styles of internment and tombstone design. Such was the case for Verna Elinor Gallén who detailed “variations in the expressions of social identity provided by the different Saskatchewan Finnish cemeteries” in Silence We Remember: The Historical Archaeology of Finnish Cemeteries in Saskatchewan. Noting the details of both tombstone and grave yard tells a story of communities in Saskatchewan, their growth and development, in times of sickness, war, and health.

Note: This program (Saskatchewan Genealogy Society ~ Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program SCCMP ) has been discontinued, however it ws intriguing, so the information is left here in this blog online

Additional Resources:

Links

Canada Gen Web Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project

Network Canadian Cemetery Management September 2010 Vol 24 No 10

Saskatchewan Gen Web Cemetery Resources and Organisations

Saskatchewan Genealogy Society Cemetery Index

Saskatchewan Historic Cemetery Manual

 SCCMP “The Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program”

Books

Victorian cemetery art by Edmund Vincent Gillon

Bibliography:

Links to sources are embedded in text above.

Additionally:

Redfield, Robert, Ralph Linton and Melville J. Herkovits

1936 Memorandum for the Study of Acculturation. American Anthropologist 38(1):149- 152.

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Recording and Memorialising Cemeteries

20 Dec

Graceful Delight

Recording and Memorialising Cemeteries

Part 4 of a 7 part series.

Through the Rural Municipality office cemetery clean up committees are established throughout the province to care for active cemeteries. Volunteers come together with lawn mowers, weed whackers, and chain saws to maintain active burial grounds to comply with their community standards.

Education is the key, to preserve a derelict cemetery. For historical conservation purposes it is wise to learn what to do, and what not to do. The Saskatchewan Historic Cemetery Manual and the A Graveyard Preservation Primer by Lynette Strangstad outline precautions necessary to increase awareness about cemetery preservation. Use caution in an historic cemetery site near large cemetery monuments, as these too, may break and topple. Trained volunteer cemetery crews, archaeologists or professionals recommended by the Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation are required for preservation work on an historic graveyard in need of restoration. For such work, grants and assistance is available.

Non-invasive methods of reading fading inscriptions is imperative to preserve information for future generations of genealogists. Do no harm is mandated, headstones should not be sprayed with solvents or cleaning supplies as these may enter cracks, and further erode the stone. A simple mirror or plain rain water may help to bring out the shadow play on the inscription. “Rubbings” onto paper should never be made on stone which is soft and may break apart under the process further eroding a delicate stone. For example when attempting to read an eroded head stone, do not make rubbings with light weight paper that the wax or ink colour may bleed through.

Photographing a tombstone from a variety of angles and a tight close up opens up the capability for image enhancement in photo software to enlarge, and manipulate photos to bring out the natural contrasts, and highlights in the photographic image.

Share your photographs or transcriptions with one of the many agencies recording and memorializing cemeteries in Saskatchewan. A kind courtesy to other researchers is to take photos of all the tombstones, and then submit them online to an organisation such as the Canada Gen Web Saskatchewan Cemetery Project

Note: This program (Saskatchewan Genealogy Society ~ Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program SCCMP ) has been discontinued, however it ws intriguing, so the information is left here in this blog online

Additional Resources:

Links

Canada Gen Web Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project

Network Canadian Cemetery Management September 2010 Vol 24 No 10

Saskatchewan Gen Web Cemetery Resources and Organisations

Saskatchewan Genealogy Society Cemetery Index

Saskatchewan Historic Cemetery Manual

 SCCMP “The Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program”

Books

Victorian cemetery art by Edmund Vincent Gillon

Bibliography:

Links to sources are embedded in text above.

Additionally:

Redfield, Robert, Ralph Linton and Melville J. Herkovits

1936 Memorandum for the Study of Acculturation. American Anthropologist 38(1):149-
152.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Follow me on Word Press, Blogger, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Tumblr, Live Journal, Sask Gen Web Ancestry.com and Flickriver

________________________________________________________________________________________

Aum_Kleem - View my most interesting photos on Flickriver

________________________________________________________________________________

Buy my work

Moon Fleur ~ Luna Rose by Julia Adamson (AumKleem)) on 500px.com
Moon Fleur ~ Luna Rose by Julia Adamson

Cemetery Vacations

20 Dec

Graceful Delight

Cemetery Vacations

Part 5 of a 7 part series.

