Cataraqui Cemetery, in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, is the city's largest and oldest still active with over 46,000 interments. Cataraqui Cemetery offers the greater Kingston area a variety of interment, cremation and memorialization options and services. The cemetery is most noted as being the burial site of Canada's first prime minister and a Father of Confederation, Sir John A. Macdonald. Macdonald's gravesite, and the cemetery itself, are both designated as National Historic Sites of Canada.
The charter of The Cataraqui Cemetery Company was handed down on 10 August 1850, by the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada. The Cataraqui Cemetery is unique in that it was incorporated in 1850 as a not for profit company with the interment rights holders as the members. It is the members that elect amongst themselves The Cataraqui Cemetery Board of Trustees. It continues to operate as a not-for-profit, non-denominational (all faith, reform cemetery. Sir Alexander Campbell (a Father of Confederation and law partner of Sir John A. Macdonald) served as the board's first President. The board is accountable for all aspects of the cemetery by delegating responsibility of the operations to the General Manager and a full-time staff. A volunteer citizen advisory committee also assists the Board and Management with the stewardship of the cemetery.
The cemetery was developed using the Rural or Garden theme, after the pattern of Mount Auburn near Boston and Mount Hope in Rochester, New York. The 91-acre cemetery includes roadways winding through rolling wooded terrain, ponds and watercourses all laid out in the Picturesque style of landscaping. Cataraqui Cemetery predates other notable Canadian cemeteries such as Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa Ontario, Mt Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto Ontario and Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal Quebec.
Located within the cemetery office, is a stained glass window commissioned in 1891 in memory of Sir John A. Macdonald. Originally installed in a church at Redan, north of Brockville, it was salvaged from the church and donated to the cemetery in 1980 when the current Office/Crematorium was built.
As a result of recent changes to provincial legislation, Cataraqui Cemetery and Funeral Service, operated by The Cataraqui Cemetery Company, offers a broad range of funeral care services for Kingston families in addition to traditional cemetery, monument design and crematorium services.
Other historically notable occupants include:
The primary source for basic documents (vital statistics, land records, wills) for people who lived in the Province of Ontario is the Archives of Ontario, 134 Ian Macdonald Blvd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M7A 2C5.
Civil registration did not begin in the province until 1869. Before then there may be church records of baptisms and burials. For the most part these are still held by the denomination who recorded them. Copies of marriage records made pre-1869 had to be sent by individual clergymen to the registrar of the county in which the marriage took place. These marriage records are available through Ontario Archives, on micorfilm through LDS libraries, and on paid and unpaid websites, but because they were copied at the registrars' offices, they cannot be considered a primary source.
Vital Records after 1869
Birth, marriage and death registrations are not open to the public until a specific number of years after the event occurred. Births to 1915 are now available [October 2014]; dates for marriages and deaths are later. Birth and death registration was not universally carried out in the early years after its adoption. Deaths were more apt to be reported than births for several years. The more rural the area, the less likely it would be that these happenings were reported to the authorities.
Land Records and Wills
Information on how to access land records and wills is best sought on the Archives of Ontario website. An ancestor's land holding might be found on Canadian County Atlas Digital Project if he was in occupancy circa 1878.
Association for the Preservation of Ontario Land Registry Office Documents (APOLROD). A list of Land Registry Offices for all Counties of Ontario.
The original censuses are in the hands of Library and Archives Canada, known to Canadians as "LAC". Copies of original microfilms are online at the LAC website for all censuses up to 1911. Each census database is preceded with an explanation of the geographical area covered, the amount of material retained (some census division material has been lost), the questions on the census form, and whether there is a name index. Census divisions were redrawn as the population increased and more land was inhabited. The 1921 census is only available through Ancestry.ca, but it is free-to-view.
E-books and Books
Some websites with more local information on Frontenac County