How the Ontario Genealogical Society's Toronto Branch is making records more accessible—and how you can help

Just where was James Crawford born?

As family historians we know that we should look at multiple sources for every fact we add to our tree. Three sources is a good rule of thumb, but “a reasonably exhaustive search” is required by the Genealogical Proof Standard.

A place of birth in the Toronto Necropolis burial register that puzzled volunteer indexer Marg Kelliher is a great example of why multiple sources are very necessary.

Birthplace of James Crawford in the Toronto Necropolis register

James Crawford, age 78, died in Toronto on July 5, 1919. Cause of death was senility. Here’s an image of his place of birth from the Necropolis register:

Digital images of Ontario death registrations for 1919 are available on so we could easily consult James Crawford’s death record to help solve the problem. Here’s an image of his place of birth:

Birthplace of James Crawford in the 1919 Ontario death register

Huh? We were still mystified.

The gravestones in the Necropolis were transcribed by OGS Toronto Branch and published in 2002. The transcription shows that James, his wife Margaret Henderson and six family members are commemorated on markers on plot L 147. James Crawford’s place of birth is carved in stone as: Enniskillen, Ireland.

Obituary for James Crawford of Toronto, in The Globe, July 8, 1919.

But is that what the burial register and death register were trying to say? Were those records providing more specific—or perhaps conflicting—information?

An obituary in The Globe on Tuesday, July 8, 1919, provides more clues to follow up but no resolution to the place of birth question.

If you can decipher (or even hazard a guess) about either bit of handwriting—or if you can add to the story of Mr. Crawford—we’d love to hear from you.

Would you like to join the crew of indexers working on the registers of Toronto cemeteries? Read more about the project here.

You can find the page of the Necropolis register where James Crawford appears here.

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