After 15 years of tromping through fields, seeking out family plots, and applying biodegradable chalk to unreadable tombstones, the Norfolk branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society has recorded every known grave. The result is an index with about 80,000 names, more than 3,000 pages in all.
The Norfolk County Branch of the OGS has devoted many, many hours to the Society's cemetery project. This project was initiated in 1973 to identify the location of all cemeteries in Ontario, to precisely record the inscriptions of all the monuments and deposit the records of these transcriptions with the National Archives of Canada, the Archives of Ontario, and the OGS Library. This is an on-going project, both Province-wide and in the county of Norfolk.
The list acts as a master index. It includes the person's name, grave location, and what is written on the stone.
There are 126 cemeteries in Norfolk. The largest is Oakwood in Simcoe. The smallest is the Birdsell cemetery near Turkey Point, with one stone. There is a graveyard in South Walsingham that requires driving as far down a lane as possible, then getting out of the vehicle and walking past a clump of lilacs. There are graves in Port Dover with hollow metal tombstones, where alcohol brought across the lake was hidden during prohibition. Four stones were found in Waterford by someone doing renovations. The Baptist cemetery in Langton had its records destroyed when the general store burned in the 1950s; the records were kept in the store. Records from the Salem cemetery were destroyed in a house fire.
The newly-created records, housed at the Simcoe library branch, will now be kept updated. Portions of the records are also available for sale on the society's web site.