The following announcement was written by Ancestry.ca:
Prime Ministers, war heroes, RCMP officials among the names of those found in the records from Ottawa’s Beechwood Cemetery Registers
February 22, 2011 (Toronto, ON) - In a world-first, Ancestry.ca, Canada’s leading family history website[i], today launched the Beechwood Cemetery Registers, 1873-1990, a collection of more than 115,000 names of those buried in Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa between 1873 and 1990.
- Famous names include Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden, James Creighton, the father of organized hockey in Canada, and several of Canada’s most prominent poets
- Indexes will complement Ancestry.ca’s existing collection of Quebec, Nova Scotia and British Columbia vital records
In total the Beechwood Cemetery Registers, 1873-1990 include five burial ledgers with fully indexed names from 66,649 internment records. The ledgers also include cremations from 1981 onward, as well as the names for some individuals who died before 1873 whose remains were later moved to Beechwood.
Established in 1873, Beechwood National Cemetery was built on what was then the outskirts of Ottawa. Today it serves as the National Cemetery of Canada and is the final resting place for our Veterans, War Dead, Governors-General, Prime Ministers and Victoria Cross recipients. Since its inception, it has held the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Memorial Cemetery, a fitting tribute to Canada’s national police service.
Internment records are considered one of the cornerstones of family history research as they detail important information that can’t be found in other historical records, such as the cause of death and final residence of the deceased. Additionally, they allow people to come face to face with their ancestors by giving them the opportunity to locate their final resting place, creating a tangible connection to the past impossible to find in any other area of family history.
In addition to being able to research one’s own ancestors, the collection contains records about many prominent Canadians from history:
- Sir Robert Borden – served as Prime Minister of Canada from 1911 to 1920
- Sir Sandford Fleming – developed the concept of standard time zones
- James G.A. Creighton – known as the father of organized hockey in Canada
- Archibald Lampman – one of Canada's most famous 19th century poets, who wrote the poem In Beechwood Cemetery before his death
- Sir James MacBrien – served as Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police from 1931 to 1938
- Hamilton Southam – the newspaper publisher, soldier and diplomat who founded Canada’s National Arts Centre
The collection also features the records of several notable women from Canada’s history, including:
In 2001, Beechwood became the National Military Cemetery of the Canadian Forces, with gravesites of the men and women who have served in the Canadian military from the Riel Rebellion in 1885 to the current war in Afghanistan. The Cemetery also features Poet’s Hill, where several of Canada’s most prominent poets are buried.
- Grace Vernon, Lady Ritchie – one of the founders of the National Council of Women and the Victorian Order of Nurses
- Ida Van Cortland Tavernier – a well-known actress in the United States and Canada in the late 19th century
- Alvira Lockwood – Ottawa's first female professional photographer in the 1860s and later a noted art teacher
Over the past 135 years, Beechwood has also become a final resting place for families and individuals from all walks of life, denominations and cultures. With special sections reserved for various religious and ethno-cultural communities, Beechwood is a reflection of Canada’s multicultural population. As the Chinese Cemetery of Ottawa, it is designed according to Chinese religious principles and offers services in both official languages, as well as three dialects of Chinese.
Ancestry.ca family historian Lesley Anderson comments: “Cemetery records like those found in this new database add an extra piece to the puzzle of one’s family tree. After painting a picture of your ancestors’ lives with records like censuses, these records will allow you to end that person’s story.”
The indexes are searchable by a combination of name, death date, birth date, birthplace, and parents' names and include 4,730 images. Depending on the year, ledgers may also include last residence, occupation, cause of death, funeral director or undertaker, informant (relative or friend) and informant’s relationship to the deceased.
To discover if you have relatives interned at Canada’s historic Beechwood Cemetery, and to start searching Ancestry’ca’s 128 million historical Canadian records, visit www.ancestry.ca for a free 14-day trial.
[i] comScore, 2010, based on genealogy related websites selected from the Family and Parenting sub-category under the Community category