Cemetery tours and historical cemetery guide books enhance the interpretation of the community’s evolution, providing information and cultural, historical and contemporary heritage interpretation. The Regina Ethnic Pioneers Cemetery Walking Tours and the associated books; Regina Ethnic Pioneers Cemetery Walking Tour Multicultural Tour 2 , Regina Cemetery Walking Tour Founding Fathers Blue Tour, and Cemetery Walking Tour : Multicultural. Tour 2  are examples of such an endeavour.

Such is the nature of the narrative documentation collected that this concise history becomes a significant source of information which honours and celebrates the memory of those who have gone before so they will never be forgotten ~ a source of community pride. Biographies of individuals, their families, occupations, and their spirituality commemorate the community and society in an historical viewpoint. Erecting monuments on cenotaphs, maps on billboard panels for visitors, pedestal mounted guest books during a commemorative re-dedication ceremony provide a link to achievements engaging visitors to recognize both the great individuals buried, along with the small pioneer families. “It is important because we are getting to the stage where, if we do nothing now, the memories of those people will vanish,” reported Oliver Evans, “I don’t think they should be forgotten.”

Vacation time and holidays create a rewarding experience and an opportunity to get the whole family involved in history, and introducing them to family ancestry. Memorable events are created when connecting with the memory and significance of ancestral events, pioneering days, and family traditions. Standing in the footsteps of your great great grandfather placing flowers on the grave on your great great great grandmother . “He gazed on that very same stone,” says Andy Linkins as he mourned his deceased mother. Remember to search respectfully, research as much as you can first and make contact with local organisations before you leave on your trip. Reaching “out to touch the final resting place of their ancestors,” writes Kory Meyerink, pries “the lid off a family story forgotten by most of the living relatives.”

Note: This program (Saskatchewan Genealogy Society ~ Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program SCCMP ) has been discontinued, however it ws intriguing, so the information is left here in this blog online

________________________________________________________________________________________

Follow me on Word Press, Blogger, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Tumblr, Live Journal, Sask Gen Web Ancestry.com and Flickriver

________________________________________________________________________________________

Aum_Kleem - View my most interesting photos on Flickriver

________________________________________________________________________________

Buy my work

Moon Fleur ~ Luna Rose by Julia Adamson (AumKleem)) on 500px.com
Moon Fleur ~ Luna Rose by Julia Adamson

Save our Cemeteries

20 Dec

Graceful Delight

Save our Cemeteries

Part 6 of a 7 part series.

It is with honour and respect that cemeteries which have served communities for decades are recognized and cared for. “Burial grounds are an essential part of a community”, as the town of Herbert says, “the little prairie cemetery, dotted with small bushes, little fences and crosses, perennial plants, flower vases and personal touches really do tell a story of those who have gone before.” Cemeteries do indeed, express the social identity of their communities.

The Saskatchewan Historic Cemetery Manual put out by the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society provides guidance to proceed on conservation and preservation of historical cemeteries, their clean up, repair and documentation. As Don Morgan, QC
Minister of Justice and Attorney General notes, the operation of cemeteries in Saskatchewan falls under the purview of the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General….We have an opportunity to protect our heritage and if we don’t take steps to preserve it, it will be lost. As a province and a society we must make a commitment to identify and protect cemeteries.”

Note: This program (Saskatchewan Genealogy Society ~ Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program SCCMP ) has been discontinued, however it ws intriguing, so the information is left here in this blog online

Additional Resources:

Links

Canada Gen Web Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project

Network Canadian Cemetery Management September 2010 Vol 24 No 10

Saskatchewan Gen Web Cemetery Resources and Organisations

Saskatchewan Genealogy Society Cemetery Index

Saskatchewan Historic Cemetery Manual

 SCCMP “The Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program”

Books

Victorian cemetery art by Edmund Vincent Gillon

Bibliography:

Links to sources are embedded in text above.

Additionally:

Redfield, Robert, Ralph Linton and Melville J. Herkovits

1936 Memorandum for the Study of Acculturation. American Anthropologist 38(1):149-
152.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Follow me on Word Press, Blogger, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Tumblr, Live Journal, Sask Gen Web Ancestry.com and Flickriver

________________________________________________________________________________________

Aum_Kleem - View my most interesting photos on Flickriver

________________________________________________________________________________

Buy my work

Moon Fleur ~ Luna Rose by Julia Adamson (AumKleem)) on 500px.com
Moon Fleur ~ Luna Rose by Julia Adamson
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