Inscriptions & Graves in the Niagara Peninsula
Inscriptions & Graves in the Niagara Peninsula. Originally compiled by Janet Carnochan in c.1902 as publication #10 of the Niagara Historical Society, later reissued as publication #19 and later still updated and republished again, by the same Society, in 1928.
From the Egyptian Pyramids with their walls covered with hieroglyphics to the simple wooden post marking a spot in the woods where an explorer or settler met their fate, people have been leaving a written testimony to their existence in the form of a grave marker. And, not surprisingly, genealogists and historians have made use of these monuments as a staple source for gathering of basic information on ancestors and pioneers.
The Niagara peninsula is one of the two most significant sites of early settlement in Upper (or West) Canada. This is partly due to the unique topographical features of the area, and partly to the granting, by the British government, of settlement land in this area to fugitive Loyalists in compensation for their banishment from their first chosen settlements, following the British defeat in the American Revolutionary War. Inevitably early settlement leads to early burials and this gives us a hint as to the motivations of Janet Carnochan's plan, as written into the original preface, viz.:
"The original plan was to copy records of early settlers, United Empire Loyalists, Military or Naval Heroes, or those who have helped forward the progress of the country, as Clergy, Teachers, Legislators, Agriculturists, etc., besides this any odd or quaint inscriptions."
The first publication indicated that it referenced nearly 600 names, however the index to this later, augmented, edition shows over 860 names, many referring to 2 or 3 separate pages which indicates several burials of members of the same family. Without taking an exact count, it is estimated that there are references to at least 1000 burials in this book.
The value of this record can be understood when you read from the book's introduction, "In early days before consecrated ground was set apart many were buried on the farm, in a plot generally fenced in, but in many cases the property has changed hands and the stones have been broken or even carted off, the field plowed over and no trace remains, or the plot stands still fenced in, but given over to burdocks and briars." Remembering that this statement was made in 1902 you can imagine how many more of the markers here recorded have either been lost or have degraded into obscurity in the next 100 or so years. The body of the text is organized into chapters identifying a particular burial ground so, not only will you find the information about your family but you also get access to the names of his neighbors and potentially acquaintances.
This is an invaluable resource for tracing the fate, and possibly the "vital statistics," of ancestors who are known to have lived - and died - in the Niagara peninsula area of Ontario. Our digital edition of this book is fully text searchable with the search speed enhanced by our FastFind technology. The book contains 147 pages, the last 6 of which provide an index of family names, a copy of which we have placed on our "Downloads" page for your reference.
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