Documents & Records
Cemetery Records and Monumental Inscriptions
Cemetery records and monumental inscriptions are a very useful source of information for genealogists. Cemetery records document burials that have occurred in a particular cemetery, while monumental inscriptions are etched on grave markers or headstones. Although it should usually be possible to find a cemetery record corresponding to a monumental inscription, there may not always be a monumental inscription corresponding to a cemetery record. The family may not have purchased a headstone, or it may have been damaged or destroyed.
There are few early Chinese graves in Canada, due in part to the Chinese custom of burying a body twice. The first burial would be done in a shallow grave soon after death. Seven years later, the bones would be removed and placed in an urn which was then permanently placed in a family tomb. If a Chinese person died overseas, the first burial would take place in the country in which he or she died. For the second burial, the bones would be exhumed and shipped back to China. An article in the Vancouver World from October 12, 1899 (see thumbnail below), describes preparations to return large numbers of bones to China for reburial during a sacred holiday in 1900.
From the earliest days, however, some Chinese were buried and remained in Canada. Over time, considerable numbers can be found in Canadian cemeteries. For more information, see pages for specific provinces:
|British Columbia||New Brunswick|
|Saskatchewan||Prince Edward Island|