I was recently researching a family that had lived in Canada in the late 1800s to early 1900s and I discovered a marvelous new resource. Well, it’s not exactly new, but it was new to me. The site apparently has been online about twelve years. The Canadian Gravemarker Gallery has a mission to provide free access to online cemetery photos.
If you’ve been using FindAGrave, you might be surprised to learn that the Canadian Gravemarker Gallery has far more images in many more cemeteries. I had been researching persons buried in St Paul the Hermit Cemetery in Sheenboro, Quebec. The FindAGrave page for St Paul the Hermit has just 11 graves listed, and only one of those has a photograph. The same cemetery in the Canadian Gravemarker Gallery has around 500 photographs of gravestone inscriptions.
Each cemetery in the Canadian Gravemarker Gallery displays pages of headstone images, about 100 per page. The objective of the photographers is to get a good image of the inscriptions, not necessarily the entire headstone. The images are then placed in alphabetical order by surname. You can also search the site by using the search engine. Clicking on any of the thumbnails will bring up a full sized image.
All the work is done by volunteers and the site is managed by Murray Pletsch. He publishes a monthly newsletter that keeps you updated on the latest additions and changes to the site. In the April 2012 edition Mr Pleisch announced that the Canadian Gravemarker Gallery now has a Facebook page.
Another thing I discovered is that frequently, where the names of the husband and wife are both inscribed on the same stone, the wife will be listed by her maiden name. This can lead to real breakthroughs in your research. If you do any research in Canada, be sure to visit the Canadian Gravemarker Gallery.
I was reading some of the comments on the Canadian Gravemarker Gallery‘s Facebook page and one caught my attention. A gentleman made an offer of a few gravemarker photos from a particular cemetery. Owner and webmaster, Murray Pletsch, refused explaining that he learned years ago incomplete cemeteries are frustrating to researchers. His policy is to wait until the entire cemetery has been photographed before putting it online and in the long run, I think he’s right.